Bulk liquids need swift and reliable transfer systems

DESMI ROTAN PD pump for petrochemical applications..

Rotary pumps, such as those produced by Danish-based industrial pump manufacturer DESMI under the brand name ROTAN®, can transfer up to 250m3 per hour for a wide range of fluid materials, so they're ideal for loading into road tankers, ISO road tank containers or small vessels, and for drumming. Typical applications include oil and chemical transfer, often for distributed bunkering, and bitumen transfer.

Oil or chemical cargo coming from crude tankers is usually pumped into storage tanks on land using the shuttle tanker's pumping systems. From there, the oil is transferred to a road tanker or an ISO road tank container, trunk-routed or drummed. Some terminal operators transport oil or chemicals for drumming at a one-stop warehousing service partner. Bitumen terminals, on the other hand, receive, store and transfer raw product for asphalt. The bitumen arrives on larger-capacity ships, and is usually then pumped into storage tanks before being re-pumped to road tankers for distribution to mixing stations around the country.

Multiple functions

In the past, terminal operators preferred to operate specialized pumps for each application. Now, the tendency is to use a single pump for multiple functions. DESMI has answered this relatively new need by incorporating a frequency inverter with system control devices such as meters, sensors and gauges, enabling pump speed to match the variable flow and variable system operating pressure, as well as the variable viscosities of pumped fluids. Naturally, working with a variety of bulk liquids can be tough on pumps, but it also demands more of the terminal operator's staff, too. 

DESMI ROTAN PD201 used as base oil ship and trucking pump for oil viscosity ranged from 500CST to 6000 CST.

The reason for the company's edge in the industrial pumps market isn't just about pumping equipment itself. Its technical knowledge has proved to be a valuable asset when it comes to winning orders and keeping things running smoothly once everything has been installed.

Jimmy Ng, Desmi's general manager in Singapore, says that it's vital to know about pumping systems, processes and operations. “Achieving the best results demands an awareness of all operational aspects, including the challenges and the impact on the pump of each operational mode – whether it's loading ships or trucks, drumming, stripping to completely empty the storage tanks, or tank clearing. Almost every order we get is because we have the ability to knowledgeably discuss with the customer, the operator and the maintenance guy, not just about the pump itself, but the entire operation. Some units are used for handling different grades and viscosities of petroleum oil with huge differences in operating conditions and expectations, so you need to understand the whole picture. Will the specified pumps and accessories be able to meet the complete operational expectations?”

DESMI ROTAN PD pump for petrochemical applications.

Global operation

In Singapore, with its status as a key international cargo hub, operators' terminals support chemical and oil companies, trading companies, and national oil companies. Various DESMI pumping systems are installed at these terminals, handling different types of transfers depending on the functions of the terminal and the demands of specific contracts the operator signs with its customers.

In Vietnam, Desmi pumps keeps things moving at a major bitumen marketer that imports, stores and distributes asphalt for road building and infrastructure developments in the country. The marketer's terminal at Haiphong boasts wharf facilities with a state-of-the-art bitumen storage terminal and a capacity of 5,000 metric tons. The company is one of two large bitumen companies using Desmi equipment in Vietnam. Desmi pumps are also installed at the bulk liquid terminals of Indonesian-based customers.

Technical support

To achieve a reliable, ready-for-action pumping system, you need to have operational staff who are familiar with the equipment and able to adjust the various operational parameters required to ensure optimal flow. In Singapore, many of the equipment operators in bulk oil terminals are contracted workers with little knowledge of handling pumping equipment. They have limited operational experience, a narrow understanding of the overall pumping system and terminal operation, and are typically under time pressure. It's important, therefore, to choose pumping equipment and solutions from a supplier that can offer the technical support and application know-how to operate an efficient storage terminal.

Rapid repairs

Another key advantage of the company's pumps is their ability to quickly recover from mechanical failure, restoring the pumps back to operation with minimal down-time. “The heaviest part of a Rotan pump is the pump casing,” says Mr Ng. “DESMI casts the foot of all its pumps on the casing. On the one hand, this provides extra strength to withstand any stress from piping misalignment or system loads and reduces vibration. On the other, it means you don't have to remove the casing for repair or servicing if required. When installed with a space coupling, for example, the rotating assembly can easily be removed from the casing for inspection or repair without disturbing the piping, pump casing or coupling alignment. So customers can keep a few key components on hand that can be quickly changed without needing a highly skilled technician.”

Such rapid repairs are particularly important for liquids such as bitumen, which can't be allowed to cool down within the pump for long. Bitumen is a product that the company's technical advisors know inside out, and the company's team typically spends a great deal of time talking to the bitumen plant's end-user, discussing typical challenges faced, and constantly exploring new ways to improve performance and reliability.

Knowledge beats price

As expected, falling oil prices have had an impact on operator's willingness to pay for premium equipment. The equipment pricing remains an important part of the overall picture but there are many others important factors need to be considered as well when choosing a pump equipment supplier. “At the end of the day, know-how and good service support for the customer is what sells,” Mr Ng explains. “Once customers start to understand the full picture of high-quality pumping solutions and service support and perhaps a trip to our factory or to other operators' terminals to hear about the success of DESMI's pumping solutions, it's relatively easy for them to realize the extra value they're getting.”

DESMI ROTAN PD202 used as base oil ship and trucking pump for oil viscosity ranged from 35CST to 1600 CST.