Title:
Vertical Pump Arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In one aspect, a pump having a pump module and a motor module includes a support member that substantially supports a weight of the motor module and uncouples the pump module from the weight of the motor module.



Inventors:
Anwer, Sohaib (San Antonio, TX, US)
Mathieu, Francis J. (New Braunfels, TX, US)
Smeal, Glen W. (San Marcos, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/679682
Publication Date:
08/28/2008
Filing Date:
02/27/2007
Assignee:
BAKER SPD (San Antonio, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/700
International Classes:
F01B23/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ZOLLINGER, NATHAN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PAUL S MADAN (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
1. An apparatus for flowing a fluid, comprising: (a) a pump module; (b) a motor module serially coupled to the pump module and positioned substantially vertically above the pump module; and (c) a support member substantially supporting a weight of the motor module, the pump module being substantially uncoupled from the weight of the motor module.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support member transfers a substantial portion of the weight of the motor module to a location below the pump module.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a pedestal, wherein the support member applies a substantial portion of the weight of the motor module to a first section on the pedestal and a weight of the pump module is applied to a second section on the pedestal that is different from the first section.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support member comprises a frame having a first section substantially loaded by a weight of the motor module and a second section positioned parallel and spaced apart from the pump module, the first section and second section being substantially not loaded by a weight of the pump module.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising: a drive train transferring rotational power from the motor module to the pump module; a first bearing assembly associated with the motor module and a second bearing assembly associated with the drive train.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the pump module includes a pump casing and the motor module includes a motor casing axially spaced apart from the pump casing.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support member is formed such that the motor module can be moved without moving the pump module.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the support member is formed such that the pump module can be moved without moving the motor module.

9. A method for servicing a pump, wherein the pump includes a pump module and a motor module positioned substantially above the pump module, comprising: (a) supporting a weight of the motor module using a support member; (b) disconnecting the motor module from the pump module without moving the motor module; and (c) servicing a selected component associated with the pump.

10. The method of claim 9 wherein the selected component is a wear component; and further comprising replacing the wear component without moving one of the motor module and the pump module.

11. The method of claim 10 wherein the wear component is one of: (i) a seal, (ii) an impeller; (iii) a stuffing box cover, (iv) a wear pad, (v) a casing, (vi) a gasket, (vii) a shaft sleeve, and (viii) a shaft.

12. The method of claim 9 further comprising servicing the motor module without moving the pump module.

13. The method of claim 9 further comprising servicing the pump module without moving the motor module.

14. The method of claim 9 further comprising aligning the motor module with the pump module by adjusting the support member.

15. The method of claim 9 further comprising: positioning the support member parallel to the pump module.

16. An apparatus for servicing of a vertical pump having a pump section positioned vertically below a motor section and a drive train transmitting rotational power from the motor section to the pump section, the apparatus comprising: a weight transfer member connected to the motor section, the weight transfer member extending in substantially downward direction parallel to the pump section to a selected location adjacent a lower portion of the pump module, the load transfer member transferring a majority of the weight of the motor section from above the pump module section to the selected location without substantially exposing the pump module to the weight of the motor module.

17. The apparatus of claim 16 further comprising a base connected to the load transfer member, the base being at the selected location.

18. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the base is symmetrically loaded by a weight of the motor module and the pump module.

19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the weight transfer member supports the weight of the motor module but not the weight of the pump module and the base supports the weight of the motor module and the weight of the pump module.

20. The apparatus of claim 19 wherein the load transfer member is removable from the base.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure relates to devices for configuring vertical pumps and methods for servicing vertical pumps.

2. Description of the Related Art

Vertically aligned pumps are used in many applications because of their relatively small “footprint,” i.e., the amount of floor space or area they need for installation and operation. A typical vertical centrifugal pump includes a centrifugal pump, an electric motor module superposed on the pump module, and an intermediate drive train that transmits rotary power from the motor module to the pump module. The small footprint is mostly attributed to the motor module being positioned vertically over the pump module.

