• Bearing damage detected on a VRU compressor on an off-shore oil platform

What did GE's analytics software find?

In February, the GE SmartSignal solution detected erratic lube oil and seal oil filter pressures on a vapor recovery unit (VRU) compressor when it started up after a several month outage. Also, at the same time, all radial and thrust bearing temperatures slowly began to increase. Following a short shutdown, oil pressures returned to the model estimate; however, the bearing temperatures continued to increase to values as high as 194°F (90°C). GE’s Industrial Performance & Reliability Center (IPRC) alerted the customer to these issues.


What was the underlying issue?

Upon investigation, the platform discovered that the oil cooler was assembled incorrectly, causing contamination of the oil stream with water and salts. The cooler was reinstalled, filters were changed, and the oil was dumped and replaced. However, the contamination had already caused noticeable damage to the compressor bearings.


What was the value to the customer?

Due to the early notification, along with the daily monitoring and regular updates from the IPRC, the customer was able to respond accordingly to the oil contamination with increased monitoring and preparation for an upcoming overhaul, thereby eliminating unexpected downtime and more extensive repair costs.


On February 10th, oil filter pressures began behaving erratically due to contamination. On February 17th, bearing temperatures began exceeding their residual thresholds and continued trending upward.

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