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I am at a coal fired power plant and we have theses huge circulating water pumps that run at about 500RPM's. Recently water got through the packing and was being introduce into the outboard bearing housing. This caused us to wipe a bearing and we needed to make the proper repairs. Is there anyway we could of avoided this problem.

-Is there any automated way that water can be sensed and a vlave will open and dump the water (would this be recommended)?
-Should a external slinger be used to redirect water that is riding up the shaft?
-Have you had similar problems and how was it resolved?
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Hello FonZ
A CC Jensen offline filter separator can be used as a water sensor alerting you to the presence of water and at the same time it would be removing it. Monitoring the frequency of discharges can also give you an accurate means of determining if the problem is getting better or worse. Check out the CJC case studies and see how you can one system providing fine filtration, water sparation and varnish removal all at the same.
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I’m assuming when you say water pumps you are not referring to boiler feed pumps (BFP). Instead it is a pump for the plant’s recirculating water system, river water - etc. Are these pump(s) steam driven or electrically driven?

How are the bearings lubricated?
What kind of packing are you using, mechanical seals etc.?

Steam driven pumps will use turbine oil (ISO32) to lubricate the bearings. Gland seal leaks will introduce pure steam condensate into the lube oil, which can be easily coalesced out of the oil. Many different systems are commercially available that range in flow rates from 1gpm on up. Even when there is no water present in the lube oil systems like the coalescing type are best left running 24/7 in a “kidney-loop” fashion on the lube oil reservoir.

With your application I’m guessing the water that leaked into the outer bearing housing was the process water that was being pumped. If so this water can be rich in organic organisms and coalescing technology has a difficulty working efficiently under these conditions.

-Is there any automated way that water can be sensed and a valve will open and dump the water (would this be recommended)?

I doubt that this would be a good solution unless redundancies were built into the system to protect against draining the lube oil from the bearing casing.

Should a external slinger be used to redirect water that is riding up the shaft?

Only as a stop-gap measure until the real problem can be properly fixed during the next outage. Even then, not knowing the details of the installation, I doubt that this procedure would be truly effective.

PS: Do you still have the leather jacket?
We have taken a more serious look at our sampling and have installed quick response water oil detectors that are able to detect a water leak immediately. You can buy these from a company called EESIFLO.
I agree with Crag about redundancies but I also know that in alot of cases people don't even know that they have free water in the system and would be surprised what they find if they install an online system
Would add that in some cases you have a very short amount of time. I have worked on gas turbines that broke down because of water contamination. The new core costs 4 million pounds to replace. You have about 15 to 30 minutes and you will already have caused serious damage. Apart from good online water sensors for oil, check you have a decent vibration analysis system. Many times you can see the whole system vibrating when water immediately creeps in. I still know a company that troubleshoots with their own analysis equipment and people . They are costly but very good . Email me if you want their details.
The water detector is a good idea but you should also take measures to interupt the path of water into your bearing. There are flinger rings/discs available that bolt around the shaft and provide a high point where the water will be shed off the shaft. I have even used o-rings as a low tec solution. This is pretty inexpensive insurance.
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