Compressor, turbine and pump innovation at the forefront at Turbo Symposium 2018

The 47th Turbomachinery and 34th International Pump User’s Symposia (TPS 2018) attracted 365 exhibitors, and 4750 attendees representing 45 countries. Engineers and technicians, from novice to experienced, chose from a combination of 18 short courses, 18 lectures, 23 tutorials, 24 discussion groups and 32 case studies.

“I am grateful to all of our authors, leaders, delegates, exhibitors and advisers who make TPS a staple event for the industry,” said Eric L. Petersen, Turbo Lab director. “This is a unique forum where the best in the industry come to share their expertise.”

Masaki Shakuda, Engineer, Compressor Engineering and Design Section of MHI Compressor Corp. (MCO), discussed fouling of process gas compressors in ethylene plants. Several types of contamination can often foul the compressor flow path and plant production is significantly lost. The traditional remedy is washing oil: the oil is injected through nozzles installed on the suction piping and return bend of each stage. However, fouling material has been reported during turnarounds in machines with relatively few years of operation even though wash oil injection was carried out at the required intervals. MCO and ExxonMobil worked together to find a more effective approach to develop an improved online wash oil injection system using CFD/FEM analysis.

Benjamin White, PE, of Southwest Research Institute, delivered a talk on mechanical, stress and flow considerations for the piping design of centrifugal compressors. There are a range of factors that must be considered in the piping associated with the installation of any new centrifugal compressor system. Multiple factors must be balanced in the piping design to have an overall successful installation. The piping must be configured and supported in a manner to safely contain the mechanical forces from the internal fluid pressures as well as the weight of the popping, fittings, and valves. It must not place any unusually high loads on the compressor itself or any piping supports due to thermal expansion, pressure elongation, or weight loads. The layout should result in an even flow velocity profile that does not result in detrimental impact to the aerodynamics performance of the compressor.

Jack Bagain, Senior Staff Mechanical Engineer at John Crane, covered design aspects and considerations for mechanical seals in midstream pipeline applications. There are a few applications that place significant demand on mechanical seals, particularly those associated with the handling of various fluids through pipelines. They have to deal with a wide range of conditions including variable fluid properties, as well as fluctuations in temperature, pressure, and speed. There are additional challenges in the midstream pipeline sector associated with the remote nature of the installations and limited accessibility. That’s why equipment monitoring and preventive maintenance support are placing increased emphasis on the criticality of selecting a robust mechanical seal design and associated support equipment.

Robert Benton, Jr., Global Expander Technology Manager for the CryoMachinery Department at Air Products, presented on successful application of nitrogen turboexpanders-compressors to floating and land-based LNG facilities. As a result, large land-based mega-trains and floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) facilities can be challenging to design. He included a couple of specific examples including the Ras Laffan LNG project in Qatar, and an offshore project in Malaysia.

Michael Huebner, Principal Engineer at Flowserve, detailed best practices for cartridge mechanical seal installations. The reliability of a mechanical seals depends on more than the design of the seal itself, he said. It also depends on the practices used to install the seal into the centrifugal pump or other equipment. The actual installation may occur in a controlled environment such as a factory or repair shop. Alternatively, it could be in the field in an installed pump. The steps taken during installation set the foundation for success of seal in operation. Different pump and seal designs may require different procedures, but there are key elements: inspection, requirements for equipment condition, preparation for installation, installing the seal, setting the seal drive, and more.

For the complete article, and more details of each presentation, see the November/December feature in Turbomachinery International.