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Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Tue May 03, 2016 1:27 pm
by Reg
Hi all,

I really hope someone could point me in the right direction for setting this up in purification. I am trying to separate the water from lube oil with the sg of 0.860 at 15 degrees C and I am trying to separate it at around 80 degrees C. The water content is around 35% and I'm trying to get this to less than 1% in one pass. My water supply for the operating water is the same line that supply's the barrier water, and this is cold. Is this ok? I'm using a 160mm gravity disc. Does this sound correct?
When I start adding oil into the centrifuge I get a mousse like material from the heavy phase outlet. Does the barrier water need to be a certain pressure? And is this supply constant or stopped once water is coming out of the heavy phase outlet? Should I have a pressure gauge on the light phase outlet to monitor the back pressure? Should this be around 1.5-2 bar? Do you alter the back pressure by closing the valve on the light phase outlet?

Sorry for all these questions and thanks in advance,


Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Wed May 04, 2016 10:04 am
by JollyJack
Jack the inlet temperature up to 110 deg C and keep the throughput slow. You'll find the water will pour out.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 4:07 am
by Revolver
A couple of these answers should be in the manual.
I would say bump the temp a few Deg C for sure, 85 or so should be okay for lube oil.
I don't think cold water should be a problem.
The book should have a nice diagram-chart that will show the S.G of the separated fluid and the Dia of the Gravity Disc.

You should monitor back pressure, those pressures seem fine 1.5 up to about 2.5 Bar, and you can alter the back pressure by adjusting that valve - there should be a means of locking the valve from unwanted travel.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 11:15 am
by Reg
Thanks for all the replies.

I wouldn't want to go much over 90 because of the flash point.

How do create back pressure? My pressure gauge on the light phase outlet isn't showing any pressure.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Thu May 05, 2016 4:27 pm
by JK
close in your discharge valve to about 1.8-2.0 bar

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Fri May 06, 2016 11:04 am
by JollyJack
85 or 90 C won't do anything, water boils at 100 C. Under pressure, it's higher. 110 worked for me. You have to treat the oil like kidneys, and boil the piss out of it!

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Fri May 06, 2016 11:16 am
by JollyJack
From ... ash-point/

What is the flash point?

It is the lowest temperature at which the oil will give off a sufficient inflammable vapour to produce a momentary flash when a small flame is brought into the surface of the oil.
Close flash point for crankcase lubricating oil is around 220°C.

110 C is nowhere near the flash point.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Fri May 06, 2016 1:10 pm
by Revolver
Flash point for L.O in a purifier isn't the issue with higher temps, like JJ said the flash point is well higher than the purifier setting there.
But I understand 'cooking' the oil too high can result in reduced lubricating properties; basically burning it
Also at the higher temp the oil can also cook onto the internals of the purifier making them a little more difficult to clean - though, that said, the cleanliness of the purifier isn't as important as getting the water out of the oil...

You mentioned the water content is 35%? That's incredibly high, why are you determined to get it to less than 1% (which is still darn high, I feel) in only 1 pass. Have that going and going to get all the water out no matter how many passes it may take - but of course the less time the better.

You should have a pressure on the outlet...Sure the gauge is good? Adjust the outlet valve like JK said to make sure you get the proper pressures mentioned. I'm surprised you're not getting alarms if the outlet pressure is actually less than about 1bar (or the system isn't fitted with that alarm).

What is your supply water pressure - fed to the E/R water from the Hydrophore?
The seal water I think is controlled and intermittent? If it's not being controlled correctly it may be constantly supplying and thus supplying too much.
You mentioned the mousse like fluid coming from the heavy phase outlet, possibly because of a seal water problem - also you'll scoff, but; all the maintenance and proper assembly of the purifier has been done yeah?

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Wed May 11, 2016 1:56 am
by Big Pete
Hi Reg,

I haven't been on the site for a while so I haven't joined in this thread before.
I hope you have now solved your problem.

