While overseeing repairs at a chemical plant, engineers spotted a questionable pump installation relating to an ammonia superheater.

While overseeing repairs at a chemical plant, engineers from Spirax Sarco Inc.’s Energy Services Group in Blythewood, S.C., spotted a questionable pump installation.

The ammonia superheater and propylene superheaters were fitted with pressure-powered pumps but not equipped with an adequate reservoir or drip trap for the motive steam. Plus, algae were growing around the pumps, creating a slippery hazard for plant personnel.

The engineers inspected the pumps and recommended that the customer add a reservoir and drip trap to the motive steam line and replace the existing pumps with two Spirax PTF Pivotrol pumps. Since the new pumps were installed, the plant has not had to work on or repair the pumps, or remove them from service even though one of the pumps has more than 2.1 million cycles, and the other has an estimated 1.3 million cycles.

With the improvements, the plant will be able to recover an estimated 80 million lb/yr of condensate that otherwise would have been dumped to the sewer, to the tune of $160,000 annually.