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INDUSTRY NEWS

In this application, three Racor 79100FHV


diesel fuel filter/water separators from the
companys Turbine Series are used to help
protect each engine.
Two of the four Caterpillar 3516 diesel engines required to provide the power for a drill rig
destined for central Asia. New high-pressure common rail engines have made installing
proper fuel filtration systems more important than ever.

FILTRATION FIXATION

Fuel filters keep new diesels working for oil and gas industry; M&D sees the damage caused by dirty fuel
BY CHAD ELMORE
t takes fuel to get fuel and as it has
for decades, diesel dominates
where hundreds of oil and natural
gas drill rigs are positioned over shale
plays across North America.
Diesel engines have evolved and
the new emissions-compliant, highpressure common rail (HPCR) power
plants have made specing and maintaining proper fuel filtration more important than ever. Now microscopic
debris and water levels that are measured on a molecular level can cause
significant engine damage. As new
engines join fleets with older units,
engine specialists and component
suppliers are working to get that message out before machine availability
averages are significantly impacted.
We have seen some catastrophic
failures, said Suken Patel, fuel injection production manager for Humble,
Texas-based M&D Distributors. A
common rail system is very differ-

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ent from earlier diesels because the


velocity of the fuel is a lot higher. Even
a 2.0 micron particle, when accelerated, creates a deep scar on anything
it hits. It erodes metal, digging deep
gullies that destroy injectors and can
cause fuel to flood the cylinder. In
other cases injector nozzles freeze up
because of contaminants.
Older systems pumped diesel fuel
as it was needed, but now there is fuel
already in the rail. When the injector
sticks open, fuel flows straight into the
cylinder and when the piston comes
back for the compression stroke it will
have nowhere to go. Liquids cant be
compressed. So theyll get a bent rod
or a whole lot of other damage.
M&D Distributors is surrounded by
the oil and gas industry. Founded in
1943 as Magneto and Diesel Injector
Service, the companys main focus
was and continues to be diesel fuel injection. Over the years

DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION September 2014

it added original equipment turbochargers such as Honeywell Turbo


Technologies (Garrett) and Cummins
Turbo Technologies (Holset), along
with engine parts from Federal Mogul
and Mahle Clevite. It is an authorized
remanufacturing center for several
well-known suppliers, including Bosch,
and its also become a filtration solution provider working with companies
such as the Racor Div. of Parker
Hannifin as well as Cummins Filtration.
A family-run company, M&D has
150 employees based at seven locations in Texas and one in Shreveport,
La. It also supports 40 fuel injection
and turbocharger dealers in those
states and Oklahoma.
While the sizes of the particulates
that can damage an engine are
tiny, other numbers from the oil and
gas industry are anything but small.
According to the monthly rig count
maintained by Baker Hughes, in July

INDUSTRY NEWS

M&D Distributors recently moved into a new 68,000 sq.ft. warehouse and headquarters in
Humble, Texas.
there were 1876 rigs actively exploring for or developing
oil or natural gas in the U.S., an increase of 110 from the
same time last year. Most of the rigs are in Texas, working
the Eagle Ford shale basin and the Midland-Odessa area in
the western part of the state.
At each well, three or four 69 L diesel engines generate
the electricity and hydraulic pressure thats required to drill
more than 10,000 ft. down and then out more than 5000 ft.
horizontally. Additionally, out on the oil patch hundreds of
diesel-engined machines from skid-steer loaders to one
ton pickups to Class 8 trucks are used to prepare the
site or as personnel carriers, welders, generators, pumps,
mobile offices and other applications.
One particular oilfield service company has nearly 100
rigs in place worldwide and is in the process of building
a couple dozen rigs on spec to cut delivery times in half.
Each of those rigs typically has three Caterpillar 3512 or
3516 diesel engines and a Caterpillar C18 diesel engine for
cold starts.
Out on the oilfield, drill rigs use every bit of power the big
engines can generate. We have a rig currently drilling at
only 16 ft. an hour in real hard stuff, said the firms maintenance shop supervisor, who requested that names not be
revealed. Theyre very deep. The drills require more power
the deeper the bit goes because theres so much weight on
it. It really puts a lug on the system.
Were using 1600 hp mud pumps and I have around
3000 hp available to that rig. If they have two 1600 hp
pumps, they cant run both at 100% because it will be
stroked out quickly.

