Get Rid of Flare Knockout Drum Pump Problems with DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100

If you would like to improve the reliability of your flare knockout drum pumps, consider an upgrade to DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings and bushings.

In a distant corner of every hydrocarbon processing plant there is a flare (or several flares). The flare burns off excess hydrocarbon gas  leakage from the plant. The flare gas comes from all of the emergency relief lines in the plant along with the refinery blow-down system which handles the normal leakage from tandem seals and numerous other points in the plant. All of these lines join into a header which flows into a large vessel called the Flare Knockout Drum.

The fluid in the header is a mixture of liquid and gas. The job of the flare knockout drum is to separate the gas from the liquid. The gas goes on to be burned in the flare. The liquid is returned to the processing plant with the Flare Knockout Drum Pump.

Flare Knockout Drum Pump Challenges

For many plants, this pump causes headaches. It operates on a level switch, stopping and starting. It is located in a remote area of the plant and receives limited attention. The process liquid can be a mixture of just about anything from the plant–sometimes corrosive and generally filled with flashing light hydrocarbons. It is a tough service.

Vespel® CR-6100 works very well in Flare Knockout Drum service

A few years ago, a long-term case study was published showing the reliability improvements at a refinery which had upgraded dozens of bad actor pumps to Vespel® CR-6100. Two of the pumps upgraded were flare knockout drum pumps. In this case, the pumps were 4-stage, centrifugal, vertical-canned pumps, shown in photo 1. Before the conversion to Vespel® CR-6100, these pumps would rarely run for 2 years without a failure—seal failures and pump seizure were the two common failure modes.In late 2004 and early 2005, both pumps were converted to Vespel® CR-6100. From the date of upgrade, both pumps ran without failure through the end of 2009. The combined MTBR for the service went from 15 months in the prior 5 years to 122 months after conversion to Vespel® CR-6100. In more practical terms, in the 5 years before Vespel® CR-6100 was installed, there were 8 repairs to these pumps; in the 5 years after Vespel® CR-6100 was installed, there were 0 repairs to these pumps.The pumps in this service went from being a chronic headache to a silent and reliable part of the flare system. Contact Boulden today to upgrade your pump components to Boulden B-Series composite material or Metcar carbon graphite materials.