A couple of points though, where did all this water come from in the oil? Is it Fresh or Salt? With that level of water content you must have had a major leak into the engine or the purifier was assembled wrongly, or with damaged "O" Rings, and was putting water in, rather than taking it out. First problem is to stop the water ingress.

Many years ago I joined a Panamax OBO, the Acina, with a slow speed MAN engine, the Chrome plating on piston telescopic pipes had broken up and the rough edges had chewed up the telescopic glands and the water had somehow leaked into the crankcase, before I joined the L.O. had been changed and the old emulsified oil had been put into the renovating tank. A sample was taken and sent for analysis, and came back as 35% water.
It was a stable emulsion and before I joined the Engineers had been draining a few gallons a watch out of the tank hoping to get the water out, but it was a stable emulsion. When I joined I put the steam heating on the tank, brought it up to 100Celsius for a day, broke the emulsion, and clean water just poured out of the drain cock. After a couple of days all the water had all gone and we sent off another sample for testing and the results came back that it was fit for use. I had been a bit concerned that the additives might have been washed out of the oil by all that water but it was fine.

One another ship, there was a separate L.O. Purifier Sludge Tank and the Chief Engineer wanted to minimise L.O. consumption so he had the engineers drain the water from this and then purify the rest back into the engine sump, unfortunately a new Engineer joined and he failed to drain the water out just tried to purify the entire sludge tank straight into the Sump, the purifier just pumped all the water and dirt straight into the engine, and emulsified all the oil, fortunately we discovered this just before we sailed and had to cancel sailing, Renovate all the oil and manually clean the L.O. Drain Tank, it was a big Sulzer so it was a Hell of a job. Stupidity on the part of the Chief Engineer really, if the purifier is operating correctly, no oil is discharged into the Sludge Tank, if he thought we were losing L.O. into the Sludge Tank the solution was to overhaul and thoroughly check the operation of the L.O. purifier, not pump all the **** the purifier had taken out, back into the Sump!

One another ship, a Car carrier, the crankcase air vent was inside a Box at the ship's side, this Box filled with Salt water and rusted through the Vent pipe dumping loads of Saltwater into the Sump.

I wouldn't want to be circulating oil with that water content through the engine, there is a danger that the water, in the absence of air, could react with the Tin in the Bearings to form Tin Hydroxide, which is not a problem in itself, BUT in the presence of air the Tin Hydroxide oxidises into Black Tin Oxide which is much harder than the engine shafts in the bearings and can rip them to scrap.

I wouldn't be concerned about trying to get all the water out in one pass through the purifier, by far the best way, if you have a Renovating tank, is to purify the oil from the sump to the Reno Tank, at the highest temperature and slowest flow rate that you can, keep the Reno Tank heated to 100C and purify from the Reno tank back to the Reno tank, draining any water from the Reno tank drain cock every hour or two until the oil looks O.K.
Then purify the oil back to the sump and continue purifying Sump to Sump. If you succeed in removing the 35% of mixture which is water you will have to replace at least some of that with Fresh Oil.

Purifying Temperatures

For at least 30 years, to my certain Knowledge, all Purifier makers, in agreement with all the oil Companies say that L.O. Purifiers should be run at 95 Celsius for engines where there is no Physical barrier between the cylinders and the crankcase and 90 Celsius where there is (i.e. Slow speed 2 stroke engines with a scavenge space between the crankcase and the pistons to stop any blow past from the pistons.

Batch Purification.

Batch purification is by far the most effective, i.e with fuel from the Settling Tank to the Service Tank, with L.O. from Sump to Reno Tank or Reno Tank to Sump, for the simple reason that the clean output from the purifier is not contaminated by being dumped back into the dirty oil system it came from.

The slower the throughput through the purifier, the cleaner the oil coming out, so when batch purifying the flow rate should be reduced to a minimum, so that all the oil is cleaned to the highest standard.

