The stagnating economy, coupled with depressed oil prices, has led petrochemicals refineries to emphasise pump and equipment maintenance rather than investing in capital procurement, states pumps supplier AESPUMP sales and marketing director Neil Britz.
Thus, he notes, the company can supply effective maintenance and operational support as part of its strategy to effectively maintain machinery already installed at South Africa’s petrochemicals refineries and chemicals plants.
“Since there is a freeze on capital expenditure to buy or upgrade to new equipment, AESPUMP is visiting and inspecting existing installations in an effort to improve the operating conditions of the pumps, which, in turn, will increase the plant’s operational life span,” Britz points out.
Subsequently, AESPUMP received a request from integrated energy and chemicals company Sasol to assist in its effort to save 25% in its yearly expenditure through the rotation of equipment maintenance work.
“To achieve this, the focus has to be placed on strategies and policies that ensure that pumps and other key equipment in the chemicals and petrochemicals industry are operated within their preferred operating parameters and that companies are not pushing the functioning of their equipment beyond its limits,” says Britz.
Moreover, he explains, this entails training the operators on the best efficiency points of the equipment and recalibrating it to operate within recommended parameters.
Britz tells Engineering News that the answer to such maintenance problems and misuse of equipment is the company’s rerating service which is geared to ensuring that the Syndyne pumps or compressors, of which AESPUMP is an authorised distributor, are operating at their most efficient operating capacity.
“We accomplish the rerating on site without disrupting the process piping or installation. The preventive maintenance service includes the replacement of standard wear parts such as bearings, seals, O-rings and filters,” explains Britz.
He adds that the sequence the company follows in its rerating service is to firstly review the original design conditions and define the plant’s current demand. Then rerating of the engineering selection to achieve improved performance follows, he adds.
“This is followed by the specification of new parts required, then the installation of the parts and, finally, the execution of operational performance, after which the pump and compressors are restarted.”
Following the rerating process, the customer is given a revised expected performance curve that outlines the recommended performance specification of the equipment, a revised specification sheet and an updated bill of materials for the records, notes Brits.
What further assists the petrochemicals and chemicals industry in maintaining its equipment is that AESPUMP is an authorised partner and service provider for pumps and compressors suppliers Sundyne, Sunflo, Ansimag and HMD Kontro pumps, which enables the company to offer a multifaceted strategy to its clients.
Other refineries that benefit from AESPUMP’s off-site service support include petroleum, oil and gas supplier PetroSA and refiner and marketer of petroleum products Chevron, both based in Cape Town, as well as the Engen refinery and the joint Shell and BP petroleum refinery, both in Durban.