Trusted Partnerships Lead to Improved Reliability

Lubrication and Purification Services for Oil Refineries

The Problem

In 2004, RelaDyne Reliability Services started working with a large global refining company that had various lubrication related problems. To resolve one problem, RelaDyne Reliability Services demonstrated the effectiveness of its LubriMist® oil mist systems using a small oil mist demonstration unit on one small steam turbine with a MTBF of on average, 4 months. Following the application of oil mist, the turbine operated for over two years without intervention.

Following the success of the oil mist demonstration, the first plant-wide oil mist systems were ordered and installed, which reduced maintenance costs by nearly 50 percent and provided a return on investment within two years.

In 2006: Under a Lubrication Management Agreement, RelaDyne Reliability Services was contracted to perform the following services:

  • Oil Mist Lubrication Systems and Maintenance
  • Oil Analysis
  • Oil Purification Programs
  • Conventional Lubrication Tasks such as Greasing
  • Recommendations for Improvement
  • Training to Operations and Maintenance Staff

The Solution

As a result of the oil analysis program, in 2007, RelaDyne Reliability Services was called in to try to resolve a problem encountered in a centrifugal pump driven by a steam turbine, where high water levels of 33,900 ppm were causing concern. To reduce water levels to manageable levels, RelaDyne Reliability Services installed a ThermoJet® H2500 Oil Purifier, which reduced water content by over 85 percent in the first three days, and within two weeks, to below 200 ppm (ISO 8068 recommended level), maintaining water content at around 50 ppm thereafter.

A ThermoJet was then used to resolve a problem of gas contamination in the seal oil of an ethylene compressor caused by seal leakage. Originally, one ThermoJet was installed, which removed the need to replenish 264 gallons (1000 liters) of oil per day and, as the leak got worse, two Thermojets were installed, saving the need to replenish a total of 2,642 gallons (10,000 liters) of oil per day. Although the oil savings were substantial, the most important thing for the plant was that the compressor stayed in operation for six months without reliability problems. Though only considering lubricant savings, the return on investment for the three ThermoJet Oil Purifiers was less than one month.

In 2007, varnish problems were detected in a gas turbine and RelaDyne Reliability Services installed IsoPur™ balanced charged agglomeration technology to solve the problem.

Other RelaDyne Reliability Services recommendations that were implemented included changing from cellulose to micro-glass filters for increased compressor efficiency, high velocity oil flushing services, a new filter housing for the bulk oil system and a new lubrication system for a reciprocating compressor.

In addition to lubrication services performed at the refinery, RelaDyne Reliability Services completed training for over 200 personnel. Through training, the customer saw a 63 percent improvement in the storage and handling of lubricants and increased oil mist knowledge. They then requested additional training for onsite staff.


The Results

By initiating an effective oil analysis program, potential problems were identified before they could affect production.

In the two years following the oil mist system installation, maintenance costs were reduced by nearly 50 percent, which provided a return on investment within two years. After that, the customer decided to install oil mist lubrication to the entire refinery, where more than 25 oil mist systems were installed between 2007 and 2009.

By using the RelaDyne Reliability Services ThermoJet® system for degassing seal oil, the customer’s ethylene compressor did not experience any downtime.

By changing over filters from cellulose to microglass, the customer’s machinery was more reliable through the resulting improvements in lubrication cleanliness.

Full-time onsite RelaDyne Reliability Services staff continues to perform services for this customer to date, with future projects to include a new storage and bulk supply system for the customer’s ethylene plant and the incorporation of oil supply stations in other plants.