Chemical Case Study

We had two horizontal split-case pumps circulating plant cooling water from a cooling tower basin in our chemical plant.  The plant had suffered from poor performance and pump failures for many years.  Ken noted both severe cavitation and corrosion damage to the impellers upon inspection.

When we requested bids for replacement pumps, Ken recommended vertical turbine pumps or larger horizontal split-case units running at a slower speed to reduce pump NPSHR dramatically.  Another pump supplier quoted smaller horizontal pumps running at the same speed, and they included a performance curve created from the manufacturer’s software that indicated that their pump would require less NPSHR.  Although Ken warned that an impeller with a smaller eye could not produce improved NPSH characteristics (regardless of the manufacturer’s curve), the project team purchased and installed the smaller pumps for a reduced initial cost.

The new pumps performed very poorly in the application, and the plant had to severely throttle the flow.  Our plant efficiency was greatly limited for several years, and the total cost from the mistake was tremendous.

When we began a project to ramp up production capability for the entire plant, the selected engineering contractor contacted Ken for recommendations on the cooling water pumps.  Ken studied the existing basin drawings.  He recommended four new vertical turbine pumps to replace both the two mis-sized horizontal units and two smaller vertical pumps that were in the same basin.  Design flow was maximized for the system.  He recommended minor alterations to the existing intake structure to accommodate the new pumps and optimize basin performance.

Ken’s recommendations were used, and the new pump system was installed in September of 2021.  The pumps have operated flawlessly, and the entire plant production and efficiency has increased.

Ken has helped us with many pump and system upgrades, new systems, seal recommendations, and replacement units.  I have found Ken to be a valuable, reliable asset for our plant for many years, and recommend his expertise and service highly.

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INDUSTRY
PROJECT MANAGER

Dave
Maintenance Supervisor and SITE SME for Rotating Equipment

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