Interview with Markus Ritter, Operations Manager at Oil Dynamics GmbH
Can you describe the modern and efficient features of Oil Dynamics’ proprietary testing benches?
When we started our business some years ago, we were standing in front of an empty building, with a lot of ideas and with full enthusiasm. Since you can´t simply get ESP equipment test benches off the shelf, we had to develop our test benches by ourselves. We had the great situation where we could engineer, manufacture and assemble the test benches completely in house. All our test benches were done this way, the mechanical -, electrical- and software engineering as well as the important subject of safety and environmental impact analysis were done at Oil Dynamics. This is against the common outsourcing trend, but we benefit from the insourcing to have full control and full know how in house. This also enabled us to build new, modern and state-of-the-art test benches with the latest technology available. All test benches are controlled via a computer, the user input is limited as much as possible, which eliminates possible copy- and communication errors. Test reports are precise and to the point.
What is the benefit for further use of the tested pumps?
You would be surprised to know how many untested pumps and especially submersible motors are delivered to the end user and are only tested in production environment. The reliable in-house testing and inspection prior to shipment offers the end user the benefit of exactly knowing the equipment’s behavior. The end user can be sure his equipment was tested, meets the requirements and is ready for operation. Used pumps and motors can be requalified and verified against their catalog performance. Based on that data the equipment can be reused or rebuilt which produces significant cost savings to the client.
What kind of features are involved?
We can test different scenarios of pumps and complete pump trains. This includes testing according to the ESP industry standard API 11S, as well as full string testing of horizontal pumping system and other rotating equipment systems, including the whole drive train, the variable frequency drive and job specific controls incl. sensors and actuators. All of these different scenarios are common to measure pump or pump train specific measurements which may include, pressures, flow rates, fluid temperatures, fluid specific gravity, torque and other measurements. With these parameters the pump under test can be fully digitalized and qualified for final installation in the field.
Do OD’s procedures conform to any Hydraulic Institute or other API recommended standards?
The pump test is in line with the American petroleum institute recommended practice. We are testing to the API-RP 11S or even, for horizontal pumps, to API 610. Special test procedure can be adapted, depending on the specific requirements of the customer.
What’s the advantage for the customers having their ordered items being tested before shipping the product to the field?
Our customers have different challenges to overcome. You might question yourself, why should I test a brand-new pump, should the pump not just be perfect? We believe that this is not good enough. Every single Oil Dynamics pump is tested and inspected before the final release to the customer. There is a big difference how to test pumps. Some pumps are tested simply if they are producing with any head and any flow. At Oil Dynamics we are testing against the catalog curve in regards to API 11-S. Further to this, it is also a good idea to test new pumps when they have been warehoused for quite a while or when the pump or motor has been shipped, flew and trucked around the world. The customer benefits from testing new pumps by having a detailed report about the pump performance, the customer can be sure how the pump is behaving in his well. The benefit is more information, less production loss, less time at the rig floor waiting for replacement parts. Overall the risk of not performing to the expectation is greatly reduced.
What kind of a data system at the test benches is providing/ generating the reports and diagram presentation? How does it work?
This is a question that targets very deep system knowledge, but basically the data system contains a graphical user interface, a huge computerized calculator and a database. The tests are performed against a set of catalog data, the catalog data represents the pump and motor as described in our catalog. Every other pump and motor from a third party can be adapted and also put into the database. The graphical user interface is the operator’s dashboard to control pump speed and to adjust the backpressure of the test bench. During the pump test the operator already gets information about the tested pump. At the end of the test, the data is stored into the database. A report, which is given to the customer is generated. This report includes all necessary information to identify the pump such as the serial number and the number of stages. Further a graphical view of the pump performance is given. As an addition to the graphical view a simple table with min/max and test values is provided where a clear pass/fail criterion is adopted.
Does it need any special qualification to handle the test benches?
The pump and motor test benches are a complex system, which are capable of testing small to big size pumps and motors. To be able to test pumps and motors, we have developed different training plans for the team involved. These training plans include, operation, maintenance, hydraulic and electric standards, generic hydraulic and electric lessons and last but not least health and safety lessons.
How are all these test results being stored for future reference?
Storing data is very important! Also important is to know what to store, how to store and where to store the data. Each individual test bench has its own, dedicated database. Every test bench computer is offline again, this is against a clear industry trend to bring everything onto one server and to have it available at any time anywhere. We decided to go a different way! The data security on the test bench computers have to be very high, dedicated computers, password protected, not connected to any wired or wireless network, data backups and correct storing of the backed-up data. The data from the dedicated computer is exported to an engineering database where our engineers run statistical and analytical data analysis. Quality of systems and products is our highest concern. The satisfaction of our clients is our highest goal.