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In this video we spotlight the latest pump package test from our engineering and testing facility. 

Our customer out of Eastern Canada needed to get up and running quickly with a difficult application. The objective was to pump hot animal tallow at over 3000 psi and 800 gallons per minute. This specification was an especially tough application and required a full engineering review. This specific package was already in our inventory and matched both the customer’s requirements and timeline. To further guarantee success the purchase was based on a successful performance test including pressures, temperatures, flows, and vibration.

The unit is a Flowserve 4WIK. It is an API 610 BB5 centrifugal pump with a new Siemens 3,500 horsepower, 4160 volts, 2 pole electric motor turning 3,600 rpm. 

It included a pressure lubrication system that supplies pressurized oil to the main bearings on the pump and the motor. This lubrication system has filtration, pressure and flow monitoring gauges and transmitters, and a cooling system to keep the oil cool. This system is closely monitored throughout the duration of the test. 

There is also a seal support system for the mechanical seals on the pump. This is a Plan 23 seal support system that will be running out in the field, but for the test, we interrupted that system with a simple, freshwater flush to keep them cool during the test. Many times, a freshwater flush is the best way to test, since the test fluid (water) is often different from the main process fluid the pump is made for. 

As we’re running this test, our operators are monitoring pressures, temperatures, flows, vibration and the overall health of the package. All these readings are also being recorded automatically on a PLC in the central system that controls the test. 

After we pulled the package into the test facility, we hooked up the suction of the pump being tested to the discharge of our on-site charge pump. This ensures that the test pump is always supplied with pressurized fluid and adequate NPSHA. The discharge of the main pump is routed back to the holding tanks. Since this is a test environment, we must create the resistance-pressure using a series of chock valves. We have a variety of different chock valves that we use for different tests, depending on the pressure and flow. In this case we are using 15,000 psi chock valves like you would see on a frac site. We’ve also constructed a steel plate to protect the operator from the epicenter of the pressurized pipe, where the restriction is taking place. We consider this a “red zone” and limit our exposure to it. 

All the energy being forced into the choke valve by the pump creates a tremendous amount of heat. Essentially, all 3,500 hp that the motor is putting out ends up in heat, mostly heat that is accumulating in the water. On this test, we are required to run a customer witnessed test for 4 hours continuously. At that time, we must cool the water, otherwise the water would get much too hot, causing safety hazards to the personnel and damage to the equipment. 

To cool the water, we have a separate loop, taking water out of our tanks to a large water cooler, just outside our test facility. 

To power the test, we have a large diesel generator set sending power to a medium voltage VFD. The VFD powers the motor and controls the speed of the pump. 

Our team has been trained extensively in the operation, maintenance, and testing of this equipment. We’ve accomplished a countless number of these types of tests right here in this facility. This test was another great success. We tested this pump package up to 1,100 gpm and up to 3,700 psi. It was safe, it was on target, on spec, and ready for hours of run time. 

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