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Pulsation Dampeners 101: What They Do & Why You Need Them

By Kravelv @kravelv

Keeping your rigs running smoothly doesn’t just involve making carefully planned decisions and enlisting top-notch talent for your A-team. You need to make the most of your drilling equipment investment, which means ensuring your mud pump system provides reliable performance and superior efficiency.

Take a closer look at your pump equipment. Given the essential role a pulsation dampener plays in protecting your system and reducing potential damage, it should always be in tip-top shape.

Let’s learn more about this piece of equipment and why it’s important.

What Is a Pulsation Dampener?

If your system has reciprocating positive displacement pumps, pulsations and hydraulic shock will naturally result. They may even occur when pump check valves are opened and closed. When left unaddressed, pulsations and pressure gaps can damage the entire pump system over time. It pays to install pulsation dampeners at the discharge side of reciprocating PD pumps to mitigate these losses.

Pulsation Dampeners 101: What They Do & Why You Need Them

REDUCED DAMAGE, INCREASED PROTECTION. Pulsation dampeners don’t just improve efficiency–they also extend the service life of your pumps and pipe system.

Why You Need It

This vital component of reciprocating PD pump performs the following functions:

  • Controls pipe hammer and vibration.
  • Reduces load on the pump.
  • Minimizes pulsations to protect or enhance the accuracy of downstream instrumentation.
  • Lowers potential for pulsations as a dictate of the process.

Pulsation dampeners act much like a car’s shock absorber would, dampening resulting hydraulic shocks while controlling pipe rattle and pressure fluctuations in the system. By lowering the risk of shock and excess movement, they can minimize the damage to the pump system’s components, especially pipe welds and supports.

Pulsation dampeners are applicable to the following industries:

  • Oil prospecting and refining
  • Chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Food and beverage manufacturing
  • Petrochemical production
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Water distribution
  • Power generation

How It Works

There are two ways pulsation dampeners can reduce the negative effects of reciprocating PD pumps. These include:

  • By using a cushion of compressible gas–whether it’s gas over liquid, gas-filled bladders or diaphragms, or gas infused polymers–traditional gas-charged dampeners can protect your pump system from damage. When the reciprocating pump produces these pressure variations, the gas compresses and absorbs them to smooth out the flow of pumped media.
  • Unlike gas-charged options, maintenance-free pulsation dampeners work by relying on the kinetic energy exchange. This occurs when the volume of the dampener is sizable enough to dissipate sufficient energy, reducing the rattle and fluctuations caused by the reciprocating pump. For this reason, maintenance-free pulsation dampeners will need considerable volumes to be truly effective.

Pulsation Dampeners 101: What They Do & Why You Need Them

LESS MAINTENANCE IS BEST. You’ll need less maintenance when you choose a high-quality pulsation dampener, so pick a reliable manufacturer.

What to Look For in a Pulsation Dampener

Whether you benefit from worry-free maintenance will depend on your choice of pulsation dampeners. If you pick a subpar product, it may even compromise the pump system’s longevity and performance instead of sustaining it. For this reason, it pays to hire a premier manufacturer offering guaranteed high-quality products that make dampener maintenance a cinch. Here’s what to look for:

  • Established and Reliable Business. It pays to choose a manufacturer who already has a proven reputation. This means a company with a good track record that can help you make informed decisions on your purchases and investment.
  • For greater peace of mind, you should consider a manufacturer who specializes in pulsation control. This way, you know they can offer the best products for you, while helping you get the most out of them.

Pulsation Dampeners 101: What They Do & Why You Need Them

  • Technology-Driven. Turn to an equipment manufacturer who isn’t afraid of innovation. They should be committed to developing new and advanced products, ensuring your pump system performs better and lasts longer. Certain manufacturers can even convert your gas-charged pulsation dampener into a maintenance-free unit. This upgrades your current equipment so you can enjoy the advantages of both types of pulsation control, allowing for safer operations and almost zero regular maintenance.
  • Value for Your Money. Look for a company that is easy to do business with and can deliver top-tier products and equipment at the best price. Make sure your pulsation dampener isn’t just durable and efficient, but can reduce costs as well.

How a Pulsation Dampener Benefits You

Now that you have an idea how it works, let’s take a look at the long-term benefits a pulsation dampener can provide you and your rigs.

  1. Increased Pump Efficiency. You want to get the most out of your pump system and reliable pulsation control is essential. By keeping your pulsation dampener in shape, you can be sure your system delivers the efficient performance your business needs.
  2. Damage Prevention. Pulsation control stops damage from happening in the first place. This means improved safety and reliability of fluid flow applications from your pump system.

 

Pulsation Dampeners 101: What They Do & Why You Need Them

WHY DAMPENERS? Less potential for costly damage, enhanced safety and reliability, plus long-lasting performance are just some of the pros of this product.

  1. Extended Life Cycle. Keeping your dampener in good working order directly affects the pump system’s durability. The right device can lengthen its life cycle, allowing for continuous and effective performance.
  2. Money Saved. Because pulsation dampeners enhance hydraulic system performance, you won’t have to worry about extensive and costly repair work or even replacement. This also allows for decreased downtime in maintenance and operating costs.

Installation of pulsation dampeners should be a priority if you want to help maximize your rigs’ production and improve equipment efficiency. Just make sure the product quality is top-level so you can eliminate maintenance demands and get the most out of your investment.

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Author Bio:

Justin Manley is the lead inventor and pulsation expert for Sigma Drilling Technologies. He is the author of several patents and trademarks dealing directly with advanced pulsation control, including the highly successful Charge Free Conversion Kit® and the Acoustic Assassin®. He lives in North Texas with his wife and three children.

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