Oil and Gas: A story of service, solutions and specialty lubricants

There was a problem with the packing. -- Kuba Bednarz (Market Manager: Process Industry, Oil & Gas) had a bunch of broken packings, a couple theories and a problem to solve for the customer. He immediately put the pieces in the mail for Klüber Lubrication’s research and development team to take a look and see if a different lubricant could help. Cindy Liu, Ph.D, Research & Development Chemist, and Brien Beamer EIT, Tribologist, received the broken parts and got to work.

The primary theory was that pressure inside the system was causing the pressure rings to fail. But Beamer and Liu wanted to make sure it wasn’t a wear and compatibility issue with the lubricant and the lubricant seal. The lubricant seal ensures the lubricant makes it to the pressure seal.

“If the back lubricant seal fails,” Beamer explained, “the pressure seal doesn’t get any lubricant, and everything eventually fails.”

When they didn’t have enough data to prove that theory, they asked for more broken parts.  So, Bednarz sent them more. When Liu and Beamer realized they needed to recreate the environment in the field, they didn’t relent. They were committed to finding the right answer for the customer.

That’s when they created their own testing equipment. Beamer modified and customized SRV testing equipment with steel, seals and fixtures that used the actual packing material and a metal representative of the customer’s plunger material.

As Liu and Beamer were working the lab, Bednarz was their teammate in the field, gathering and sending application information to them.

He tracked temperature benchmarks. He tracked the volume of packing the customer was replacing over time. He worked with the customer to adjust maintenance practices.

“We were not only able to work on a lubricant solution,” Bednarz said, “but we helped standardize maintenance practices to regulate lubricant volume throughout the system.”

The end result:  Klüber Lubrication developed a specialty lubricant that was compatible with the lubricant seal. Not only that, but it was more environmentally friendly and better for the application. It saved the customer time and money in parts, lubrication and maintenance.

They also met with the customer to present findings of their research and analysis.

“We were able share and show where we think the failure is beginning in the whole process,” Beamer said.

Having problems at your frac site? Contact Kuba Bednarz (Jakub.Bednarz@us.kluber.com) today to analyze the life of your consumables – your packaging and plungers – while considering the whole picture, from the distribution systems (centralized pumping system) to maintenance practices and the lubricants being used.

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