The oilfield service company adheres to the engine manufacturers recommendation for rebuilds, but engines may
go to the shop earlier to be freshened up before theyre
transferred to another rig.
All of the engines come back here to be rebuilt, and
everything comes through me, the supervisor said. We
make the sure the intervals are up to par.
Every morning theyll send a report from the field for
each rig, and if a rig shows 30 minutes of downtime for
changing filters, thats fine. But if it shows that again for the
next two nights, that will throw a red flag and Ill make a
phone call. If it was because they got a bad batch of fuel,
when were down to the bottom of the tank we will have it
sucked out.
I dont want downtime because that costs $1000 an
hour. It gets expensive. But a lot of times the company man
will complain because we need to slow the pumps down
for 30 minutes to change the filters. Why beat me up?
Five filters may be $100 rather than thousands. Those
Cat engines are pulling off a 55,000 gal. tank of diesel sitting
next to each derrick. We have two big fuel filters at the tank
and there will be about 3200 gal. a day flowing through
them. As the big tanks sit
continued on page 64

September 2014 DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION

63

INDUSTRY NEWS

As an authorized Bosch fuel injection system repair facility, M&D has several Bosch EPS
815 test benches on which to test various parts to ensure they meet factory specifications.
out in a dusty field with condensation
and heat working on them, contamination just builds up.
Refinery-fresh fuel may already
contain some water. ASTM International considers diesel fuel to be dry
if it contains 500 ppm of water or
less. In 1000 gal. of diesel fuel the
allow able amount of water is a
half-gallon. Over time it will accumulate at the bottom of the fuel tank and
create an environment for hydrocarbon utilizing microorganisms, or HUM
bugs. The algae and bacteria produce
acids that are not good for injection
systems.
Complicating the contamination prevention challenge is that Tier 3 and 4
engines look a lot like previous
models, especially in a fleet with
hundreds of diesel engines. The new
engines are beginning to show up in
the oil field, and they treat them the
same way they did their older electronic and mechanical engines and then
all of a sudden the engines wont
run said Robert Ginsbach, central
territory manager for the Racor Div. of
Parker Hannifins Filtration Group.
Most fleets would like to standardize on a certain type of engine but that
is very hard to do. They have equipment scattered all over Texas. So
filtration is a huge part of what the oil
and gas industry lives on, at least on
the exploration and production side of it.

64

M&Ds original location is near the


Houston Ship Channel in the heart of
the citys industrial area, and during
its early years the company provided
injector and magneto repair service
to the ship and rail industries. Today,
those service capabilities blend with a
warehouse of original equipment and
aftermarket parts.
Late last year, the company moved
its headquarters from the original
(albeit much expanded) location on
Navigation Boulevard in Houston to a
new 68,000 sq.ft. corporate office and
distribution center in suburban Humble.
Known internally as the Navigation

location, the original building is still


open and continues to get the most
walk-in parts business. It is also home
to the companys factory-authorized
turbocharger reman operation.
We have a good relationship with
local engine distributors and everyone is able to get together and talk
about issues our customers are
having, said Jim Garner, vice president, Sales and Marketing, M&D
Distributors. We dont sell engines
and so we are not a competitor to
them. We are an asset. That comes
into play when we can call them in or
they call us in for what we do well:
stock, spec, repair and troubleshoot
fuel systems and turbos.
We partner with Racor, too. They
visit customers regularly and we are
available when were needed. We
have a technical background on the
fuel injection side, and have an
awareness of what happens downstream from the filter if users are not
taking care of fuel cleanliness. Weve
seen what can happen to the injectors
with dirty fuel.
In addition to the oilfield customers,
M&D supplies Racor filter products
and support to major engine distributors and packagers, marine fleets
and service facilities, boat builders,
industrial applications, over-the-road
truck fleets, diesel repair shops, fleets

Each remanufactured fuel injector is given a unique serial number that is linked to measurements and other information.

DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION September 2014

INDUSTRY NEWS

Work inside M&Ds fuel injection repair shop. M&D performs fuel injection service, i ncluding
factory-authorized repair, remanufacturing and testing of Bosch high-pressure common rail injectors.

and aviation fueling facilities.


M&D truly has the voice of customer, said Dan Walters, global marketing and sales manager for Racor in
Modesto, Calif. That is critical, and
they are able to get action from the
suppliers and OEMs.
In mining and agriculture, uptime
is a request even a demand. But
in oil and gas uptime is going to
happen with or without you. Uptime is
not debatable if you want to be part of
this industry. And these guys are part
of it, and they have a legacy in Houston. If we dont listen to them our
customers may not get the uptime
they need.

