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Protecting its large hydrogen screw compressors while assuring refinery uptime, a large US Gulf Coast refiner is adding in-line lube oil viscometers from Cambridge Viscosity to all its units.

The sensors will be used to provide real-time continuous monitoring of the compressor bearing lubrication fluid throughout equipment operations.

An engineer at the facility said: ‘Despite using separators, the lubricant can become diluted by gas carry-over or contamination.

‘If left unchecked, this can cause problems, especially during subsequent start-ups,’ he added.

Cambridge Viscosity president Robert Kasameyer said: ‘When the compressor is running, the lubrication oil is hot and the entrained gas remains in gaseous phase.

‘When the compressor is down, the lubrication oil cools and some of this gas can become liquid, which causes the lube oil viscosity to drop.

‘Then, when the equipment is restarted but before it heats up, the equipment is operating with inadequate lubrication, which can be a disaster.

‘If it makes it through this stage, the light hydrocarbons will again become gaseous, separating out of the lube oil, and the lube oil will regain its proper viscosity.

‘But the damage will already be done,’ he said.

The refinery is centralising the viscosity sensor outputs with easy-to-access and use displays tied to the overall plant information system.

The refinery uses centralised monitoring stations, each of which receives instantaneous information.

One is currently tracking four viscometers while another connects with ten individual sensors on different gas compressors.

This saves lab and technician time, as well as potential damage to the equipment itself.

Cambridge Viscosity

Cambridge Viscosity is the global leader in fluid viscosity measurement, including oil and gas; petroleum and biofuels; coatings, paints, and inks; pharmaceuticals, and other substances. Where accurate viscosity measurement is mission critical in both process and laboratory environments, Cambridge Viscosity technologies are chosen time and time again.

Our leadership is based on a quarter-century of experience, the extraordinary range of our products — including both in-line and in-tank applications — and our innovative proprietary technology. Our customers include leading organisations in oil and gas exploration, refining, automotive, research, industrial materials, and other high-stakes fields.

Cambridge Viscosity has set the standard for extraordinarily precise, reliable, and virtually maintenance-free viscosity measurement systems. Our sensors and viscometer systems conform to ASTM, DIN, JIS and ISO standards, with a range of models designed to meet specific industry and application needs. At least one of them is right for you.

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