In a conventional vertical pump arrangement, the weight of the motor module is typically supported directly or indirectly by a mechanical connection to the pump module. Such an arrangement can have certain disadvantages. For instance, servicing the drive train or pump module may first require removal of the motor module. In one conventional servicing operation, the motor module is disconnected from the pump module and moved to a separate storage area. Thereafter, one or more components of the drive train or pump module are repaired or replaced, e.g., seals, gaskets, impellers, etc. After servicing is completed, the motor module has to be moved back and reinstalled onto the pump module. Also, reinstallation of the motor module often requires the step of properly aligning the rotational axis of the rotating elements of the pump module and the motor module. As can be appreciated, servicing a vertical centrifugal pump module can be time consuming and expensive. Moreover, in some applications, vertical centrifugal pumps are employed in very harsh operating conditions. Such conditions, which can include high operating speeds, high pressures or contact with abrasive materials, can cause the components of a vertical pump to have relatively short operating lives. Thus, the time consuming and expensive service operation described above must be repeated frequently through the service life of the vertical pump. In some cases, the accumulated cost of these frequent servicing operations can be five to ten times the cost of the pump itself.

One conventional arrangement for reducing the difficulty for servicing a vertical centrifugal pump is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,286,612 (the '612 patent). The '612 patent teaches a vertical centrifugal pump that includes a frame separating a motor module casing and a pump casing to provide access to the bearing assembly. However, the frame is connected at one end to the motor module casing and connected at the other end to the pump casing. With this frame arrangement, most, if not all, of the weight of motor module section is applied to the pump section. Thus, access to the pump section will still require a separate operation for removing and separately supporting the motor module section.

The present disclosure is directed to the ever-present need for more easily serviceable vertical centrifugal pumps.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

In aspects, the present disclosure provides a pump having a vertically and serially aligned pump module and motor module. In one arrangement, the motor module is positioned substantially vertically above the pump module and serially coupled thereto with a drive train. The pump includes a support member that substantially supports a weight of the motor module. The support member uncouples the pump module from the weight of the motor module by transferring a substantial portion of the weight of the motor module to a location below or adjacent to the pump module. In aspects, the present disclosure also includes methods for servicing vertical pumps. One exemplary method includes supporting a weight of the motor module using a support member, disconnecting the motor module from the pump module without moving the motor module; and servicing a selected component associated with the pump. The selected component can be the motor module, the pump module, the drive train, or any elements used within these devices. Such elements include wear components such as seals, impellers, stuffing box covers, wear pads, casings, gaskets, shaft sleeves, shafts, etc.

It should be understood that examples of the more important features of the disclosure have been summarized rather broadly in order that detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the contributions to the art may be appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the disclosure that will be described hereinafter and which will form the subject of the claims appended hereto.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For detailed understanding of the present disclosure, references should be made to the following detailed description of the described embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like elements have been given like numerals and wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates an isometric view of one embodiment of a pump in accordance with the present disclosure;

FIG. 2A illustrates an isometric view of one embodiment of a pump in accordance with the present disclosure with the pump module removed;

FIG. 2B illustrates an isometric view of one embodiment of a pump in accordance with the present disclosure with the motor module removed; and

FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a pump module made in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present disclosure relates to devices and methods for servicing vertical pumps. The present disclosure is susceptible to embodiments of different forms. There are shown in the drawings, and herein will be described in detail, specific embodiments of the present disclosure with the understanding that the present disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the disclosure, and is not intended to limit the disclosure to that illustrated and described herein.

Referring initially to FIG. 1, there is shown one embodiment of a pump 10 made in accordance with the present disclosure. The pump 10 may include a motor module 20, a drive train 30, and a pump module 40. The elements of the motor module 20, the drive train 30, and the pump module 40 that transmit the rotary power are serially aligned along a common rotational axis A. During operation, the motor module 20 generates rotary power that is transferred to pump module 40 via the drive train 30. The drive train 30 selectively couples the rotating elements of the motor module 20 to the rotating elements of the pump module 40 using known devices such as spider couplings. In a conventional manner, the pump module 40 receives fluid from an inlet 60 and expels fluid from an outlet 62. As used herein, the term “vertical pump” may be used to refer to a pump wherein the motor module 20 is positioned substantially vertically over the pump module 40 and wherein their rotating components share a common axis of rotation.

