The Profit is in the Pump
By Mark Benedict
Anhydrous Ammonia, at best, is an effective fertilizer. At worst it is caustic, dangerous, and requires special precautions, for man and equipment. In the course of a year, many anhydrous plant operators drain their facilities to perform repairs, updates or safety compliance. This occasionally means that the systems are drained and empty, which seems safe. However, the absence of chemical can also produce degenerative effects, e.g. pump seals will dry, crack, and leak.
A leading cause of pump failure often occurs as the system is being recharged, especially after extended periods without chemicals. This happens, primarily, due to a failure to reintroduce vapor to the pump, which prevents the seals from being lubricated prior to contact with liquid. The liquid creates a cold shock effect and damages the seals. The only remedy is to replace the seals.
The solution, or process for prevention, is to introduce vapor into an empty system prior to the liquid. This can easily be done by connecting a nurse tank vapor valve to the liquid side of the riser stand.
Another, very important, yearly maintenance issue is caused by dirty strainers in the liquid lines. Strainers are the only line of defense against rocks, nuts, bolts and a variety of other foreign objects, which can and will destroy your pumps. To protect your operation,
and your valuable pumps, is actually a simple process. After your system is drained, and safely secured, remove the flange on the lower section of the casting which will give you access to any debris that may have entered your system. You can then, easily inspect the screen for microscopic fragments and signs of damage.
We offer pump rebuild services for both Corkin and Blackmer pumps. If you have questions, or would like help with the maintenance or repair of your system, we are ready to assist.