Bearings

Latest Bearings Articles

Within the oil and gas industry, the rotating shafts of equipment—such as pumps, motors, compressors, gearboxes and turbines—perform an essential function in both upstream and downstream applications. This rotating equipment ensures process flow and the safety of employees and the surrounding community.

Few industries can tolerate the unscheduled downtime of critical equipment. In refinery operations, it can have particularly serious implications. For an operation that runs 24 hours per day year-round, the losses—in both production and profitability—can be staggering.

Active magnetic bearing (AMB) reliability and availability levels have surpassed oil bearings after 10 years of technological advancements. These advances have made an impact on the industry, drawing attention from major original equipment manufacturers globally.

A multistage BB5 diffuser machine in oil transfer service in the Middle East had been in operation for many years without problems. After a routine maintenance strip down and rebuild, the pump experienced a high thrust bearing temperature of 105 C, which caused it to alarm and shut down. The temperature range had previously been 75 C to 85 C.

Bearing currents occur in specific motor and drive installations and can lead to motor fatigue and failure. While no system is inherently immune to bearing currents, few installations experience bearing currents during normal operation. While many installations have preventive measures installed, knowing that protection is in place is sometimes outside the owner or operator’s scope.

Misalignment is a frequent cause of rolling bearing failure. It can cause cage fracture, which will result in seizure of the bearing, pump failure and costly downtime. It can also cause edge loading, which will result in early bearing failure.

Bearings in centrifugal pumps support hydraulic loads imposed on the impeller, the mass of the impeller and shaft, and loads caused by couplings and drive systems. They also keep axial and radial shaft deflections within acceptable limits for the impeller and shaft seal.

With more than 20 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, Lukoil, a Russian oil and gas business, aspired to expand its oil and gas fields. For the expansion, Lukoil selected the Bolshekhetskaya depression in West Siberia, where large deposits of ceromanian gas lay.

When pumping river or well water, abrasive particles—such as sand and other debris—erode hardware quickly. This leads to poor performance and costly, frequent repairs.

When a representative from a local distributor noticed a large amount of oil leaking from a semi-autogenous grinding (SAG) mill gearbox at a copper mill, he decided that a permanent solution to the maintenance issues caused by inefficient sealing methods was needed.

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Columns

In my July 2014 column, I demonstrated that three-phase voltage variation can significantly affect several alternating current (AC) motor characteristics. If that variation is large, it can also reduce motor life.

When the pump selection process starts, the required flow of the is often the only known variable for an application. For example, a system must move 2,000 gallons per minute (gpm) from a holding tank to another tank or process.

A reciprocating power pump, as depicted in Figure 1, is a displacement machine. It has characteristics that are different than a centrifugal pump.

Blogs

The global water crisis claims 5,500 lives each day—more than war, natural disasters, AIDS or hunger. It is a sobering problem but not an impossible one to solve.

SKF hosted their annual Technical Press Day on June 9, 2014, at Penske Headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. This was my first event to cover for Pumps & Systems, so I had a lot to learn! Here are a just a few of the things I picked up at press day.

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Upstream Pumping Solutions

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