Critical Pressure Control for Turbomachinery

You know you need to periodically get your car’s oil changed and the lube oil system checked if you want the engine to last over the life you own your car.
It’s the same for many process manufacturers who have large, critical turbomachinery assets. These can include air and gas compressors, steam turbines, power recovery turbines, power generating equipment, etc.
Like the oil required for your car engine, lube oil skids maintain oil flow to the bearings, seals, and servo-controls on these critical turbomachinery assets. The lube oil skids must react very quickly in the event of an oil pump trip or other disturbance condition.
I spoke with Mark Coughran, an Emerson Control Performance consultant who was involved in a recent plant turnaround at a Texas Gulf coast petrochemical manufacturer.
Mark said the challenge with the lube oil skids is to maintain the oil pressure in these disturbance conditions, since the compressor or turbine will trip and the plant will lose production during the often lengthy restart procedure.
For this petrochemical manufacturer, Mark used his expertise acquired over the years of working with these skids along with Emerson’s Entech Toolkit to find the fastest stable tuning of the pressure controllers.
In this particular case, Mark estimates the cost in lost production from a single turbomachine trip dwarfs the cost of his applied expertise.
Emerson also has online Machinery Health Monitoring to predict conditions which may cause a trip and alert operators in time to avoid a trip. I’ll have more on some of the experts who help manufacturers get the most out of this monitoring in a future post.

Posted Wednesday, April 12th, 2006 under Plant Equipment.

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