When purifying Sump to Sump however, the clean oil is mixed with the contaminated oil back in the Sump, so the aim is to remove the maximum quantity of water/ dirt from the oil per hour. In order to do this, the flow through the purifier should be at the top of the Purifiers designed flow rate, the oil coming out of the purifier will not be so clean, but because there is a larger flow rate, more water and dirt are removed from the system in any given time.

Ref your original, Post: -
If the SG of the oil is 0.86 and that is mixed with water in a ratio of 2:1, the SG of the emulsion will be over 0.9
The Mousse you describe as discharging from the heavy phase outlet, is emulsified oil, so you are dumping potentially good L.O. into the Sludge Tank.
In order to for the purifier to separate the oil from the water you have to break the emulsion first, to do this you have to heat it up to at least 100C and hold it at that temperature for as long as possible, as other posters have said you need to get the L.O. temperature as Hot as you can and the flow rate as slow as possible so that it has as long a time to separate out in the heater and pipe work to the purifier. If you are purifying from the Sump, put the steam heating coils on to get the sump as hot as possible (if you have them). Do not worry about the Flash Point you will not reach it. The oil Temperature in the Engine will often be well over a 100 C, locally for a short period, I very much doubt that you will be able to get the oil hot enough to damage it. At present the "oil" is useless as a lubricant, if you can not get the water out, you will have to pay someone to take it away as waste.
Initially, you were running the purifier far too cold, at 80C you might as well leave it shut down for all the good it will do.
Regarding the size of the Gravity Disc, water temperatures, back pressures etc this is all laid down in the maker's Instruction manual.
The main reason to maintain a back pressure is so that if the water seal is lost the flow of the light phase out of the purifier reduces, therefore the pressure drop across the discharge throttling valve drops, triggering the loss of seal alrm (which is operated by a pressure switch before the throttling valve). Before Loss of seal alarms the discharge from the purifier had no back pressure as the oil just fell by gravity down to the sump and there could actually be a partial vacuum at the purifier outlet. However, the back pressure can effect the water seal so it has to be adjusted in accordance with the maker's manual. Obviously the pressure will change with oil temperature/viscosity and flow rate so when any of these change the throttling valve has to be adjusted. Obviously you need a pressure gauge to monitor this, unless you have a very old purifier that predates Loss of Seal Alarms!

Regarding choosing the correct Gravity disc the details of exactly how this is done varies from maker to maker. Firstly you start with the SG at 15C which is the International Standard Temperature for measuring SG and is given in the Oil Companies Specification for that Oil, always check this if the grade of oil used in the engine changes, you may have to change the Gravity Discs in the L.O. Purifiers, the same as you would in the HFO Purifiers after Bunkering.
The SG at 15 C is then corrected to the SG at the Temperature that you will be purifying it at(this done on a graph in the manual) , obviously as the oil is heated it expands and the SG becomes less. This new SG is then used to find the size of the Gravity Disc from another Graph in manual.
With Laval Purifiers, if I remember correctly, these 2 stages are combined in a single Nongram where you follow the lines for SG at 15C and the actual purifying temperature to find the correct Disc size.

