Adding Flexibility to Your Fluid System
A common challenge facing engineering, operations and maintenance groups that work with rotating equipment is dealing with heavy vibration. In most cases, the vibration can be attenuated through proper design of an equipment base and adequate support of piping and tubing. The majority of this effort, however, is to keep the equipment in balance and prevent early wear of internal seals, bushings and other critical components of the pump, compressor, turbine, etc.
Recently, a client came to us with a request to produce a tube bend for their pumping system to replace a line that had failed in service. We were able to produce the tubing they had asked for, but they returned a few days later with the same request. The client also brought in an “AN” style fitting that had fractured. At this point, it was clear that simply replacing the fitting and tubing would likely result in a similar failure. Our engineering team worked with the client to evaluate ways to reduce or eliminate the excessive vibration load on the pump end connection.
Several options were presented that included a variety of different hose configurations as well as the ability to add a coil into the tube route from his pump to the rest of the system. Ultimately, we provided a tube bend with a coil near the point of vibration, and it was immediately obvious that it provided more flexibility. This solution proved to provide the flexibility needed for the unit to remain in service with minimal downtime.
As we saw with this client, what is often missed during the design and installation of a piece of rotating equipment is proper account for vibration transfer to the tubing system. Properly supporting the tubing is a key factor in keeping vibration to a minimum; however, if the system is too rigid, it can transfer that load directly to the fittings and has the potential to introduce early fatigue failure.
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