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Thursday, June 16, 2016

GRAPHALLOY Tames "Bad Actor" Pump


A recent article in World Pumps magazine focused on a major oil refinery in Texas that was experiencing breakage problems with their vertical turbine pump. The plant’s engineers knew that there was a serious problem when the shaft broke twice - in exactly the same place - in less than three years.

The pump was a 4-stage, 14 GH Byron Jackson vertical turbine pump in isopentane service.  A thorough inspection and analysis by the pump repair shop revealed the underlying issue was not with the shaft itself but with the use of the wrong type of bearing materials.

As noted in the article - “Alloy Bearings Cure Breakage Problems” - the bronze bearings should have been able to withstand exposure to the isopentane being pumped. However, there was an occasional inflow of caustic soda which reacted with the bronze.

The bronze bearings were replaced with GRAPHALLOY® nickel-grade bearings. Since the repair, the pump has been operating efficiently for almost three years with no reports of any problems.

Based on a recommendation from an engineer at the refinery, a GRAPHALLLOY nickel-grade material that would withstand 400°C and offer self-lubricating and corrosion resistant properties was chosen. GRAPHALLOY bushings were installed into the stuffing box, column, bowl and suction bell bearing fits.

According to the sales engineer at the pump repair shop, “GRAPHALLOY is a material that is compatible with a wide range of pumped liquids and offers a good option in high temperature applications.”

GRAPHALLOY resists attack by most corrosive liquids including sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, chlorine water and caustics and can withstand high temperatures without deforming or burning.

To read the full article, please click here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Facility Chooses Graphite-Metal Alloy Bearings

by Eric Ford
Vice President, Graphite Metallizing Corporation
Pumps & Systems, April 2016
 
Sometimes saving money can be expensive. Ads showing that an appliance is more energy efficient than its competition can be convincing, but perhaps spending $800 on a new refrigerator would only save $10 a year. The problem is not limited to consumer goods. Selecting the wrong replacement parts for industrial equipment can also prove to be costly. One Midwest refinery encountered this issue when it replaced the original graphite-metal alloy bearings on two butane cavern pumps with bronze bearings. While the original bearings lasted almost a quarter of a century, the new bronze bearings failed within four years. Just the labor to remove the pump ended up costing far more than purchasing higher-quality bearings would have.

Limestone Cavern
The refinery was built in the early 1900s. Over the past century, it has undergone extensive reconfiguration and expansion. It can process 125,000 barrels per day (bpd) of sweet or sour crude. Four hundred feet beneath the refinery lies a limestone cavern used for butane storage.

In 1980, the plant purchased a pair of 13-stage, deep-well cavern pumps to move product out of the cavern. Designed to fit on the existing 16-inch, 300-pound flanges with mechanical seals and rigid flange couplings, the pumps came with 408 feet of column and stainless-steel shafting. Originally, they were designed to pump 350 gallons per minute of propane, but this later changed to butane. Although butane is slightly heavier—with a specific gravity of 0.58 versus propane's 0.51—it was well within pump specifications. The equipment was also designed to pump water if it infiltrated the cavern. The pumps operate one at a time in a balanced mode so that they have the same number of operating hours, rather than operating as the primary and the other as a standby.

Both pumps were initially fitted with self-lubricating graphite-metal alloy composite bearings. These composites consist of a metal impregnated into a graphite substrate under high temperature and pressure. This process gives the material its strength. Such components can be manufactured with tighter-than-normal clearances. Any wear or contact exposes the graphite, providing a low-friction surface. Depending on the intended use, these composites can be made using metal alloys including Babbitt, bronze, copper, iron, nickel and silver. The graphite does not have a melting point and does not soften at high temperatures, so it can be used in non-oxidizing temperatures up to 1,000 F (538 C) and up to 750 F (400 C) in air. It does not get brittle at temperatures as low as minus 450 F (minus 268 C).
 
The original graphite-metal alloy bearings lasted from initial installation in 1980 until 2004. However, the pump original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommended using bronze as replacement bearings, which was a less expensive option. In many instances, it makes sense to go with the lower-cost bearings. However, this was not one of those times. While bronze performs well under normal operating conditions when moving product, it does not do well during dry-run conditions. The problem is one of lubricity. In these deep-well pumps, the product lubricates the bushings on its way up and out of the pump. During startup, the pump has to run dry for 10 to 15 seconds before product is moved to the top of the pump. Because bronze is not self-lubricating or non-galling, the pumps would seize during this time, and the bearings needed to be replaced after an average of just nine months.

