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By Ross C. Mackay, Contributing Editor

Which process pump is right for your application?

n the world of pumps, there are two types of horizontal end suction centrifugal pumps that are more commonly used than all the others put together. They are the ANSI pump that is designed and built to the standards of the American National Standards Institute, and the API pump that meets the requirements of the American Petroleum Institute Standard 610 for General Refinery Service. Over the years, ANSI designs have become the preferred style of end suction pumps, not only for chemical process applications, but also for water and other less aggressive services. The ANSI Standard provides for dimensional interchangeability of pumps from one manufacturer to another. The API pump is almost the exclusive choice for applications in the oil refinery industry, where it handles higher temperatures and pressure applications of a more aggressive nature. While this specification also deals with some vertical shaft models, this article will focus on the more widely used horizontal designs. These single stage pumps are designed with a radially split casing to accommodate a back pullout arrangement for ease of maintenance. The major difference between the two styles is reflected in the casing pressure design ratings, which are as follows:
ANSI Pump Rating = 300 PSIG at 300° F API Pump Rating = 750 PSIG at 500° F

In view of these figures, it is apparent that the API pumps should be considered for higher pressure and temperature services than the lighter duty ANSI pump.

The Liquids
In considering the various types of liquids handled by these pumps, the fluids in the petrochemical industry are frequently classified as Hydrocarbons, Aggressive Chemicals and Mild Chemicals. Hydrocarbons are petroleum-based products that are frequently classified as light, intermediate or heavy. At atmospheric pressure and temperature, light hydrocarbons tend to vaporize, intermediate hydrocarbons are liquid, and heavy hydrocarbons are highly viscous or even solid. Aggressive Chemicals include strong acids, alkalines or oxidizing agents that are destructive to both equipment and the environment. They are also dangerous to plant personnel if allowed to leak. Mild Chemicals are generally easy to handle, and are not detrimental to either equipment or the environment. Many of these liquids can produce toxic fluid exposure and vapors if they are allowed to leak out of a pump. Vapor release is a common danger with hydrocarbons that vaporize at atmospheric conditions or other chemicals that may be exposed to very high operating temperatures.

Taking these factors into account, you can finish up with a profitable and reliable operating system.


MARCH 2004


Double volute case Figure 1. and gradually decreases as the flow rate approaches the Best Efficiency Point (BEP). and most ANSI pumps and some API pumps employ a single volute design of the interior passages. the vapor cloud may even explode or catch fires. discussed on this problem in recent years. which in turn results in an imbalance of the thrust loads around the impeller and at right angles to the shaft. Examination of the resultant shaft deflection problems has indicated that the radial plane on which the out-of-balance load acts is approximately 60° counterclockwise from the cut-water of the volute. the suction nozzle is located at the top of the casing adjacent to the discharge nozzle.If a vapor release is exposed to a spark. and much has been Most of the larger API pumps are produced with a double volute design to reduce these loads on high-flow and high-head units. We must also be very conscious about personal safety. On the vertical inline design. in handling these liquids.) This is accomplished by balancing the opposing out-ofbalance loads from each volute. Another casing feature found in many API pumps is the top suction/top discharge arrangement. we must be extremely aware of much more than environmental damage and pumping efficiency. If the pump operates beyond the BEP. Single volute case The peculiar shape of the volute also produces an uneven pressure distribution around the impeller. This load must be accommodated by the shaft and bearings. PUMPS & SYSTEMS www. the area of the volute increases at a rate that is proportional to the rate of discharge from the impeller. thus creating the “inline” appearance. (See Figure 2. While the cost of this is a slight reduction in efficiency. but now it is opposite to the discharge nozzle.pump-zone. This load is at its maximum when the pump is run at the shutoff condition. thus producing a constant velocity at the periphery of the impeller. As shown in Figure 1. Volute Cases Both pump styles have a radial split casing. This is particularly evident in the smaller sizes that involve low-flow rates and lower specific speeds of the impeller. rather than on the end. This velocity energy is then changed into a pressure energy by the time the fluid enters the discharge nozzle. Consequently. which has also been used in a slightly different configuration in a vertical inline pump design. the suction nozzle is once again on the side. the choice between the ANSI pump and the API pump must take into account the specific fluid properties. Figure 2. but in the opposite direction on the same plane. Therefore. as well as the operating conditions. the load increases again. The main difference between these choices is predominantly a result of the differences in casing MARCH 2004 37 . In this arrangement with a horizontal pump. it is considered a small price to pay for the increased reliability that ensues.