Regarding the difficulty in cleaning the purifier discs when running at high temperatures I don't believe that this will be a problem so long as you have this water content.
However, many purifiers are not set up to de sludge often enough. The first generation of automatic purifiers, back in the 1960's were designed to de -sludge every 4 hours, and many Engineers assume that the more modern purifiers should be set to de-sludge at this frequency. However, since then the size of purifiers has been greatly reduced and the sludge storage capacity with it, modern purifiers are generally designed to be de- sludged every 30 minutes or so, otherwise heavy sludge deposits will build up inside the Disc stack. As always, read the instruction manual!!!!
I have found In service Cleaning to be very effective, must of the Purifier Manufacturers supply kits for this that pump powerful chemicals through the Purifier and Or the heater and clean them without having to dismantle them, it obviously saves a lot of dirty work and the purifiers then only have to be dismantled for Bearing changes and other overhauls, and Chemically cleaning them first makes this much easier.
However, a word of warning, these are very powerfull Chemicals and are not in the slightest bit OWS friendly, so make sure none of them end up in the Bilge system!!
Another interesting point is that it has been demonstrated that "packaged" purifier units in a module are less effective at removing water and dirt from Oil than the Traditional system installed by the shipyard as separate components. After much research it was concluded that this was because the length of pipework from the Heater to the Purifier was less, so the oil was not heated for such a long time before going through the purifier, so if you want to increase the efficiency of your purifiers, increase the length of the pipework, to increase the "Dwell Time" at high temperatures, which particularly in your case, gives the oil and water time to separate before going into the purifier.
The Purifier can not and will not break the emulsion, it will only separate the light phase from the heavy phase and in your case the heavy phase appears to have been emulsified oil. Breaking the emulsion can only be done by a combination of heat and time.

I hope this helps you or someone else out there.

Big Pete

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Thu May 12, 2016 7:57 am
by hugerich
Just wanted to chip in and say that I never knew a purifier couldn't separate an emulsion, I was always under the impression that the high temperature at the heater (as you say around 95 degrees) and the forces in the bowl would be more than enough to perform separation of the oil and water.

Reminds me of when I was on my first ship as a qualified engineer 3 years ago. Long story short I used the wrong model of solenoid valve block for that particular purifier. This caused the bowl to stay shut when it should have performed a desludge, so instead of the displacement water displacing the oil and then discharging, the water stayed in the bowl and was then pumped to the sump when the purifier resumed its process. Wasn't until the next day I checked the sump I was purifying and found it was at max when it was at 50% the day before! That taught me a lesson I have never forgotten, always check the machine is working properly after an overhaul and always double check part numbers, even if they look identical to the part you are replacing. Live and learn I guess.

Luckily for me I was on a ship of rogues and nobody seemed to care, so I didn't actually get in any trouble over it, even when I went to the chief head down expecting a roasting. Coming back to your post Pete, I didn't understand why it was that no matter what gravity disc I tried I couldn't get the purifier to separate out the water, it would either all come out the heavy phase outlet or all go back to the sump depending on the disc. Now I do, so thanks for that. We didn't have a renovating tank or steam coils in the sump on that ship so I guess in that case the oil would have been a lost cause.

Even worse- I did say not to run that generator until I could do something about the water content, and when I had no success I suggested just dumping it to sludge and starting again as it was only a small genny and the oil loss would have been minimal, we had plenty in the storage tank as well. But you will never guess what they did instead, they ran the genny and said that the heat would evaporate the water! I was the one that screwed up and even I knew that was a road to total disaster, but there was no convincing these people. I do wonder what state the bearings ended up in after that, I was only onboard for a week after that.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Fri May 13, 2016 2:59 am
by Big Pete
Hi HugeRich,

Glad you learnt something from my Post. A purifier is just Gravity on Steroids, if the oil is actually emulsified, it takes time and heat ( and or Chemicals) to break the emulsion. If the oil is in large droplets, suspended in the oil the purifier should take it out. If the colour doesn't look "right" for Lube oil it is probably emulsified.

Good of you to make a Public Confession, we have all made stupid mistakes in the past, hopefully by sharing what we have learnt from them, on sites like this, we will save other people from repeating our mistakes.
There are a lot of Ignorant and stupid people out there and some of them make it to Chief Engineer!! I know, I have sailed back to back with a few.
There is not much anyone can do about the people who don't care or are so arrogant that they think they "Know it All" .but then they don't use this site.

Good Luck.

Big Pete.

Re: Alfa Laval MAPX313 Purification setup

Posted: Fri May 13, 2016 3:27 am
by Merlyn
Old English Proverb.
The man who never made a mistake never made f'---k all.