6 Reasons Fluid Ends Fail And How We're Putting a Stop to Them

6 Reasons Fluid Ends Fail

Few components work in a more damaging environment than fluid ends. They’re hit with high pressures, abrasive materials and corrosive fluids hour after hour. To keep your production high and your owning and operating costs low, you need them to stand up to the harshest conditions. Here are six common causes of fluid end failure—and six ways we’ve designed Cat® fluid ends to perform better and last longer.


What Causes Premature Failure?

How do Cat® Products Resist Failure?

1. Cavitation. When well stimulation fluids are subjected to rapid changes in pressure, cavities can form in the liquid when pressures are low, then implode when pressures are high. Continuous cavitation can result in premature failure due to washout. 1. Better flow characteristics. Cat high-flow components (valves and seats) promote better flow characteristics within the fluid end during operation. That helps ensure a consistent flow of well stimulation fluids at varying pressures. Less
2. Washout. Large volumes of fluid inside the block erode sealing surfaces, preventing the fluid end from building pressure. This happens more frequently with abrasive well stimulation fluids, acids and higher-strength proppant. Poor maintenance—such as improper valve and seat installation—is another factor. 2. Premium materials & training. We use only top-quality steel forged to the highest cleanliness specifications, as well as high-strength parts that prolong fluid end life. We also offer training on proper maintenance practices. Less
3. Sand packing. Excessive proppant build-up in a fluid end’s intersecting bore can cause inconsistent well stimulation fluid and proppant distribution from the blender, loss of proper proppant suspension in fluid during operation and pony rod or power end failures. 3. Offset discharge port design. Our design reduces turbulent flow and allows for unobstructed flow around the valves. That significantly reduces the proppant settling that can lead to sand build-up. Less
4. Corrosion. Metal or iron contaminants in well stimulation fluids—including rust and liquid from storage tanks—can lead to deterioration of the fluid end metal. So can the use of uninhibited acids as well stimulation fluids. 4. Different yield strengths. Cat Extreme Duty (XD) carbon steel fluid ends features proprietary metallurgy for higher yield strength and corrosion resistance. Cat stainless steel fluid ends offers maximum corrosion resistance, particularly in recycled water applications—reducing cracking and improving overall durability. Less
5. Fatigue. Exposure to excess pressures, as well as loading and unloading of stresses, can cause weathering of the fluid end metal as well as structural damage to the steel at a localized spot. 5. Work-hardening processes. Our proprietary autofrettage processes harden fluid end materials so they better resist wear. Deburring and blending of sharp corners also help reduce localized wear and the effects of wet fatigue. Less
6. Cracking. Excessive cavitation, fatigue or impact from foreign objects can create separations or cracks in the fluid end material. So can sand packing and operation outside pump design parameters. 6. Crack-prevention processes. Our deburring, shot peening and concentrated material work-hardening processes all contribute to extended fluid end life. We also use higher-than-industry-standard yield strength material to prevent premature cracking. Less

Talk to your Cat dealer about the Cat fluid end option—standard-duty carbon steel, XD carbon steel or XD stainless steel—that will deliver maximum life and uptime in your application.

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Get more Information about Cat Fluid Ends

Get more Information about Cat Fluid Ends

6 Reasons Fluid Ends Fail and how We're Putting a Stop to Them

6 Reasons Fluid Ends Fail and how We're Putting a Stop to Them

Six common causes of fluid end failure—and six ways we’ve designed Cat® fluid ends to perform better and last longer.

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