M&D
performs
fuel
injection
service, including factory-authorized
repair, remanufacturing and testing of
Bosch high-pressure common rail
injector production at its North
Shepherd Drive location on Houstons north west side. Three Bosch
EPS 815 test benches are dedicated
to HPCR production and an additional
six EPS 815 benches are used for
traditional fuel system production
and repair. The large number of test
benches means that a few can be
dedicated to testing certain components.
The company has also maintained
some of its older test equipment for
specific, typically low-volume work,
including machines that are dedicated
to vintage Cummins and Caterpillar
fuel systems.
We dont design anything and we
dont engineer anything, said Patel,
who manages the fuel injector
business for M&D. We provide a
quality reman product with the backing of manufacturers that give us all
of the technical knowledge we need,
and we only use genuine parts in all of
our remanufacturing processes.
At its shop on North Shepherd,
injectors are dissembled, cleaned
and tolerances are checked. Its at
this stage that any damage to
thecomponents is found, said Patel.
After replacing critical wear items, its

Filtration is a
huge part of what
the oil and gas
industry lives on, at
least on the explo
ration and produc
tion side of it.
- Robert Ginsbach,
central territory manager,
Racor Div. of Parker Hannifins
Filtration Group
continued on page 66
September 2014 DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION

65

INDUSTRY NEWS
reassembled in a clean room and
tested. Each injector is given a unique
serial number that links the part to
each measurement.
Most of the sealing surfaces in
injectors are metal to metal, because
system pressures are now up to
30,000 psi and youre not going to be
able to seal that with a gasket. Patel
said. With sealing thats metal to
metal the clearances for moving parts
are very tight. A 4 micron rock will
mess it up.
Today, some end users and manufacturers install fuel filters that are
good for 10 microns and a few use 2
micron filters. A decade or so ago the
best available was a 30 micron fuel
filter and that was all that was required
to protect diesel engines.
Now we think of that as a prefilter,
Garner said. In our mind that is whats
catching the minnows, cigarette butts
and bottle caps floating in the fuel. The
fuel systems back then could digest 30
micron contaminants with no problem.
Fuel injection has always been
sensitive to contamination, from the
abrasives, asphaltenes and other stuff
that is naturally found in diesel fuel.
But the newer the engine, the more
sensitive it is. I think operators and
manufacturers are finally realizing that
the filtration that is standard on a
typical diesel engine package may not
be adequate for a lot of requirements,
either from a capacity or filtration
quality side.
Some of the filters that have been
popular for combating the fuel contamination problem in M&Ds territory
includes the Racor FBO Series (a line
that was originally designed for the
aviation industry), the Turbine Series
of fuel filter/water separators and its
RVFS Series of filter vessels which
can be used as fuel prefilters,
coalescers or separators by changing
internal components.
It can take years for an OEM to
convince end users to install some
sort of prefiltration before their
vehicles fuel tank, Walters said.
Companies like M&D have a unique
role as independent specialists and

66

can solve filtration problems in a very


short amount of time. Racor is always
developing new technology for new
applications and new equipment, but
that needs to have someone pioneer it
out in the field. That is the key.
When we step back and look at
M&D, they are the front-runner of what
it looks like to be a premier distributor.
You can see that in how they invest in
inventory, but they are also able to go
out and find a solution using the latest
technology. With as fast-moving as oil
and gas is these days the key to our
success in this industry is having
someone on the ground to win the
battles.
There are battles, too. Rebuilt or
even brand new injectors may be
reinstalled in a system with dirty fuel
and will again fail. Fuel injectors are
very, very expensive filters, Garner
said.
Others simply dont understand why
they have to change the way theyve
always done it. They will tell us, Man,
I have been doing this for 30 years.
Who are you to tell me it cant be done
this way? Patel said. Sometimes it is
hard to explain to certain customers
that things have changed and they
need to change to keep their equipment running. dp

Current M&D owner Bruce Ingram is shown with


his mother outside of the companys original
location in Houston, Texas.

http://www.mddistributors.com
www.parker.com/racor

M&D Distributors operates a repair shop at one of its locations in Houston. Jim Garner, vice
president of Sales and Marketing for the company, said on-highway trucks and light-duty
pickups could also suffer out on the oilfields. From 2000 to 2010 most of these products
stayed out on the road, but now with the growth in oil and gas they are winding up on the
oilfields, Garner said. Now, every time users open their cap to fill up the truck or the fuel
supplier open caps on the tanks it attracts dust and dirt, making filters more important.

DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION September 2014

INDUSTRY NEWS

Together, we can
keep your engines running,
so you can keep America running.
The engines that power oil elds run the very same risk
as the engines theyre ultimately helping to power fuel
contaminated by water and microscopic particulates.
Especially with todays sophisticated, high pressure
engines ultra-clean, dry fuel is critical. Racor ltration
solutions and patented Aquabloc media are proven to
meet this demand at every stage and every ow rate from
oil eld to renery to injector. Racor ltration systems
keep the engines that fuel America powering on.

www.parker.com/racor 1 209 521 7860 racor@parker.com


Aquabloc is a trademark of Racor Division, Parker Hannin Corporation. 2014

September 2014 DIESEL PROGRESS NORTH AMERICAN EDITION

67

Worldwide Filtration Manufacturing Locations


North America

Europe

Asia Pacic

Compressed Air Treatment

Compressed Air Treatment

Australia

Filtration & Separation/Balston

domnick hunter Filtration & Separation

Haverhill, MA
978 858 0505
www.parker.com/balston

Gateshead, England
+44 (0) 191 402 9000
www.parker.com/dhfns

Castle Hill, Australia


+61 2 9634 7777
www.parker.com/australia

Finite Airtek Filtration


Airtek/domnick hunter/Zander

Parker Gas Separations

Lancaster, NY
716 686 6400
www.parker.com/faf

Finite Airtek Filtration/Finite


Oxford, MI
248 628 6400

Engine Filtration &


Water Purication
Racor
Modesto, CA
209 521 7860
www.parker.com/racor
Holly Springs, MS
662 252 2656
www.parker.com/racor
Beaufort, SC
843 846 3200
www.parker.com/racor

Racor Village Marine Tec.


Gardena, CA
310 516 9911
desalination.parker.com

Parker Sea Recovery


Carson, CA
310 637 3400
www.searecovery.com

Hydraulic Filtration
Hydraulic Filter
Metamora, OH
419 644 4311

Etten-Leur, Netherlands
+31 76 508 5300
www.parker.com/dhfns

Hiross Zander
Padova Business Unit
Padova, Italy
+39 049 9712 111
www.parker.com/hzd

Hiross Zander
Essen Business Unit
Essen, Germany
+49 2054 9340
www.parker.com/hzd

Engine Filtration &


Water Purication
Racor
Dewsbury, England
+44 (0) 1924 487 000
www.parker.com/rfde

Racor Research & Development


Stuttgart, Germany
+49 (0)711 7071 290-10
www.parker.com/rfde

Hydraulic Filter
Arnhem, Holland
+31 26 3760376
www.parker.com/hfde

Urjala Operation
Urjala, Finland
+358 20 753 2500
www.parker.com/hfde
Norfolk, England
+44 (0) 1842 763 299
www.parker.com/hfde

Parker Kittiwake

Process Filtration
domnick hunter Process Filtration
Oxnard, CA
805 604 3400
Madison, WI
608 824 0500
www.scilog.com
Phoenixville, PA
610 933 1600

Aerospace Filtration

Shanghai, China
+86 21 5031 2525
www.parker.com/china

India
Navi Mumbai, India
+91 22 651 370 8185
www.parker.com/india

Parker Fowler
Bangalore, India
+91 80 2783 6794
www.johnfowlerindia.com

Japan
Tokyo, Japan
+81 45 870 1522
www.parker.com/japan

Parker Techno
Osaka, Japan
+81 66 340 1600
www.techno.taiyo-ltd.co.jp

Korea
Hwaseon-City
+82 31 359 0852
www.parker.com/korea

Singapore

Hydraulic Filtration

Condition Monitoring Centre


Laval, QC Canada
450 629 9594
www.parkerfarr.com

China

West Sussex, England


+44 (0) 1903 731 470
www.kittiwake.com

Jurong Town, Singapore


+65 6887 6300
www.parker.com/singapore

Thailand
Bangkok, Thailand
+66 2186 7000
www.parker.com/thailand

Latin America
Parker Comercio Ltda.
Filtration Division
Sao Paulo, Brazil
+55 12 4009 3500
www.parker.com/br

Pan American Division

Parker Procal

Miami, FL
305 470 8800
www.parker.com/panam

Peterborough, England
+44 (0) 1733 232 495
www.kittiwake.com

Africa

Process Filtration
domnick hunter Process Filtration

Aeroport Kempton Park, South Africa


+27 11 9610700
www.parker.com/africa

Birtley, England
+44 (0) 191 410 5121

Velcon Filtration

Parker Twin Filter BV

Colorado Springs, CO
719 531 5855
www.velcon.com

Zaandam, Netherlands
+31(0)75 655 50 00

DP Article

Filtration Group Global


Headquarters
6035 Parkland Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44124-4141
phone 216 896 3000
fax 216 896 4021
www.parker.com/racor

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