Turbo-Expander Case History: Knowledge of Turbomachinery Health Helps Make Process Decisions

13th Topical on Refinery Processing
2010 AIChE Spring Meeting
AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
March 23, 2010 - 8:00pm

Koch Nitrogen, like every chemical plant, has a few rotating machines in the realm of critical where words like human safety, explosion, months to repair and plant stoppage are commonly used. In May of 2008, Koch Nitrogen commissioned a brand new 8100 rpm, 1500 hp turbo expander. This plant has 1 spare. Upon initial start-up, the vibration monitor immediately tripped the machine off-line. With no machinery health monitoring in place, the decision to restart was made, essentially blind. The vibration levels were now elevated, but at 1.4 mils, so they decided to continue to run. In September 2009, machinery health information was collected on this critical machine and they discovered that the situation was actually quite serious – even when overall vibration was only reading 1.4 mils. In this presentation, you will see what anomaly was occurring, and how the vibration information coupled with process information helped tell the rest of the story. You will see live displays that represent the motion of the shaft inside this machine. You will learn how the right tools integrated together can provide immediate feedback to operators for action, or maintenance for planning and analysis. Learn how the vibration protection system protects your asset and machinery health integrated to process automation protects your bottom line.

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