Solutions in the Field

Process: Boiler Feed / Condensate

Product: Hot deionized water with 5% TPA

Temperature: 540°F

Pressure: 740 psi

Speed: 1800 rpm

Challenge

A chemical plant located in North Carolina had four (4) water-jacketed Ingersoll Rand Vaporizer circulating pumps utilizing a competitor’s multi-spring cartridge design. Seal life had a very poor performance of one to six weeks and maintenance on these pumps was averaging $100,000.00/year.

Solution

Flex-A-Seal evaluated the situation and provided a high pressure/high temperature stationary multi-spring cartridge design. This design incorporated a Spiral Trac™ throat bushing to assist in removing abrasives from the seal chamber. The pumping ring was mounted directly under a tangentially drilled connection, alleviating the inaccuracy of using the lantern ring connection. This drill-through in combination with the outlet, matched the pump rotation, greatly enhancing the pumping effect.

FAS Solution: Style 58 Heavy-Duty API Stationary Multi-spring Single Cartridge Seal with pumping ring and multi-point diffuser.

Result

FAS also changed the face combination to silicon carbide vs. antimony impregnated carbon to reduce friction and generate less heat at the faces. Finally, we worked with the customer to establish the correct API 682 Plan 23 piping configuration and supplied them with a high-efficiency heat exchanger. All four pumps have been converted to this design which has saved the customer thousands of dollars in maintenance. The average seal life of our seals in this application has been over two years per seal.

Product: Hot water

Temperature: 450°F (232°C)

Pressure: 400 psi

Speed: 1800 rpm

Challenge

A New York university was using a competitor component seal on their nine (9) Byron Jackson pumps in conjunction with a standard heat exchanger. Unfortunately, this configuration only provided a maximum run time of one (1) year.

Solution

The customer did not want to upgrade the existing heat exchangers, so we provided a cartridge design to work within the current parameters. In addition, we assisted the customer in properly cleaning and maintaining their heat exchangers to ensure the optimum conditions for seal operation.

FAS Solution: Style 58 Heavy-Duty API Stationary Multi-spring Single Cartridge Seal with pumping ring and multi-point diffuser.

Result

As part of the design upgrade, FAS changed the sealing faces to antimony-impregnated carbon versus silicon carbide as well as switched out the elastomers to hot-water compatible Aflas™. We also verified the seals were correctly piped to API 682 Plan 23. These basic changes extended the run time of the seals to over three (3) years.

Process: High Pressure Application

Product: Water with trace ethylene dichloride

Temperature: 450°F (232°C)

Pressure: 345 psi (23.8 bar)suction, 400 psi (27.6 bar)discharge

Challenge

A chemical process facility in Kentucky had problems sealing a high temperature / high pressure application on a Goulds 3910M pump. The product being pumped was 450ºF water with traces of ethylene dichloride – and saw pressures of 345 psi on suction and 400 psi on discharge. The facility’s previous sealing attempt utilized a competitor’s double cartridge seal; this method was averaging only one week of seal life.

Solution

Flex-A-Seal developed a stationary high pressure/high temperature multi-spring design with a pumping ring and multi-point injection arrangement. The addition of these two features allowed cooler media to circulate around the faces. We also incorporated a heat exchanger and moved a large part of the seal’s design outside the stuffing box to increase cooling efficiency even more.

FAS Solution: Style 58 Heavy-Duty API Stationary Multi-spring Single Cartridge Seal with pumping ring and multi-point diffuser.

Result

This engineered seal solved several of the customer’s concerns. Average seal life is one year and the customer continues to be pleased by the seal’s performance in this demanding application.

Product: Pond water

Temperature: Ambient

Pressure: 800 psi

Challenge

A New England ski area used an Ingersoll Rand 7-stage vertical turbine with mechanical packing for their snowmaking needs. This packed pump required substantial labor to maintain during the busy season and downtime was a concern due to the impact on the resort’s economy.

Solution

Flex-A-Seal designed a multiple spring cartridge and as a cost savings to the customer, utilized the existing packing gland in the design. FAS established pressure relief lines from the lantern ring and gland connections, mitigating the pressure on the seal faces. A Spiral Trac™ throat bushing dispersed the pond water’s grit and solids from the stuffing box, which created a cleaner operating environment for the seal faces.

FAS Solution: Style 58 Heavy-Duty API Stationary Multi-spring Single Cartridge Seal designed for existing gland and high pressure.

Result

The seal was installed at the beginning of the snowmaking season, and the resort was able to operate the entire season without any maintenance downtime. The resort noticed substantial economic savings since water leakage associated with packing was eliminated as well as the need for pump sleeve replacement due to packing wear.

