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Pump safety, the undiscussed topic in chemical industry leading to several fatal incidents

Source: AIChE
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    AIChE Member Credits 0.5
    AIChE Members $19.00
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    Non-Members $29.00
  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    August 19, 2020
  • Duration:
    60 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    1.00

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Abstract Title: Pump safety, the undiscussed topic in chemical industry leading to several fatal incidents

Presenter Information: Deepak Sharma; Sr. Process Engineer, Engineering and Technology, Bayer AG

Pumps are one of the equipment’s in the process industry that require a thorough review during HAZOP studies. The constant source of energy given to the pump, if not converted to kinetic energy to flow the fluid, can lead to heating of the pumped fluid. If the fluid keeps accumulating the energy provided by the motor, in a blocked-in scenario, it can lead to very high temperatures eventually leading to loss of containment of the pump and the pump can get damaged. There have been instances in the industry where fragments of damaged pumps have flown several feet away from the point of loss of containment leading to injuries. The poster will outline a scenario where a pump is run blocked in on suction and discharge for water and a chemical which has a low thermal decomposition temperature. Arc data is used to evaluate the onset temperature of thermal decomposition. The poster will outline safeguards that can be employed to avoid catastrophic loss of containment of the pump. Outlined below are safeguards used to avoid loss of containment of a pump in case of a blocked-in scenario:

  • Install PSV on suction of pump
  • Employ a low amp/power interlock on the pump to turn off the pump in case of blocked in situation
  • Have a high-pressure interlock on the discharge line of the pump to direct flow back to the tank in case of pump deadhead
  • Install an Interlock to turn off the pump in case the feed forward valves (automatic valves) close inadvertently

Pump deadhead scenarios are not only catastrophic when in flammable service there are several salts that have low thermal decomposition temperatures. Pumps in water service left blocked in could also blow catastrophically leading to reportable incidents. I feel this is an important topic to bring to the attention of students and professionals in the chemical industry. Poster will include pictures of actual installed pumps along with required safeguards in the field along with supporting P&ID depictions.

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AIChE Member Credits 0.5
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AIChE Undergraduate Student Members Free
Non-Members $29.00
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