An investigation of energy-based planned maintenance of offshore drilling mud pumps
Mud pumps used on offshore installations for drilling operations have been known to experience unpredictable breakdowns, including during critical stages of drilling. The fluid end has been identified as requiring more maintenance work due to component failure, compared to the power end. The most common maintenance strategies in use include breakdown maintenance, time-based maintenance and condition monitoring. Time-based maintenance, based on running hours, is the most commonly preferred method by most, if not all, mud pump operators. However, the nature of drilling operations require pump performance with variable loads (pressures), variable speed characteristics and time-based maintenance would not be able to account for the different operating conditions within any identical time frames. To address this shortcoming, this research looked at the postulation that material wear loss is related to the energy expended and developed a dedicated reciprocating wear test system to identify and investigate the effect of operating variables on the wear loss of piston rubbers, which was considered to be the most problematic of the fluid end components.