Solving Leakage Accidents Caused by Long Distance Piping with Smoothflow Pumps

TACMINA CORPORATION
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Provided the pumping solution with Smoothflow to the plant designer who received orders to prevent the same problems from occurring at Chemical Manufacturer B.

Chemical Manufacturer B

Engineering Department.

Chemical manufacturer B was undertaking the construction of a new plant to boost the production of titanium oxide in order to match the rising demand.

Problem:

・Sulfuric acid transfer in long distance piping exceeding 200 meters.

The majority of the construction of the new plant was nearing completion and the start of next year’s operations was quickly approaching. Mr. A of the engineering department was designing the 98% sulfuric acid injection equipment to be used in the dissolution process of titanium ore.

“We inject sulfuric acid from stock yards to several places throughout the facility, but there was a distance of over 200 meters from the tank to the furthest point in our process. Since safety is always a main concern for us, we selected SUS316 materials for its high corrosion resistance characteristics. We calculated that even with the pressure loss caused by the long distance piping, if we installed an air chamber to dampen the pulsation of the high pressure hydraulic driven diaphragm pump we were using, we should be able to inject the chemical liquid without any problems.”

However, despite Mr. A’s calculations and best efforts, an unforeseen problem occurred.

・Is the equipment really safe? A sudden serious accident happened at another plant.

“Actually, right at the same time, there was a serious accident at another plant that was transporting sulfuric acid over a long distance in the same way we were considering. The pressure in the piping increased due to staff forgetting to replenish the air inside of the air chamber, and the diaphragm of the pump broke and the chemical leaked out,” Mr. A recalled.

Failure to regularly replenish the air inside of the air chamber not only causes pulsation to return, but also increases the risk of piping or pump damage due to abnormal pressure increases. Fortunately, there was no personal injuries, but it was an unforgivable accident for Company B who prides themselves on safety as much as anything, so it became a big problem internally. For this reason, it was inevitable that the equipment design of the new plant would be reviewed.

Problem Points:

・The air chamber needs its air to be refilled periodically.

・If the air inside of the air chamber runs out, there is a large risk of abnormal pressure and high concentration sulfuric acid leakage.

Solution:

・Proposal of a pump to reduce the rise of abnormal pressure and piping damage.

Mr. A undertook the responsibility of reviewing the piping design of the new facility. “First of all, we looked into increasing the piping diameter from DN15 to DN25 so that the pressure does not reach the critical range even if the function of the air chamber is lost. However, given that the distance was so long, changing out the piping alone would have cost us over 2,500 Euros, and the concern with piping damage due to vibration would still not be completely resolved. Fundamentally it did not seem like a reasonable solution.”

A concerned Mr. A decided to consult with Tacmina who had proposed a pump to him in the past before.

“When I received a proposal from them before in the past, I remembered how helpful the salesperson was in considering ways to optimize not only the pump, but also the whole system. I had run out of options and I thought that maybe they could at least give me some advice even if they couldn’t help me with the pump, so I decided to contact them.”

The Tacmina salesperson who heard to about the circumstances at Chemical Manufacturer B suggested to Mr. A that he try a Smoothflow Pump.

“Since the Smoothflow Pump does not have pulsation due to their internal working principle, piping vibration can be suppressed even without an air chamber. This means that the risk of piping damage and liquid leakage are greatly reduced. Since an air chamber was no longer necessary, our staff didn’t have to worry about refilling the air and maintenance became easier. Furthermore, since the pressure loss in the piping was so small, we were able to use the original DN15 piping and able to avoid any additional costs. Their proposed pump almost seemed too good to be true, so there was a bit of skepticism from upper management. However, Tacmina provided complete reports of their test data and calculations of the piping pressure loss that were a huge help to me in order to present the equipment and get it approved smoothly.”

・Completion of company-wide model example of a safe plant.

Mr. A decided to implement the pump immediately after receiving the proposal. Even though the new plant had less time to operate, the construction of the sulfuric acid injection equipment proceeded smoothly and they were able to successfully complete the project.

“Since the start of operations here at the new plant, the Smoothflow Pump is operating steadily and there has been absolutely no piping damage or liquid leaks at all. It is terrifying to think that if that accident hadn’t have happened at another plant, that same problem would have happened here. It made us change our thinking, and we realized that Tacmina’s Smoothflow Pumps are the most suitable pumps for us who consider safety first.”

Based on this experience, Chemical Manufacturer B is investigating dangerous long-distance piping configurations at other facilities as well, and are working to improve those situations as well.

Solution Points:

・Smoothflow Pumps can transfer liquids consistently without pulsation without the need of additional equipment like an air chamber.

・By preventing piping vibration and pressure increases, Smoothflow Pumps prevent leakage due to piping or pump damage.

・The piping diameter could be decreased and the piping costs were reduced.

APL Series Smoothflow Pump
APL Series Smoothflow Pump

Long Distance Piping

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