Arkansas Industrial Machinery (AIM), a distributor of high quality air, gas, and liquid handling equipment, has supported a leading manufacturer of pine plywood panels for several years. As one of the world’s largest suppliers of plywood to the construction industry, this manufacturer has worked with AIM to source pumps and other industrial equipment for a variety of applications in their production facility.
When Barry Morgan, Industrial Consultant with AIM, learned about the excessive repairs that had been performed on a vertical turbine pump operating in the manufacturer’s condensation bark pit, he made a recommendation that enabled the plywood producer to drastically reduce their maintenance expenses.
The plywood producer had spent $46,000 per year for repairs! Morgan discussed switching the vertical turbine pump, which was being pulled for repair every 6 to 7 months, to a BJM Fahrenheit® Pump that would be better suited for their high-temperature application.
In the de-barking process, bark from the timber is shredded into much smaller pieces and loaded into a condensation bark pit. Extremely hot water is added to this bark pit along with a caustic solution that works to soften the wood. The pump operating inside the 12-foot deep bark pit is responsible for dewatering the bark pit and pumping the softened pine pieces to a separate holding container.
The plywood manufacturer needed a pump that could:
Handle very high temperatures. The water added to the bark pit is 180 degrees, which at this temperature, had been causing impeller damage to the vertical turbine pump in the form of flash steam. Flash steam is released from hot condensate when its pressure is reduced. High temperature condensate contains an excess of energy which prevents it from remaining in liquid form at a lower pressure. The excess energy causes some of the liquid to turn into steam, which is an occurrence commonly referred to as “flashing off”. Flash steam from the high-temperature liquid had forced the in-house maintenance team to replace the pump impeller six times since the original pump’s installation
Resist corrosion. The pumped liquid was caustic and also played a part in damaging the internal components of the vertical turbine pump that had been operating in the bark pit. The combination of the acid that comes out of the pine tree and the solution that is added to soften the wood made the pumped material highly acidic. It would be critical for the manufacturer to switch to a pump that was engineered with corrosion-resistant properties to safeguard the pump internals and ensure longer mean-time-between-repair.
Shred the softened wood pieces. The wood pieces in the bark pit were quite large, some of them being approximately 6-inches in size. These large pieces of pine had inflicted damage to the vertical pump impellers as the wood passed through the pump. The manufacturer needed a pump that could shred the wood into smaller pieces.
Operate 24/7. The single pump that runs in this condensation bark pit operates continuously, so it was important to select a pump that could run reliability on a 24/7 basis.
Mr. Morgan had worked with six different lumber companies throughout his career and had experience selecting pumps for condensation bark pits. He made the recommendation to the plywood manufacturer to switch to a BJM Submersible Shredder Pump, Fahrenheit® Model SKX150CSS-F. This particular model was recommended for the following reasons:
Temperature. The SKX150CSS-F is a BJM Fahrenheit® pump, which is designed and constructed to pump corrosive and solids-laden liquids up to 200-degrees Fahrenheit. The BJM Fahrenheit® Series Submersible Pumps have been proven to operate reliably in applications where liquids are too hot for conventionally-built submersible pumps. Most submersible pumps cannot withstand pumping liquids at temperatures higher than 104-degrees Fahrenheit, as temperatures higher than 104-degrees typically cause standard submersible motors to fail. This SKX-F is engineered to handle the 180-degree bark pit liquid.
Corrosive fluids. The SKX150CSS-F is manufactured from corrosion-resistant stainless steel. All the internal components are made of 316 Stainless Steel, including all wear and wet parts, such as impeller, wear-plate, oil housing, pump-housing and inner pump top. The elastomers, such as o-rings, lip seals, and gaskets, are made of durable FKM.
Shredding capability. The SKX-F is specifically designed for industrial shredding applications and uses an engineered Tungsten Carbide Tip Fang™ impeller that cuts against a spiral-shaped diffuser plate to continuously rip apart solids with a 360-degree shredding action. With side discharge and non-clog single vane or double vane impellers for the passing of solids, the SKX-F could shred and pass the bark pit slurry at a maximum of 911 gallons per minute.
Proven reliability. Durably constructed, the SKX-F pump is rated for continuous duty and built to last. Having “Three Seal Motor Protection”, the motor is protected with an oil-lubricated double seal design whereby the double mechanical seals are comprised of a lower seal made of silicon carbide/silicon carbide and upper seal faces made of carbon/ceramic. An additional lip seal is installed above the impeller to help prevent particulate from entering the seal chamber. Utilizing winding protection and (NEMA) Class R motor insulation with a thermal cut out switch that will allow the stator to have a winding temperature of up to 300° degrees F (150°C), the SKX-F is superior to submersible pumps with Class A and B insulation.
Morgan’s recommendation was accepted by the plywood manufacturer and the BJM SKX-F Submersible Shredder Fahrenheit® Pump was installed in December of 2015. Since then, the BJM Submersible Pump has run smoothly with no repairs for a year, saving the plywood producer $11,000 in purchase and maintenance expenses versus the vertical turbine pump. The BJM solution has also freed up valuable maintenance and operations manhours with the reduced pump maintenance required. “BJM’s SKX-F pump has been working well for our customer and they are exploring additional BJM solutions as well” says Morgan.
When you want to optimize your processes and reduce your maintenance expenses, consider reviewing frequent failures and determine if you have the right pump for the application. When you have a reliable pump, it frees up your maintenance team and helps save precious maintenance dollars.