While it is not necessarily the case, the motor module 20 may be an electrically driven motor and the pump module 40 may be a centrifugal-type pump. Hydraulically actuated pumps, for example, may also be utilized in certain applications. The pump 10 can be used to flow nearly any type of fluid, mixture or slurries, gases, and multiple phase liquids, i.e. liquids having entrained gas and liquids having both entrained gas and solids.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 3, there is shown a support member 100 that supports the weight of the motor module 20 without transferring any of that weight onto the pump module 40. In one arrangement, the support member 100 transfers most or all of the weight of the motor module 20 to an underlying support structure or pedestal 50. Thus, the support member 100 functions to isolate or uncouple the pump module 40 from the majority of the weight of the motor module 20. In one embodiment, the pedestal 50 is generally symmetric with the support member 100. For instance, the pedestal 50 and the support member 100 are arranged such the loadings imposed by the motor module 20 and the pump module 40 are generally distributed to reduce the occurrence of moment arms or other destabilizing forces. This symmetry increases the likelihood that the pump 10 is stable and will not require additional restraining devices to remain upright.

In one embodiment, the support member 100 is formed as a relatively rigid frame that includes a first base plate 102 that supports the motor module 20 and a second base plate 104 that seats on the pedestal 50. One or more stands or legs 106 connect the first base plate 102 to the second base plate 104. The second base plate 104 has an opening 108 best seen in FIG. 2A that permits the pump module 40 to seat on the pedestal 50. The legs 106 and base plates 102 and 104 are spaced apart to allow personnel to access the drive train 30 and the pump module 40. Thus, the support member 100 provides a cavity or space having suitable dimensions to receive, house, and service the drive train 30 and the pump module 40. In this embodiment, the support member 100 supports the weight of the motor module 20 and the pedestal 50 supports the combined weight of the motor module 20 and the pump module 40. In a variant not shown, the support member 100 supports the weight of the motor module 20 and the pedestal 50 supports the weight of the pump module 40. In either case, it should be appreciated that the support member 100 enables the pedestal 50 to be separately loaded with the weight of the pump module 40 and the motor module 20 because the support member 100 is not connected to the pump module 40 via a load transferring connection.

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown the seating arrangement for the pump module 40. The pump module 40 includes a flange 48, which may be a separate element, that seats on a surface section 52 of the pedestal 50. However, the base plate 104 seats on a separate section 54 of the pedestal 50. Thus, the motor module 20 and pump module 40 apply their respective weight to the pedestal 50 in a parallel fashion. Because the pump module 40 is not used to transfer the weight of the motor module 20 to the pedestal 50, the pump module 40 may be considered as substantially isolated or uncoupled from the weight of the motor module 20. Thus, advantageously, the pump module 40 can be manipulated, e.g., moved, serviced, tested, etc., while the motor module 20 remains in place.

It will be appreciated that the support member 100 is susceptible to numerous variations. For example, while four legs 106 are shown, greater or fewer legs 106 can be used. Moreover, in some embodiments, one or both of the base plates 102 and 104 can be omitted. For instance, one or more legs can directly connect the motor module 20 to the pedestal 50. Moreover, in the shown embodiment, the support member 100 transfers the weight of the motor module 20 to the pedestal 50. In other embodiments, the support member 100 can transfer the weight of the motor module 20 to a different or additional location. For instance, one or more of the legs 106 could extend to a floor 66. Additionally, while the constituent members of the support member 100 can be fixed using techniques such as welding. The support member 100 can also be configured to be selectively disassembled. For instance, the upper base plate 102 and the legs 106 can be formed as one unit that disconnects from the lower base plate 104. Such a unit can remain with the motor module 20 after the motor module 20 is removed from the rest of the pump 10 and function as a temporary support or stand. Furthermore, while the support member 100 can be constructed as an as-installed component of the pump 10, in some embodiments, the support member 100 can be constructed to be connected to the pump 10 prior to performing service and removed after service is completed.

In embodiments, the support member 100 is configured to support both the weight of the motor module 20 and the torsional loading imposed by the motor module 20 during operation. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the motor module 20 is configured to operate at two or more speeds. Each such speed can induce a resonant vibration. Thus, the support member 100 can be configured to have resonant frequency different from each such speed induced resonance vibration. The interfaces between the support member 100 and the motor module 20 can utilize flanges, quick disconnect couplings, fastening members and other devices that permit repeated connections and disconnections. Thus, the support member 100 is configured to permit the motor module 20 to be readily connected and disconnected from the pump 10.

As will be discussed in further detail below, because the pump module 40 does not support the motor module 20, numerous servicing operations can be performed on the pump 10 without moving the motor module 20. By servicing, it is meant the repair or replacement of any of the constituent components of the pump 10, any tasks needed to maintain the pump 10 in proper working order, e.g., lubrication, tightening bolts, aligning components, and performing diagnostics on the pump 10.

