Commissioning & Troubleshooting always go hand in hand. When equipment starts up sometimes its flawless and others seem to be problematic. Prior to start up it is very important to inspect all system components for proper installation, orientation and placement. Ensuring auxiliary systems are preforming as intended, clearances are within spec & oil levels are correct so the equipment can start up without damage. When equipment doesn’t perform as intended, we start with the simplest of checks. We work our way through the equipment and process to pinpoint the root cause of the problem.
One of our clients had asked us to prep an ACHE for cleaning. This meant draining the cooler to remove all associated piping followed by the cooler heads. The cooler was only supposed to hold 1000L of glycol but we had drained about 1500L out of the cooler, we could hear the cooler drain down to almost nothing and then it would start flowing out again. Mean while another guy was around the corner pumping the drained glycol back into the system… API then questioned the isolation of the cooler and when double checking the isolation on the cooler all appeared to be correct. When we knew something wasn’t quite right, we decided to inspect the stops on the ¼ turn gearbox and the stops appeared to be in the correct position. This wasn’t convincing enough so we ensured our isolation was sufficient and then proceeded to remove the gearbox from the valve. Once the gearbox was removed from the valve we found the butterfly was 90 degrees out from the correct position. When the gearbox was in the closed position the valve was actually open and when the gearbox was in the open position, it was actually closed. This was the leading cause of the ACHE not functioning properly. Once corrected and the cooler put on line it was proven to cool as designed. This effective troubleshooting saved cost associated with piping removal and a cooler cleaning.