Effective Noise and Vibration Solution for a PD Pump System
Pulsations can be a source of vibrations, noise, and other dynamic problems in positive displacement pumps. A triplex pump installation at a major oil companys facility had severe suction piping vibrations that were causing deterioration of insulation, pipe restraint damage, shortened pump valve life, and high noise levels (could be heard from the road when running). In the original installed configuration, a gas-liquid dampener near the pump was used as a means to control pulsation-related problems. Frequent bladder failures caused expensive operation problems and led the company to remove the gas-liquid dampeners. The operating company asked Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to help develop reliable and effective modifications to mitigate the vibration-related problems. Field pulsation and vibration measurements were used to characterize and identify pulsations as the source of the problems, including valve wear. An acoustic model of the system was correlated to field measurements and used to explore potential modifications for pulsation control. During reviews of model results and interactions with the operating company, it was determined that the best, low-maintenance solution would involve installation of a liquid-filled acoustic filter. After installation, it was reported that the reduction in noise and vibration was so effective that the operators have to walk up and touch the motor to determine if the pump and motor are running. The paper includes field measurements and diagnostics; pulsation analysis and acoustic filter design; and follow up field measurements.