With an above-ground pump, repairs might be fairly straightforward. That was not the case with these cavern pumps. To repair them, technicians had to pull each pump out of the ground, one 10-foot section at a time, and disassemble it along the way. Forty bearings needed replacement, one for each section. Each pump then had to be assembled and lowered, section by section, before it could be put back into service. The cost of doing this just one time was more than 20 times the cost differential between the self-lubricating bearings and the bronze bearings.
When engineers with experience at this plant returned to work at the refinery, they observed the situation and recommended the plant return to the approach that had worked before. In this case, it was an easy financial decision now that replacement labor costs were well-known.

The first pump had its bronze line shaft bearings and bowl bushings replaced with graphite-Babbitt grade bearings. Five years later, both pumps continue to operate without issue, allowing maintenance personnel to put time and budget toward improving other aspects of the refinery.
 
Beyond Cavern Bearings
Bronze or other materials with short dry-run capabilities are a good fit in some situations, but not for vertical pumps operating under possible dry-run conditions, especially with low specific gravity fluids. These vertical pumps are not limited to hydrocarbons or refinery operations. They are also used in potable water service in places that require deep-well pumps.

Twenty years ago, pump operators would install a food-grade bearing grease drip system that an operator could turn on five or 10 minutes before startup that would ensure bearings were lubricated all the way down the shaft. Now regulators do not allow anything to be introduced into these water wells. As a result, some operators have switched to graphite-metal alloy bearings that can withstand these startup conditions.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

David Moser Joins Sales Team at GRAPHALLOY

Graphite Metallizing Corporation, the manufacturer of self-lubricating GRAPHALLOY® bushing materials for pumps and process equipment, has appointed David Moser as Sales Engineering Representative for Texas, Louisiana and southern Arkansas.

Moser holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Southern Polytechnic State University. He has has over twenty years experience in the industrial market place, much of it with a manufacturer of centrifugal pumps. Moser will be based out of his Houston office. 

“David's extensive experience with industrial machinery will help our customers use GRAPHALLOY to achieve greater equipment reliability,” stated Eben Walker, General Manager of Graphite Metallizing. "We are pleased to have David join our team.”

Graphite Metallizing Corporation of Yonkers, NY has been solving tough bearing problems for over 100 years. The company began in 1913 when two engineers developed a method for putting molten metal into carbon to create a new material called GRAPHALLOY, a graphite/metal alloy.

Used in the manufacture of bushings, bearings and other components for machinery and process equipment, GRAPHALLOY can be the solution to the toughest bearing, bushing, thrust washer, cam follower, or pillow block bearing design problem. It is available in over 100 grades with specific properties that meet a wide range of engineering solutions and specifications. FDA accepted grades of GRAPHALLOY are available for use in food service equipment. NSF® International has certified two grades of GRAPHALLOY material for use in municipal well pumps and water treatment plant applications.

GRAPHALLOY bearings have operated for 20 years and longer in some applications. Standard designs are available but most GRAPHALLOY products are custom designed to the unique requirements of the specific application. Graphite Metallizing Corporation is ISO certified.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

GRAPHALLOY® at Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium

Graphite Metalllzing Corporation will be exhibiting at the 2016 Asia Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium from February 22 - 25. The event will be held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Please stop by and visit us at Booth #614.

For more information about this Symposium, click here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Graphite Metallizing Holdings Inc Purchases Exalto UK Bearing Business

Graphite Metallizing Holdings Inc (GMHI) has purchased Exalto UK, the manufacturer and worldwide supplier of water lubricated bearings, from its Dutch owners, Exalto BV.  GMHI, the US-based manufacturer of bearings, has established a new UK company, Exalto Bearings UK Ltd, who will continue to
supply the Marine and Pump Industries worldwide with quality bearings.

Dennis Rawle, European Director of Sales for GMHI and now Managing Director of Exalto Bearings UK commented, "I have long been associated with the Exalto
Bearing business and am excited to continue my involvement in this new chapter for the company."

GMHI specializes in bearings and products manufactured using GRAPHALLOY®, a unique graphite/metal alloy suitable for use in the toughest conditions. Rawle adds "the combined bearing expertise of both Exalto and GMHI means we can offer our customers bearings to suit any application and the new UK base for GMHI can only improve the service we can offer our own European customers."

