Case Study – Vapour View - Tribosonics
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HMD Kontro, a leading sealless pump manufacturer based in the UK, found their customers were experiencing reduced plant efficiency and expensive component replacement due to undetected aeration within the internal flow regime of sealless pump systems.

HMD Kontro had not been able to find a solution capable of detecting this type of aeration and had no real-time visibility of the issues occurring within their pump systems.

Tribosonics developed a bespoke aeration detection solution, Vapour View®, which provided HMD Kontro with the data needed for their customers to prevent costly component failure. A testament to the success of the project, VapourView® went on to win the Technical Innovation Product of the Year at the Pump Industry Awards 2017.

The issue:

Within sealless pump systems, unexpected vapour or gasses in a process or fluid can be detrimental to both the plant system integrity and the production process itself. HMD Kontro hadn’t found a solution which provided the end users of their pumps with visibility of such gasses.

  • Pumping process fluid such as hydrocarbons can generate bubbles (known as ‘flashing off’) which results in gas being trapped in the pump. Where bearings are lubricated by the process fluid, aeration was resulting in bearing surface contact, causing the potential for dry running.
  • Aeration within the pump systems remained undetected until issues became apparent.
  • The undetected aeration was causing premature failure of component parts such as the pump bearings, leading to costly, unplanned repair costs.

Our Objective

The aim was to develop a sensing solution that was able to provide real-time visibility of aeration inside a pump.

The data collected needed to be translated on to an insights-driven system providing plant operators the information needed to fine tune the Plants production process. Fine tuning the plants processes would subsequently allow for improvement of the overall plants efficiency.

What we did

  • The VapourView® aeration monitoring product was developed, consisting of an ultrasonic probe and instrument.
  • The solution was developed to allow for real-time condition monitoring, complete with flameproof electronics and a wide temperature operating range.
  • Variants of the VapourView® were developed to suit different environments, different pump sizes along with the option to be retrofitted to existing sealless magnetic drive pumps.
  • The VapourView® instrument was performance tested to ensure compliance with explosive atmosphere and electro-magnetic compatibility requirements (ATEX Zone 0/1 and UL Class 1 Div1 certification)

How we did it

  • Tribosonics worked closely with HMD Kontro to understand the nature of the problem.
  • Collaborative workshops allowed both teams to undergo a detailed investigation into the issues being faced and the possible solutions.
  • Tribosonics’ Research & Development team created an ultrasonic probe to sense changes within the process fluid.
  • An instrument solution was also designed to transmit 4-20mA signals to a distributed control system.
  • An LCD screen was incorporated into the solution to provide prompts and feedback to Field Service Engineers.
  • Tribosonics set up a manufacturing and assembly lines specifically for the production of VapourView®.

The Impact

  • Developed an award-winning, technology-led monitoring tool to transmit and visualise the presence of aeration, which provided real-time time condition monitoring information.
  • Visibility of the conditions inside the pump system now allows plant operators to avoid premature start-up, whilst ensuring the pump is brought on-line as quickly as possible. This new way of working significantly maximises plant productivity.
  • Plant operators now use the VapourView® within their day-to-day operations.
  • HMD Kontro now has a fully-functioning, award-winning solution which enables their customers to improve plant efficiency and reliability, prevent catastrophic failures, eliminate unexpected repair costs and provide complete sealless pump security.

VapourView®improves plant efficiency for HMD Kontro

Download the VapourView® case study in PDF format.

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Our Mission Global problem We use innovative and novel approaches to ultrasonic sensors to measure and monitor a wide range of engineering applications including film thickness, wear, contact pressure, load, corrosion, material quality etc.

Global Problem