Our Application Experts Decreased Maintenance Costs and Increased System Efficiency for an Albertan Oil Producer
The Challenge: Abrasive Slurries Wearing Out Centrifugal Pumps Too Quickly
Our customer in the thermal oil production sector uses Magnesium Oxide (MgO) in their water treatment process. When MgO mixes with water, it becomes an abrasive slurry which poses similar challenges as any other slurry.
The challenges for centrifugal pumps passing magnesium oxide slurries include:
- The abrasiveness of the slurry wears on centrifugal pump components over time. The customer had to replace worn-out pumps every few months, and the replacements cost are over $30,000.
- The specific gravity of the MgO particles is higher than water, so they are prone to settling without a consistent flow.
- Fine MgO particles can stick together and harden, significantly reducing the diameter of the pipes or blocking them entirely. This affects the ability of a centrifugal pump to keep up the required flow.
The customer required relatively high pressure (over 100 psi) for their system to operate correctly, and their original pump—a Slurry duty centrifugal pump—couldn’t handle the service conditions without quickly wearing out. They approached John Brooks Company to consider an alternate pump option to notably increase runtimes while reducing costs.
The Solution: Progressive Cavity Pumps With Smart Conveying Technology (SCT), i.e. Split Stators
Our application expert—Greg Beebe—offered SEEPEX SCT Progressive Cavity Pumps to replace the customer’s slurry duty centrifugal pumps.
The advantages were:
- A massive reduction in velocities within the pump, resulting in a significant decrease in wear and tear for the pump components.
- The pump benefits from a constant targeted flow rate unaffected by process pressure changes because the customer can set the positive displacement pump’s speed. This differs from centrifugal pumps, which will move up and down the curve as pressures change.
- The capability to tighten the stator in the Seepex SCT design when the customer notes a drop in efficiency significantly increases the stator life and acts as advance notice that they’ll need to replace parts soon (the customer can be proactive with maintenance and decrease downtime).
- The Seepex SCT design also grants the ability to easily remove the top half of the stator to inspect the rotor and stator for signs of wear, eliminating the need to remove pipework and making maintenance simpler.
The Result: Successfully Increasing Runtimes & Reducing Maintenance Downtime & Costs
The SEEPEX pumps successfully achieved the customer’s goals of reducing maintenance downtime and costs between replacements and increasing the lifespan of their pumps: instead of replacing pumps every 3-4 months, the customer now had to do basic preventative maintenance every 9-12 months.
We worked out a “try and buy” plan with the customer to install the pump as a trial, and, based on a set of success criteria, they would either purchase or return it. Once the trial was complete, the client was happy to report that the Seepex pump notably outlasted their previous centrifugal pump by a factor of greater than 3:1, and, once it did wear out, the cost for maintenance was a fraction of the cost to replace their old pumps. Besides, with the split stator that is divided into two halves, maintenance can be done by one person without the need to remove either the suction or discharge pipework or use special tools. The result: maintenance time is reduced by up to 85%.
Since our initial install, the client replaced both centrifugal pumps in the system with the SEEPEX progressive cavity pumps, and they have optimized them further through material selection and controls. The successes have resulted in one less trouble spot for the maintenance and reliability team, which the customer is ecstatic about.
Progressive Cavity Pump Technology Used
We solved the customer’s problems using SEEPEX BN-Range 35-12 Progressive Cavity Pump with SCT.
SEEPEX BN-Range Progressive Cavity Pump with SCT Specs and Benefits
- Conveying Capacity: 3 – 134 m3/h (1.3–590 GPM)
- Discharge Pressure: 120 psi (8 bar)
- For low to highly viscous media with or without solids
- Quick maintenance, easy handling during assembly/disassembly
- Integrated tensioning device extends the rotor and stator’s life by up to 200%
- Reduces maintenance time by up to 85%
- High productivity due to less maintenance downtime
- Significantly reduced life cycle costs
- Ease of maintenance: due to the two-piece Smart Stator and quick release Smart Rotor, which leaves the joint in place and eliminates the need to remove pipework
- Small footprint for all service activities: no space required for stator dismantling
- Environmentally friendly: separate disposal of elastomer and steel components