Using Reliability Principles for a Cheap Way To High Pumping Circuit Availability


Using Reliability Principles for a Cheap Way To High Pumping Circuit Availability. High plant availability is achieved by having redundant equipment that can be brought on-line as soon as the operating unit has failed. Redundancy is expensive as there are two items to buy, two to install and two to maintain at full operating capacity. There is an alternate option for maintaining high pumping circuit availability by designing quick methods to bring mobile equipment into the circuit when pumps are down. This article explains how to set-up piping for a mobile pump to maintain operation when the normal duty pump is out of use.

Keywords: pump availability, process plant availability

You are at the mercy of fate if your production plant has single pumps (or single air compressors) in critically important circuits. It is almost certain that the pump will lose its function at some time in it’s life. Then your circuit will go down and production will stop. Plant availability will be badly impacted.

You can install connection points in the pipe line either side of the pump and connect a suitable mobile pump to continue production and reduce downtime and maintain availability.

In the stylised sketch below, branching tees with valves and camlock connections are installed during construction on both sides of the pump. The tees allows a mobile pump to be connected by hoses into the circuit while the regular pump is out of service.

Ideally the mobile pump is on an electronic variable speed drive. This allows one mobile pump to be used for multiple services and so provides cover for several pumps.


By-pass connections for increased pumping circuit availability


The use of hoses for ‘jumper connections’ is a decision that depends on the chemical and process risk involved. Never take a risk with human life or our planet’s environment. If it is not safe to use hoses then do not use them. Instead of camlock connections you can use bolted flanges or screwed connections, etc, if they are better suited to your industry.

Where necessary install blank flanges or spades to insure no escape of process fluids and safe access for people. The drawing shows ball valves throughout. Though they are reliable valves, they might not be suited to your process conditions and requirements. You must select the right valve type and configuration for your own situation and your quality requirements (e.g. you would not use ball valves in a food industry pumping circuit as bacteria could grow in behind the valve seals and never be cleaned away).

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