Guide to Process Plant Machinery--Intro and Guide Index

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From the Author:

When I graduated from the MIT in 1962, I had a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a fairly good knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and machine design. Little did I know, however, that application of these concepts to the real world of process machinery would be an altogether different learning process.

My early suspicion that the recent engineering graduate would greatly benefit from a down-to-earth, application-oriented text on process plant machinery was further reinforced when I accepted employment with the ExxonMobil Corporation. There, I dealt with chemical engineers who had an equal and sometimes greater need to understand the basic operating concepts and application criteria of the machines that both of us encountered in modem process plants. It was then that I searched unsuccessfully for such a text and perhaps also thought I might, some day, assemble the material for this guide.

The opportunity to synthesize the best available information into a cohesive overview text presented itself when I elected to retire from an interesting career in machinery reliability and maintenance-related engineering work with ExxonMobil.

I then asked some of the best companies in the process machinery field for the material to be included in this text, and many of them responded to the challenge.

The guidelines were straightforward: We wanted to present the younger engineer or technician with an overview of the machinery categories he or she was likely to encounter in most process plants. Furthermore, even the experienced individual should be able to benefit from a reference text that didn't dwell on theory but went quickly into a thorough explanation of how the equipment was designed and what made it work. Stated differently, this text is an attempt to close the gap between the machinery engineer and the chemical engineer.

Last but by no means least, environmental considerations that arise directly from turbomachinery operation have grown hugely in profile since the release of the first edition of this guide. In many large corporations chemical engineers are obliged by organizational structure, to leave those considerations to environmental engineers, even though they must be just as aware of them. As the environmental factors also tie in to mechanical engineers' work, I added in references, where possible, along these lines. If I did that to any comprehensive depth, however, we would end up with an impossibly large guide. Hence the odd cross-reference in the book to Environmental Engineering & Management: Sustainable Development for the Power Generation, Oil & Gas and Process Industries, which was written in response to questions often asked of me, but recently with increasing frequency.

So if this guide does not satisfy the chemical engineer's curiosity on environmental issues as they pertain to turbomachinery, to the required depth, know that I had to do that as a separate project.

Together with my many contributors, I express the hope that we have accomplished this goal.

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Introduction

Modem process plants could not exist without the machinery to transport, modify, mix, compress, or otherwise manipulate the gases, liquids, and solids that move through the plant at any given time.

There are literally hundreds of types of plant machines, and it would not be at all unusual to find 20 or 30 different types at a single process plant site. Moreover, these could be further subdivided into numerous modified versions, depending on desired throughput, pressure, processing temperature, product characteristics, design life, and a host of other parameters.

In determining the scope of coverage it quickly became evident that we had to be highly selective in our choice of machinery to be included in this text. Dealing with every conceivable machine type would be an encyclopedic task and could result in superficial descriptions. Fortunately for the reader, and also the writer, the many process plant machines can be assigned to a few major classifications, or functional categories. Once the operating principles and typical configurations of important machine components are understood, the reader will find it considerably easier to think through the design variations or derivatives of a given machine.

Making this our basic premise, we decided that the majority of chemical engineers working in the process industries will probably encounter machinery that fits into one of the four primary classifications:

- prime movers and power transmission machinery

- pumping equipment

- gas compression machinery

- mixing, conveying, and separation equipment

We describe the essentials and, if necessary, important details of a number of process machines and drivers that fit into these four primary classifications. Starting with electric motors, the reader will find substantial information on turbines, pumps, and compressors. We describe the essentials and, if necessary, important details of a number of process machines and drivers that fit into these four primary classifications. The guide commences with electric motors, and the Sections on turbines, pumps and compressors have been extended considerably. Sections on centrifuges, scraped surface crystallizers and filtration have been added.

We had to grapple with the question of whether the United Customery System of units (USCI) or International System of units (SI) should be used. From a purely practical view, it was realized that- like it or not- the reader will continue to (1) encounter both systems for the foreseeable future, and (2) have to be able to convert from one system to the other. Accordingly, we opted to generally leave the decision to the individual contributor; thus the reader will find himself or herself immersed in both USCI and SI units.


  1. Electric Motors + Controls
  2. Gear Speed Transmission Equipment
  3. Gas Turbines
  4. Gas Engines
  5. Steam Turbines
  6. Turboexpanders
  7. Centrifugal Pumps
  8. Positive Displacement Pumps
  9. Vacuum Pumps
  10. Cooling Water Supply Systems
  11. Centrifugal Compressors (addit. A-B, C-D)
  12. Axial Flow Compressors
  13. Propeller, Axial, and Centrifugal Fans
  14. Reciprocating Compressors (part 1; part 2; part 3)
  15. Rotating Positive Displacement Compressors
  16. Mixers and Agitators
  17. Separators
  18. Internal Mixers: Single- and Twin-Screw Extruders
  19. Scraped Surface Crystallizers, Dewaxers and Chillers
  20. Conveyor-Based Processing Systems
  21. Filtration Systems

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