Special Report: Promising greater efficienciesby Martin Menachery on Jan 12, 2017
Rotating equipment is one of the most critical assets in the operating process plants. It handles reliable management of fluids from a particular point to another as well as many other important applications.
The efficiency of the equipment determines the profitability of the entire process operation, however demanding the application might be. Rotating equipment business globally witnessed major changes and technology innovations at the end of the 20th century and the trend is still continuing with dynamic progress in its offerings and capabilities. Earlier, Industrial Revolution, post World War II expansions and the escalating energy crisis were the key catalysts for the development of the rotating equipment business for several decades.
During the past 50 years, serious energy shortage, alarming environmental challenges and intensifying global competition for better profitability have triggered a rapid growth in the realm of industrial rotating equipment and fluid flow solutions. The current economic environment in the refining and petrochemical industries has a major impact on the operation and maintenance philosophies of the process plant operators, particularly for the rotating equipment. The process industry around the world has made major general deductions in the operation and maintenance budgets and thereby deviated from the past practices and guidelines to establish new goals and standards which must accomplish more with less manpower and maintenance cost.
The technological progress happening in the field of rotating equipment redefines our historical view about them as only components of fluid handling systems. The use of modern rotating equipment and fluid flow solutions offers an open, integrated solution that crosses the artificial traditional boundaries of different assets in process plants, uncovering greater efficiencies. The latest asset management tools empower process industry operators to improve the way they apply and manage rotating equipment and fluid flow solutions used in their plants, resulting in enhanced equipment availability, reliability and efficiency, reduced combined operating and maintenance cost; and better profitability. In the case of refineries, the key to a reliable fluid flow is ensuring continuous flow from the production site to the processing site at as close to design-flow throughput as possible.
As pointed out in this issue’s Market Focus (pages22-23), the cost to build the pipelines is high, around US$10 million per well, but miniscule compared to the billions of dollars incurred in potential production losses from incorrect designs over the lifecycle of the field.