Using Oil Mist to Lubricate Process Pumps at High Temperatures

Using Oil Mist to Lubricate Process Pumps at High Temperatures
He inz P. Bloch Tags: be aring lubrication , e le ctric m otor lubrication

"We have had numerous questions lately about hot service and how we size reclassifiers for temperature of the pumpage. We never really considered temperature before, and now the 'high temperature' seems to be getting ever lower. "Several specifications, including two of the six largest oil refiners in the world, limit oil mist to 450 degrees F, and now I have one that indicates a limit of 300 degrees F. Many specifications call for heavy service factor reclassifiers on pumps in hot service, but what is hot service? To me, it's like saying, 'It is hot today.' Was temperature ever a concern with the highly successful oil-mist systems 20 and 30 years ago?" The answer to this question has never been a secret and can be found in many texts. On numerous occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, oil mist was first applied with great success to all types of API pumps. Pure oil-mist application was chosen in the 1970s for every conceivable type and style of process pump. These included dozens of pipestill bottom pumps with pumping temperatures of 740 degrees F (393 degrees C) in the world’s three largest oil refineries. (The hottest pumpage at several world-scale steam crackers was perhaps more in the range of 600 to 640 degrees F). For those asking questions about hot service and how reclassifiers are sized, have them look at an API 610 style pump. Encourage them to view these pumps either in the field or on one of the numerous pump manufacturers’ websites. They might then realize that a high-temperature mechanical seal and some ambient air space are located between the pumpage and the bearings. Therefore, much heat gets radiated into the surrounding air. Barrier seals often assist in heat removal. Obviously, there is a significant heat loss between the pumpage in the pump casing and the lightly loaded and thinly oil-coated radial bearing in API process pumps. Additional heat will be lost as it travels from the radial bearing to the more highly loaded thrust bearing set. Still, bearing housing temperatures have never exceeded 240 degrees F (116 degrees C) in pumps at major oil refineries. Of course, operation at these temperatures would require installing a personnel-protection shield
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especially not when you apply the oil mist per modern API rules. Incidentally. reclassifier selection has never had to take into account the temperature of the pumpage in API pumps. Generally. though. 10th Edition. Note the dual mist-injection points and use of face-type bearing protector seals to prevent mist from escaping to the atmosphere. if an owner/operator insisted on using mineral-oil-based oil mist in open systems.com/Articles/Print/29449 2/3 . There were then (nor are there today) neither oil rings (slinger rings) nor constant-level lubricators in pumps lubricated with pure oil mist. his risky www.1/16/14 Using Oil Mist to Lubricate Process Pumps at High Temperatures on bearing housings. Hopefully. a smart user would use a synthetic ISO VG68 in pure oil-mist systems serving process units with pumps whose pumping temperatures are in the range of 600 to 740 degrees F. Oil-mist lubrication is applied to a pump bearing housing in accordance with API-610. through-flow mode was routinely done as of 1977. he or she would be advised to select an ISO viscosity grade 100. Temperature simply does not enter the picture. he should be severely criticized for making a very risky choice. If an occasional user purchases a close-coupled non-API pump for hydrocarbon service at 740 degrees F. These rules ask you to apply mist from the space nearest a bearing housing protector seal in a through-flow mode toward the center of the bearing housing. In the 1980s.machinerylubrication. So for the past 40 years.

machinerylubrication. Reverting back to oil rings and constant-level lubricators is a quantum step backward. well more than 100. Premium-grade motor greases separate into soap and oil when pressurized. your employer will lose more and more ground to the competition. www. and when an unduly tight specification is issued. If you allow specifications to be written or amended by people who make no effort to be informed. Becoming knowledgeable in a subject must be a prerequisite for the person issuing a lube-related specification. only 26. Plant-wide oil mist gets around all of these concerns. Limiting oil-mist applications to pumping services not exceeding 300 or 450 degrees F begs the question: What lube-application method will these users choose for their pumps at 600 and 740 degrees F? Other than the wellproven oil mist. the exact opposite may result. your company or employer will soon lag behind. However. only liquid oil sprayed directly into a rolling-element bearing's cages is a suitable option for these reliability-focused individuals. Without such knowledge. Sometimes a specification change will make sense and will actually have a beneficial effect on safety and reliability. and as others continue to make progress.com/Articles/Print/29449 3/3 . 1-3. Lesser greases may not separate as easily under pressure but neither will they provide superior protection.000 process pumps are successfully lubricated by plant-wide oilmist systems. Extending an oil-mist system to also service electric motor drivers makes much sense and yields rapid payback. Look at the whole picture and always make informed choices.1/16/14 Using Oil Mist to Lubricate Process Pumps at High Temperatures conduct will come to someone’s attention before he ends up transferring his death wish to the process operators. As of 2013. 2013. Some of these have been on oil mist for 35 years without ever having a bearing replaced or changed. At other times. It has been said that you cannot change the safety and reliability culture without first changing the system. Additional information on why oil mist is highly successful for lubricating electric motors will be presented during the "Breaking the Cycle of Pump Repairs" session at the upcoming Texas A&M International Pump Users Symposium in Houston on Oct. An uninformed owner/operator contemplating reverting to grease-filled single-point automatic lubricators will be faced with many important decisions.000 electric motors use oil mist on their bearings. The system is your organization.