What did GE's analytics software find?
At the beginning of March, the GE SmartSignal solution detected an increase in the inboard and outboard bearing vibrations on a boiler feed water pump at an upstream oil and gas facility. Vibrations increased to as high as 90 µm, where previously vibration levels were approximately 30 to 40 µm. Due to the increase in vibrations, GE’s Industrial Performance and Reliability Center (IPRC) alerted the customer to the potential issue.
What was the underlying cause?
Upon investigation it was determined that the minimum recirculation valve control was not performing as expected. At lower flows the vibrations more than doubled indicating a possible problem with the internal recirculation valve not opening.
What was the value to the customer?
After being notified by the IPRC, the site was able to adjust operations to prevent running at lower flow rates and resolve the minimum recirculation valve controller issue. Continued operation with the elevated vibrations could have could have lead to damage to the bearings and seals causing high repair costs and downtime.
Screenshot depicting the increase in vibrations (blue line) versus expected values (green line). Increased bearing vibrations occurred at low flow rates along with small changes in the minimum flow recirculation valve position.