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TOPIC- EFFECTS OF PUMP THRUST - DOWNTHRUST & UPTHRUST ON RELIABILITY
It's understandably a topic that concerns the operator when considering the use of a horizontal pump.
What's the real story about thrust and its effect on this type of pump system? How do I know that the thrust bearings and mechanism to cool and lubricate the system will prevent my pump from failing?
Have you asked the pump salesman or 'expert' vendor engineers, and still in the fog or not confident you got a qualified answer?
It's well known in the industry that vendors have faced a steep learning curve about the effects of thrust on catastrophic pump failure. Meanwhile, operators have suffered the financial consequences of 'thrust chamber' problems even with redundant back up pumps, - water injection facilities that go down, waterflood operations that screech to a halt, and pipelines without the boost pressure caused by a repeatedly occuring downed pump!
If you've faced one or all of these problems, you may be reluctant or very concerned when you hear your facility is considering these type of pumps.
OK, in brief - you've got to understand over the entire expected operating range of the pumps, the design thrust(both downthrust and upthrust) and how to ensure that you NEVER go into upthrust conditions outside of design range. You also need to ask smart questions to ensure that
the pump system was designed properly around what you need!
So what kind of questions to ask vendors? You're wanting to get the information you need to stay out of trouble!:
• Get to the bottom of thrust bearing design. What's the L10 bearing life (in days)? May I please see the calculations for this application?
• What's the operating temperature range of the bearing lube fluid SPECIFICALLY FOR MY PUMP SYSTEM? Do you provide gauges and a fail safe alarm or means to shut down when temperature exceeds design?
• Does my design allow the pump system to go into upthust at start-up? What about line backpressure? How many seconds or minutes is the limit? Is this spelled out in the vendor start up procedure & operations manual? What kind of protection do you offer when this is exceeded?
Advance to the HorizontalPump.com™ forum, for more.
API RP 11R (1986) Electric Submersible Pump Installation, Second Edition
API RP 11S (1986) Operation, Maintenance & Troubleshooting of Electric Submersible Pump Installations, Second Edition
API RP 11S1 (1987) Electric Submersible Pump Tear Down Report, First Edition
API RP 11S2 (1990) Electric Submersible Pump Testing, First Edition
NEWS - January 2011
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