The Mobil Altona refinery has more than 580 pumps onsite. Located in Victoria, it is one of the safest refineries in Australia. It was recently featured in a pump industry trade publication as a paragon of safety and efficiency. The main theme was pump reliability. We would like to tell you a bit about the refinery and what their current setup means to the gas and oil industry.
The Altona refinery’s pumps are maintained and monitored by four engineers. They spend their time monitoring, upgrading, troubleshooting, installing, procuring and optimising the pumps on their facility.
The engineers spend most of their time in proactive pursuits, troubleshooting pumps and looking for opportunities to improve the current setup. It is a team effort with various technicians, operators and process engineers. They are constantly in a process of upgrading their pumps, with a few being done each month and others waiting in the “pipeline.”
Because they are in an environment of changing export products and feedstocks, they are always searching for ways to improve both efficiency and flow rates. Their entire operation is based on ultimate flexibility to produce and embrace constant changes. This allows them to adapt to the changing feedstocks and product demand and optimise production.
Consequently, the entire refinery is constantly adapting and nobody ever feels as though they are “standing still.” This allows them to compete at the top of an ever-changing, demanding global business.
Choosing the Right Pump for the Right Purpose
The design of a new pumping system must fit the process. The engineers first identify the optimal pressure and flow rate. This ensures that the pumps are a hydraulic fit with the process. Then, the materials and design are taken into consideration.
When choosing a pump, the material has to be appropriate for the environmental and chemical profile of the operation. The process stream has to be considered when selecting seals to make sure the risk of potential emissions is acceptable.
When it is all put together, the reliability, safety and longevity of the pumping system is important. There are also stringent standards to be followed. Even though the facility is located in Australia, they use the standards of the American Institute of Petroleum. In addition, their internal standards are applied to system design.
At the Mobil Altona plant, it can take up to a year to buy a pump because of their documentation and review process. Every change that is made in the facility undergoes the utmost scrutiny to ensure safety and efficiency. The refinery must run efficiently, smoothly and safely at all times.
Consequently, whenever changes are made, they are reviewed by a number of different departments. This requires a lot of teamwork and communication between departments. Ultimately, the costs of a change vs the benefits it provides are weighed against each other to determine the feasibility of a change.
The amount of teamwork in this facility seems mind-boggling at first. The plant is large and complicated. There are numerous areas of responsibility, manned by electrical, piping, instrument, chemical and process engineers. All are essential to the operation and all work together as a team to institute any changes in the system. They all work together to ensure that their facility runs safely, smoothly and efficiently.
The Importance of Pump Reliability
In a facility such as Mobil Altona, as in most facilities, pump reliability has an effect on profits. Downtime can be a disaster and the efficiency level must be consistently high. The level of investment must be high enough to promote efficiency and reliability, but not so high as to reach a point of diminishing returns. It is important to balance maintenance and hardware expenditures.
What This Means to Your Business
At Pump Solutions Australasia, we import the world’s finest pumps. We simply don’t import a pump unless it has an international reputation for consistency and efficiency. Your operation is important and only the best pumps from around the world will keep it running efficiently and safely.
To learn more, call Pump Solutions Australasia today: 1300 793 418.