In the ANSI design shown in Figure 3. that the NPSH required is often considerably greater than it would be in the end suction arrangement. Back Cover Arrangements One of the major differences between the ANSI and API pump casings is in the manner in which the back cover is secured to the casing. this may cause a fracture of the adaptor The API design in Figure 4 bolts the back cover directly to the casing and uses a confined controlled Figure 3. the back cover and gasket are held against the pump casing by the bearing frame adaptor. which is most frequently supplied in cast iron. This usually results in a gap between the mating faces of the frame adaptor and the pump casing that has the potential to permit uneven torquing of the bolts. for most of these pumps. More NPSH is needed in order to accommodate the friction losses in the tortuous Circle 392 on Reader Service Card 38 MARCH 2004 www. In the event of a higherthan-normal pressurization of the casing by the process PUMPS & SYSTEMS .pump-zone. Typical ANSI pump The drawback of this design is.path from the suction flange to the eye of the impeller.

pump-zone. If these pumps are used on high-temperature MARCH 2004 39 Circle 519 on Reader Service Card . API pumps are mounted at the horizontal centerline of the casing on feet projecting from each side of the casing and bolted to pedestals that form part of the baseplate. Mounting Feet Another difference between the two pump styles is the configuration of the mounting feet. Figure 4.March04PUMPS&SYSp26-41 2/17/04 10:45 AM Page 39 compression gasket with metal to metal fits. The adaptor is bolted independently to the back cover and does not play a part in the pressure boundary of the pump casing. This arrangement provides the API pump with the advantage of being able to operate with pumpage at PUMPS & SYSTEMS www. Typical API pump On the other hand. the casing will expand upwards from the mounting feet and cause severe thermal stresses in the casing that will detrimentally affect the reliability of the pump. Operation at lower temperatures will not be affected by this feature. All ANSI pump casings are mounted on feet projecting from the underside of the casing and bolted to the baseplate.

Prior to any repairs being conducted on a pump casing. As the pump comes up to temperature in such cases. which tend to be much more robust in design and also accommodate cooling jackets with a greater capacity of cooling water. The ability to handle higher temperature ser- vices is also evident in the bearing housings of the API pumps. Smaller and medium-sized ANSI pumps are designed with a high degree of interchangeability and produced in volume. before any repair procedures are performed on any pump PUMPS & SYSTEMS Circle 210 on Reader Service Card . the selection of which depends on the operating stress and effects. Repair Considerations It is important to remember. it can frequently be more cost effective to replace the entire 40 MARCH 2004 www. and will exert minimal amounts of stress to the casing. Consequently. The most common materials used in these cenIn order to achieve low NPSHR trifugal pumps are: .pump-zone. Materials of Construction Pump manufacturers can provide ANSI and API pumps in a wide assortment of materials. Titanium. etc.values. 12% or 13% Martenistic stainless steels in the 400 series Precipitation hardening stainless steels like 17-4 PH Austenitic stainless steels like the 300 series or alloy 20 Duplex stainless steels such as CD4MCu Other more exotic alloys such as Hastelloy. as well as the type of wear from the product being pumped. any expansion of the metal will be above and below the casing centerline.elevated temperatures. thus contributing to optimum reliability of the pump. it is also advisable to consider the economic advantage of the repair under consideration. an suction de end sign enclosed im incorporating an pe eye and in ller with a large jection bo standard res is • • • • • • • • • • Cast iron Ductile iron Bronze Carbon and low alloy steels such as 4140 Chrome steels such as 11%. that the material of construction must be accurately identified by means of the appropriate tests.

and the parts more costly than their ANSI equivalents—particularly the cases and impellers. however. both the individual parts and complete pumps are available fairly quickly. This can make it more cost effective to replace rather than repair the parts. This makes it very tempting to source these parts from an after-market supplier rather than the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). though.pump-zone. that the components must be replaced. you can finish up with reliable pumps that have been properly selected to provide a profitable and reliable operating . are generally more economical to repair than to replace. that the major parts of a centrifugal pump (i. While the parts might be available from after-market suppliers at slightly lower prices than they are from the OEM. that cost saving will fade into insignificance if the pump does not meet its hydraulic performance. which are of a proprietary nature. These parts are also the ones that provide the hydraulic performance of the pump.e. and are consequently more durable and more expensive. the casing. These units are usually installed in more rugged duties and hazardous applications in refineries or other petrochemical industries. unless the wet ends are made of the more exotic alloys. casing and back cover. Your OEM can accept the responsibility for the subsequent hydraulic performance of these replacement parts. he specializes in helping companies increase their pump reliability and reduce operating and maintenance costs through consulting and education. API pumps. the impeller and the back cover) are all cast from patterns involving intricate hydraulic designs.rossmackay. By taking these factors into account. in the case of non-metallic pumps (which may also conform to ANSI standards). as they generally cannot be repaired. In addition. It is clear. It should be noted. Contributing Editor Ross Mackay has over 40 years in the pump industry—many of them working with both ANSI and API pump applications. Delivery periods are also frequently longer. Today.P&S PUMPS & SYSTEMS www. He can be reached at 1-800-465-6260 or through his web site at MARCH 2004 41 Circle 537 on Reader Service Card pump rather than a combination of the impeller.