API Process Pump Review

Pump Application and Operation

What is an API process pump?

This pump type is designed to meet the American Petroleum Institute (API) 610 standard for pumps handling hydrocarbons. They are manufactured in a variety of forms and can use multiple pumping mechanisms.

Although the API 610 standard is limited to centrifugal pumps, API process pumps come in many different configurations, including end suction pumps, horizontal split case pumps, multistage pumps, vertical inline pumps, and vertical turbine pumps. They meet specific requirements for certified use in the petroleum industry to handle oil, gasoline, and other hydrocarbons. Other industries sometimes use API pumps because of their stringent standards.

API Process Pump

How do they work?

The pumps are built to handle hydrocarbons at extremely high pressures and temperatures; hydrocarbons can burn or explode if they leak outside of the pump casing. Pump failure also translates to lost production for the owner. During the design and manufacturing process, the integrity of the pump casing remains a number one priority. Keeping in line with API standards, the pumps are designed very conservatively in terms of casing thickness, flange design, weldments, allowable shaft deflection, bearing design, and other pump features.

Certain pump types are not allowed by the API 610 standard, including close coupled centrifugal pumps, because they are not conservatively enough designed or cannot withstand the high temperatures and pressures that API pumps are built for.

Because of their robust design, API process pumps rarely require servicing and often include explosion-proof motors. They always feature closed impellers as well; the wear rings on these impellers are required to be pinned or welded to the impellers to ensure they don’t slip off due to differential thermal expansion. Designed to be supported at the pump centerline rather than by feet below the casing, these pumps will expand uniformly about the centerline when subjected to high temperatures.

Where are they used?

API pumps are commonly used in refineries, though they are also often specified for oil production, pipelines, and other hydrocarbon processing facilities. Other industries, such as the power industry, may find the conservative and robust design of an API pump useful in certain applications.

Related: industrial pumps, chemical pumps, petrochemical pumps, explosion proof pumps.

Contributed by PumpScout staff

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