For further information, please contact:
For Exalto Bearings UK
Louisa Quinn
louisa@exalto.co.uk
(+44) 1332 340501

For Graphite Metallizing Holdings Inc
Eben Walker
ebenw@graphalloy.com
(+1) 914 968 8400


More information on Exalto Bearings UK and Graphite Metallizing Holdings Incorporated
Exalto Bearings UK
Since 1996, Exalto Bearings UK has been manufacturing the highest quality, rubber-lined and composite cutlass bearings for the Pump and Marine industries. Nobody knows bearings better. We're a proudly British company, trusted by our long-standing customers to create standard as well as custom-made bearings for the world's biggest marine propulsion and pump manufacturers. We pride ourselves on the quality of our products, the speed of our delivery and the friendly and professional service from our small business team.

Graphite Metallizing Holdings Incorporated
Graphite Metallizing Corporation of Yonkers, NY has been solving tough bearing problems for over 100 years. The company began in 1913 when two engineers developed a method for putting molten metal into carbon to create a new material called GRAPHALLOY®, a graphite/metal alloy.

Used in the manufacture of bushings, bearings and other components for machinery and process equipment, GRAPHALLOY can be the solution to the toughest bearing, bushing, thrust washer, cam follower, or pillow block bearing design problem. It is available in over 100 grades with specific properties that meet a wide range of engineering solutions and specifications.

GRAPHALLOY bearings have operated for 20 years and longer in some applications.Standard designs are available but most GRAPHALLOY products are custom designed to the unique requirements of the specific application.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Graphite Metallizing Issues New Catalog of Products

Graphite Metallizing Corporation, the manufacturer of self-lubricating GRAPHALLOY® bushing materials, announces the release of a new catalog of its products. The catalog provides a thorough introduction to the company's highly regarded line of bearings and bushings which thrive in harsh environments.

“This will enable potential customers to learn about the advantages of GRAPHALLOY and why it can reduce downtime and provide years of maintenance-free operation," says Eben Walker, General Manager of Graphite Metallizing.

The catalog includes a list of industries and applications that are well-suited for GRAPHALLOY products. Additionally,there is comprehensive explanation of its features and benefits, particularly its success in high temperature and submerged industrial environments.

GRAPHALLOY, a graphite-metal alloy, is available in over 100 grades with specific properties that meet a wide range of engineering solutions and specifications. Most GRAPHALLOY products are custom designed to the unique requirements of the specific application. The engineers at Graphite Metallizing have extensive experience with all types of industrial machinery and will work customers to design the appropriate solution.

FDA accepted grades of GRAPHALLOY are available for use in food service equipment. NSF® International has certified two grades of GRAPHALLOY material for use in municipal well pumps and water treatment plant applications.

For a copy of this new catalog, contact sales@graphalloy.com.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Bushings that Outperform Metal Wear Parts in CO2 Service

Graphite Metallizing Corporation announces GRAPHALLOY® wear rings and bushings that provide performance superior to standard metal stationary and rotating wear part in pumps for CO2 service in oil field applications. Self-lubricating GRAPHALLOY,  a graphite/metal alloy, eliminates concern about bearing failures or possible flashing of CO2.

The ability to operate without additional lubrication is important in CO2 injection applications because CO2 has low lubricity. Standard metal wear parts rely on the lubricity of the liquid being pumped for proper operation so they are prone to failures in pumps used to inject CO2. In addition, due to high suction pressure required to keep CO2 as a dense phase liquid, flashing is always a possibility.

CO2 injection in older, low flowing wells is becoming an increasingly popular method for permeating rock formations and forcing more oil to the surface. Many older wells still contain vast amounts of oil locked in the pores of rock layers deep underground. CO2 injection often releases more oil in older wells than can be released by water injection.

“Use of self-lubricating, non-galling GRAPHALLOY materials in pumps for CO2 service provides substantial cost savings by avoiding expensive downtime and field repairs caused by wear part failures,” said Eben Walker, General Manager of Graphite Metallizing Corporation. “GRAPHALLOY is currently the material of choice for many oil field applications in North America and around the world.”

GRAPHALLOY wear rings and bushings operate at longer intervals without the need for replacements or maintenance which helps reduce downtime and maintenance expenses. GRAPHALLOY is an excellent choice for any application where service and maintenance tasks are cumbersome or difficult to perform. GRAPHALLOY is a proven solution for even the most challenging plant maintenance and new equipment design applications.