Process: High Temperature

Product: Distilled Amine with trace copper / barrier fluid: water & glycol

Temperature: 572°F (300°C)

Pressure: 38.4 psi

Speed: 1750 rpm

Challenge

A large Brazilian chemical manufacturer utilized German-manufactured Rheinhute pumps for one of their most critical plant applications. The distilled amine media had traces of copper which caused excessive plating. This plating caused hang-up of the carbon and silicon carbide seal faces, generating extreme heat. The Rheinhute pump design had virtually no stuffing box which made piping very difficult. The end user relied on thermal siphoning only for barrier fluid movement. Amine also posed a chemical compatibility problem with the elastomers. Previous sealing methods utilized dynamic Teflon wedges which also hung up and did not perform well in the high temperatures. All of these issues coupled with operating temperatures which hovered around 572ºF (300ºC) meant current seal life averaged two (2) weeks.

Solution

Flex-A-Seal designed a tandem welded bellows cartridge with a two-piece gland. This design enabled us to build much of the seal outside the stuffing box, accommodating the special piping requirements and tight space requirements. Converting the face combination to tungsten vs. silicon addressed the abrasive copper traces. The addition of a pumping ring moved cooler barrier fluid within the seal. Static grafoil packing in the bellows solved the problems of elastomer hang up in high temperatures as well as any chemical attack.

FAS Solution: Style 78HT Tandem Rotating Edge-Welded Metal Bellows Cartridge Seal for High Temperature applications

Result

The customer was so satisfied after our seal had performed trouble-free for several months, they worked with FAS to design other solutions for their facility.

Product: Polyol solution

Temperature: 266°F (°C)

Pressure: 65 psi

Speed: 1180 rpm

Challenge

A major chemical manufacturer in West Virginia experienced years of sealing problems on a Goulds 3175M pump used as a reaction circulator. The media, a Polyol solution of propylene and ethylene oxides, attacked the elastomers. The pump was subject to pressure fluctuations and increased product viscosity due to temperature changes. Previous seal cartridges were lasting on an average of two weeks.

Solution

Flex-A-Seal provided double tandem solution. Grafoil packing withstood the chemical attack as well as the temperature fluctuations. High temperature rotating bellows easily handled the viscosity and temperature challenges. A pumping ring moved cooling fluid throughout the seal.

FAS Solution: Style 78HT Tandem Rotating Edge-Welded Metal Bellows Cartridge Seal for High Temperature applications

Result

The end user saw lowered emissions levels and increased seal life of over a year between plant re-conditionings and now utilize several of these seals within the facility.

Product: Dimethyl Phthalate

Temperature: 450°F

Challenge

A North Carolina chemical plant utilized a succession of pusher seals to seal an expensive media - dimethyl phthalate at 450º F (232ºC). They experienced consistent problems with elastomer failure, averaging two weeks per seal. The end user was very concerned about the economic and environmental repercussions of the seal failure.

Solution

We developed a non-elastomeric, high temperature cartridge which eliminated all secondary packing material except for a Teflon®-jacketed sleeve O-ring. We also incorporated a unique multibellows configuration design for self-alignment. Since the product hardens when cooled, we positioned the faces inside the box under the steam jacket, where the product would stay liquidified as long as possible.

FAS Solution: ECON Stationary Bellows Single Cartridge Seal

Result

The customer is very pleased with the solution - the seals are still in operation and significant economic and environmental consequences have been alleviated.

Process: Water Treatment

Product: Municipal Wastewater

Temperature: Ambient

Pressure: 150 psi

Speed: n/a

Challenge

A large wastewater treatment plant in Washington, DC utilized Morris MF80 sludge pumps with 3 ¾" shafts. A seal installation required pulling out the shaft and bearings, bolting the seal to the pump, then feeding the shaft back through the seal. This entire process typically took the maintenance staff two full production days.

Solution

The Style 85 fully split cartridge mechanical seal was the choice for this application. The Flex-A-Seal engineering team presented the Style 85’s impressive success rate in municipalities all over the country. And after a demonstration of the Style 85’s easy installation, plant personnel were eager to try this split seal solution.

FAS Solution: Style 85 Fully Split Cartridge Mechanical Seal

Result

Flex-A-Seal engineers were on-site for the first installation which was performed by the maintenance crew in (15) minutes. This seal has run over one year without incident and the facility is very pleased with the seal’s performance.

Product: Descaling Wastewater

Temperature: 200°F

Pressure: < 150 psi

Speed: n/a

Challenge

A US steel mill in the Midwest used Goulds vertical pumps to process hot, dirty water from their descaling process. The mill operators were unhappy with the number of seal failures and the lack of technical support as they attempted to correct the issues.

Solution

A mill supervisor reached out to our distributor in the area who quickly called a meeting with Flex-A-Seal representatives and mill personnel. We proposed a Style 85 fully split cartridge mechanical seal and explained the installation and maintenance benefits. We also assured the assembled mill staff that a Flex-A-Seal agent would be available on-site when requested to troubleshoot any problems.

FAS Solution: Style 85 Fully Split Cartridge Mechanical Seal

Result

Mill personnel installed the first set of Style 85 seals in less than 30 minutes per seal. The end user is extremely pleased with how the seals have performed as well as our efforts to address their frustrations with their previous sealing method.