Referring now to FIG. 2A, there is shown a partially disassembled pump 10. In the state shown, the pump module 40 has been disconnected from the drive train 30. The lifting and handling devices for moving the pump module 40 are not shown. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the support member 100 provides a number of functional advantages. One advantage is that the support member 100 provides direct access to the drive train 30 and its associated coupling. Thus, the pump module 40 can be disconnected from the drive train 30 without disturbing the motor module 20. That is, for example, no flanges or fastening devices for the motor module 20 have to be disassembled and a crane or other lifting device is not required to move the motor module 20. Indeed, even the drive train 30 is mostly left in place. Another advantage is that a replacement pump module (not shown) can be immediately installed into the pump 10, which then enables the pump 10 to quickly reenter service. Yet another advantage is that because the motor module 20 and drive train 30 has not been moved, the amount of work needed to align the rotating elements of the drive train 30 and the reinstalled pump module 40 may be reduced.

Referring now to FIG. 2B, there is shown another partially disassembled pump 10. In the state shown, the motor module 40 has been disconnected from the drive train 30. As described previously, the support member 100 provides direct and immediate access to the drive train 30, which allows the motor module 20 to be disconnected from the drive train 30 without disturbing the pump module 40. Another advantage is that a replacement motor module (not shown) can be immediately installed into the pump 10, which then enables the pump 10 to quickly reenter service. In this regard, the motor module 20 may be modular in that the motor is not customized to a specific pump module 40. Rather, an appropriate “off the shelf” motor can be utilized.

In addition to facilitating service of the pump 10 and its constituent components, the support frame 100 also enables a configuration that is more robust that conventional vertical pumps. For example, because the support frame 100 allows personnel to access the components between the motor module 20 and the pump module 40, components for improving service life and operating efficiencies can be added to the pump 10.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 3, the motor module 20 includes a casing or housing 22. Within the housing 22, but not shown, are known components such as windings, bearings and a rotor. A shaft 24 (FIG. 2B) transfers the rotary power to the drive assembly 30. The pump module 40 includes a housing or casing 42, which contains known components such as the impeller 44 and associated drive shaft 46. The pump module 40 also includes a bearing section 70. In one embodiment, the bearing section 70 includes one or more bearing elements 72, 74 that support the drive shaft 46. For example, the bearing elements 72, 74 reduce the amount of radial or lateral vibration in the drive shaft 46. In addition to providing greater overall performance or efficiency, the bearing elements 72, 74 can reduce the degrading effects of impeller vibrations, which then reduces the wear and tear on the pump module 40. Thus, service life of the pump module 40 may also be improved. It should be understood that while two bearing elements 72 and 74 are shown, greater or fewer can also be utilized. Moreover, while radial vibrations have been discussed, axial vibrations or axial loadings may also be borne by suitable bearing elements in the bearing module 70.

Embodiments of the present disclosure can be advantageously employed in a variety of environments. One environment of particular note is an offshore platform used in connection with recovering hydrocarbons such as oil and gas from subterranean formations. As is known, personnel on offshore platforms utilize a number of fluids while drilling, completing, and servicing subsea wellbores. For example, the pumps used on offshore platforms can be used to pump drilling fluids, drill cutting slurries, potable water, seawater, chemicals and additives, etc. Indeed, the pumps can be used in a variety of devices from ballast control units, rig cooling systems, and washdown systems to emergency fire control systems. As is also known, deck space on offshore platforms can be very limited. Thus, there can be a pronounced emphasis on pumps that take up as little deck space as possible. Moreover, because rig rental costs can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars a day, there is also a pronounced emphasis on performing as many tasks concurrently as possible. The resources, however, which include personnel, tooling, lifting and handling devices such as cranes, and even storage space, are limited.

It should therefore be appreciated that embodiments of the present disclosure can present advantages in such an environment. For instance, the vertical pumps of the present disclosure have a relatively small footprint, which can free deck space for other uses. Also, because service of the pump does not necessarily require a full disassembly, many servicing operations can be performed with fewer lifting and handling devices and personnel. Additionally, because embodiments of the present disclosure permit the use of devices for enhancing operating life and performance, the time between servicing operations may be increased, which further reduces the time and burden on rig personnel.

The foregoing description is directed to particular embodiments of the present disclosure for the purpose of illustration and explanation. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that many modifications and changes to the embodiment set forth above are possible without departing from the scope of the disclosure. It is intended that the following claims be interpreted to embrace all such modifications and changes.