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CODES AND STANDARDS • OPERATION & MAINTENANCE


• PROCESS EQUIPMENTS

Pumps vibrations
limits as per
international
standards
3 Min Read

All rotating machines, pumps included, vibrate to


some extent due to various reasons, the most
common of which are typically the following:

Improper installation at site

Improper balancing of pump rotor

Excessively turbulent 㷢uid 㷢ow

Pressure 㷢uctuations

Cavitation or internal recirculation in pumps

Normal pump wear after prolonged operation.

Therefore, process and design engineers should


not be so much interested as to whether or not a
pump vibrates but concerned and instead ask
themselves the following questions:

Is the amplitude and frequency of the pump


vibration suᓢ亂cient to cause damage to any of
the pump components.

Is the pump vibration a symptom of some


other more worrying phenomena occurring
within the pump, like for example - pump
cavitation?
Pump vibration monitoring
instruments
Gas Blowdown Multi Phase Flow Meter...
Large sized centrifugal pumps are generally
recommended to be equipped with typically two
(2) vibration measurement instruments per
bearing, one at the x-axis and the second at the y-
axis. These instruments are typically programmed
with two threshold values: an alarm point and a
trip point. When the alarm point is reached,
operator is noti혒㨪ed at the control room in order
to take measures to verify and limit the vibration
level. In case the trip point is reached, the pump is
tripped in order to avoid any further sustained
damage which could be catastrophic to the pump
and operating personnel.

Vibration monitoring instruments for pumps are


generally characterised as velocimetric type.
Velocimetric type instruments have a measuring
range typically in inches/sec or mm/sec.
Accelerometric (in inches/sec2 or mm/sec2) or
distance-type (typically in microns) vibration
readings are usually taken at bearings and shafts
of more high-tech equipments like turbines.

Damage due to excessive


pump vibration
There are basically three (3) international
standards setting limits on pump vibrations. Goal
of these standards is to help pump users avoid
excessive levels of vibration and catastrophic
failures caused by pump vibrations, which could
include severe damages to pump bearings, shaft
distortion etc.

In general, bearing lifetime (L10) decreases


rapidly with even small increments of vibration
value. Taking an example mentioned in ANSI/HI
9.6.4 standard, assuming that a vibration intensity
of 0.1 inches/sec corresponds to 100% of nominal
bearing lifetime, simply increasing the vibration
level to 0.2 inches/ sec could reduce bearing
lifetime to 60-70% of nominal bearing lifetime.

Standards for pump vibration


limits
- Hydraulic Institute (HI), namely with ANSI/HI
9.6.4 standard
- American Petroleum Institute (API), namely with
API 610 standard
- International Standards Organisation (ISO),
namely with ISO 10816 standard

Figure - 1 Typical pumps vibration levels in


accordance with ANSI/HI and API standards

Figure - 2 Typical pumps vibration levels in


accordance with ISO 10816 standards (Category A
is typically required for newly-manufactured
pumps
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