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Lets Get Practical

Ross Mackay, Contributing Editor

Revisiting ANSI vs. API

Which is the better pump?

he subject came up in Baltimore, at this years Texas A&M Pump Symposium. I was speaking with some regular readers of this column, when one of them mentioned the additional article I had contributed to the March issue of this magazine on the differences between ANSI and the API process pumps (ANSI vs. API?, pgs. 3641, Pumps & Systems, March 2004.) After a few complimentary remarks, he went on to suggest that I seemed to have sat on the fence between the two pump styles, and he wasnt sure which one I preferred. My first reaction was that it had been a long time since anyone had accused me of not expressing myself clearlyI wasnt sure how to respond. I then realized that it wasnt up to me to determine which type of pump was better than the other. The reality is that both ANSI and API designs contribute to industry in their own way. Each has its place, and they need rarely to encroach on each others applications. But, how do we define these applications?

Gasoline Loading Dock Example

An example that was raised during the conversation in Baltimore concerned a gasoline loading dock. There, pumps are required to move the gasoline into tankers for distribution to gas stations. The pumps that feed the loading arm are required to handle a fairly low pressure and capacity; both of which are well within the capability of an ANSI pump. Consequently, many ANSI type pumps have been used in that service over the years, in spite of the problems that were created. A typical loading platform pump moves the gasoline from a storage tank, through a loading station that looks a lot like the pumps in an automobile service station. But, instead of a flexible hose leading from the pump that goes into a cars gas tank filling cap, there is a much taller, moveable arm that can be swung over the top of a gasoline tanker trailer when it drives up to the loading dock. At that point, the loading arm is positioned above the gas cap on top of the tanker and the pump is switched on.
MAY 2004

As the tanker comes close to the maximum fill, a slow-closing valve is automatically actuated and the pump is gently brought to a shutoff operating condition prior to being switched off when the tank is full. This allows the pump to handle the operation in a smooth manner without any problem, and the pumping conditions stay well within the capability of the ANSI type pump. However, as the drivers of these tankers are under time constraints, they frequently give in to the temptation to over-ride the slow-closing valve and activate a manual valve that can be slammed shut. This fast closing of the valve will cause water hammer as a result of severe hydraulic shock loading in the system. These shocks will exceed the pressure capability of the ANSI pumps and cause a fracture of the pump casing, with the potential for explosion of the gasoline and subsequent fire damage. Before this danger was realized, many of these pumps were supplied as ANSI pumps and, even worse, in low-pressure cast iron cases. But, now that industry is aware of the shock loading problem, these pump applications are usually handled by the higher-pressure capability of API pumpsand with steel casings. Lets Get Practical. When were selecting a pump for a particular service, it is important to be aware of all the ramifications of that service before deciding on which pump to use. Frequently, the basic operating data is insufficient for an educated selection. Knowledge of any upset conditions (such as in the previous example) must be made available to the supplier in order that they can be considered. For example, lets consider the liquid itself. Is it corrosive? Is it abrasive? Are there solid particles and, if so, what size and percentage are they? Is it a viscous liquid and if so, what is the viscosity? Does it tend to crystallize or otherwise solidify? What is the vapor pressure? Is it temperature sensitive?



If the liquid to be pumped is cold, clean potable water, most people are sufficiently aware of the character of that liquid to understand that none of the above factors will play a significant part in the pump selection process. On the other hand, even water comes in different forms, (from condensate to brine), that could require a wide variety of corrosion resistant materials. Sea water, for example, can vary in corrosiveness from one part of the ocean to another. In addition, the abrasiveness of the water in a particular mine may dictate the use of a rubber lining in whatever mine dewatering pump is purchased, while other mines have less expensive cast iron pumps performing what, at first glance, appears to be the same service. It is also worthwhile to remember that because numerous new chemicals are now being introduced to many industrial processes, a detailed knowledge of the liquid should never be assumed. Consequently, the following items should be considered the minimum data required for the selection of an appropriate centrifugal process pump to suit the service for which it is intended.

Will the flow be restricted at any time? Is it on an open or closed loop or a transfer system?

If it is a replacement pump, other questions should include:

What pump model was previously used? At what speed was it running? What materials of construction were used? What type of mechanical seal was used? What types of auxiliary systems were used? What kind of operational/maintenance record was experienced?

Once this type of information has been established, the selection of the pump can proceed with the type of unit required and then the best hydraulic fit for the system.

Supplier Data Sheets

Many industries provide their suppliers with standardized data sheets that have evolved over the years. While well-designed supplier data sheets will provide much of the information reviewed here, they generally dont supply any system information or previous operational experience, both of which are vital for an optimum pump selection. (Editors Note: These types of supplier data sheets should not be confused with overhaul sheets, which Julien Le Bleu of Lyondell Chemical Company has written about in an article beginning on page 25.) So, Lets Stay Focusedand Practical. Pump selection is not a beauty contestANSI and API are not brands to be preferred. Instead, its up to the system designer and equipment supplier to cooperate as much as possible to ensure that the best possible and most reliable pump selection ensues. P&S
Ross Mackay specializes in helping companies increase their pump reliability and reduce operating and maintenance costs through consulting and education. He can be reached at 1-800-465-6260, or through his newly updated and revised web site at www.rossmackay.com

The liquid to be pumped Flow rate required Total Dynamic Head Net Positive Suction Head available Operating temperature Specific Gravity Nature of the liquid (See listing above.) Operational experience

Operational Experience
The last item on the above list, operational experience, is the kind of information that is rarely found recorded anywhere. It usually needs to be uncovered by exploring the following topics:

Is the pump on a nonstop duty? What is the start/stop frequency? Will it be used on one operation only? Will it pump a variety of liquids? What kind of controls are on the discharge? Is there an over-ride mechanism on these controls?






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