Efficient Plant March 2018 - 18

PdM vibration analysis

Vibration
Points to

Piston Pump Failure
Research project uses vibration analysis to accurately predict failure of new and rebuilt
variable-displacement hydraulic-piston pumps.
Garrett Wolfe, CAT III Vibration Analyst, Vallourec Star

UNPLANNED DOWNTIME, particularly
in facilities that operate around the clock,
must be avoided, even if automated backup
systems are in place. At our Vallourec Star
automated tube mill plant in Youngstown,
OH, we are determined to find ways to
improve reliability and predictability.
Our most recent effort involved predicting
variable-displacement hydraulicpiston-pump failures.
Catastrophic failure in these pumps com-

18

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monly occurs at the piston-shoe assembly
that connects the pistons to the swashplate.
The most common "predictor" has been
leakage, which is a less-than-desirable
indicator. As part of our reliability effort, I
sought to use vibration analysis to provide
a more consistent, earlier indicator of pending failure.
My work involved 18 months of data
collection, analysis, and pump-tear-down
inspections. That was followed by more

than 24 months of using the resulting
vibration-analysis method on more than
20 pumps to predict failure with a 100%
success rate.

PUMPS AND PROCEDURES
Our plant uses nine-piston variabledisplacement axial-flow piston pumps that
operate at 1,200 rpm and a pressure of 2,174
psi (150 bar). The pumps use water glycol
(FR46) in a controlled temperature range

MARCH 2018


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