Tag Archives: avoid galling and seizing

Make Your Vertical Pump Shaft Bearings Last Longer

DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100 resists seizing, can run dry, has high impact resistance, and a low wear rate for a long life under a wide range of process conditions.

Vertically Suspended Pumps

Vertically suspended pump types (API types VS1-VS7) use long, flexible shafts which are supported by a series of product-lubricated shaft bearings. Vespel® CR-6100 is a great upgrade for these components.

 

Typical Vespel Services

Vertically suspended pumps can be divided into two general categories: discharge through column (API Types VS1, VS2, VS3, VS6, and VS7) and separate discharge (VS4 and VS5).

 

Discharge through column pumps tend to be used in light, flashing products like butane, LPG, and natural gas liquids, or in water condensate or cooling water intake service. In flashing services, it is not uncommon for these pumps to run dry temporarily at start up, which can be a challenge for the shaft bushings. In many of these pumps the flexible shaft can create very large loads, leading to high wear rates of traditional materials.

 

Separate discharge pumps tend to be used as sump pumps. In API Type VS4 pumps, the shaft bearings can run dry at start-up until the flushing fluid arrives. Sometimes, the external water flush is turned off; sometimes the flush lines from the process fluid are plugged; sometimes the bearing grease is insufficient. In a chemical sump, the mix of chemicals can cause corrosion issues.

Vespel® CR-6100 Replaces Traditional Materials

Most vertical pump shaft bearings are made from either bronze/cast iron, carbon/graphite based materials, or stainless steel alloys. Bronze/cast iron bearings can have a high wear rate. Carbon/graphite bearings can break. Stainless steel bearings can seize.

 

Vespel® CR-6100 can replace all of these materials in process conditions from cryogenic to 500 F (260 C). Vespel® CR-6100 is low friction with a low wear rate. It is durable and impact resistant so it resists breakage during installation, transport, and operation. Plus, Vespel® CR-6100 does not seize like metal parts and is capable of surviving the run dry conditions which can occur with the flashing process fluids.

 

Documented Results

Consider the results from a long term study at an oil refinery. The plant upgraded 22 vertical pumps to Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts. The pumps were operating in light hydrocarbons, flare knock out drum, and several stop/start services like product transfer, comprising many “bad actors” in the plant. Looking at the number of repairs within this population for 5 years before Vespel® CR-6100 and 5 years after, the plant found the following.

 22 Vertical Pumps Number of Pump Repairs MTBR for the Population
5 Years Before

Vespel® CR-6100

40 2.75 years
5 Years After 

Vespel® CR-6100

8 13.75 years

Final Notes

Next time you are rebuilding a vertically suspended pump, consider upgrading the shaft bearings to Vespel® CR-6100. Contact Boulden with your process conditions and we will be happy to let you know if Vespel® CR-6100 is a good fit for your pump.

 

The Vespel® CR-6100 installation guide will walk you through the installation process. Vespel® CR-6100 is easy to machine and install, and Boulden is always happy to help if you have any questions. Finally, we have large quantities of Vespel® CR-6100 in stock and ready for immediate delivery in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

 

Helpful Vespel Links:

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

3MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study

 

Todays Photo

Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

 

Contact Us Today To Learn More About Vespel and Boulden Company!

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 3

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Part 3: Reduce Clearance–Improve Pump Efficiency

Welcome to Part 3 in our series on upgrading pumps with composite wear parts.

In the first part of this series, we discussed how upgrading your pumps with composite wear parts can help avoid galling and seizing. Because composite parts do not gall or seize like metal parts, this allows you to reduce the clearance at these components in your pump.

In Part 2, we discussed how reducing the clearance at the wear rings, throttle bushings, and center-stage bushings creates a stabilizing force in your pump called The Lomakin Effect. This force helps to reduce vibration and shaft deflection, leading to longer seal and bearing life in your pumps.

Today, we will discuss how reducing the clearance in your pump also improves pump efficiency.

Background

According to a major centrifugal pump OEM, energy consumption accounts for 44% of the life cycle cost of a centrifugal pump. You can reduce this cost by upgrading the wear components to a composite material like Vespel® CR-6100 and reducing the clearance in your pump.

The specific components where you want to reduce the clearance are the pump wear rings, inter-stage rings, center-stage bushing, and throttle bushing. These components form the barriers between high-pressure and low-pressure areas within the pump. The differential pressure across these components creates internal recirculation within the pump, resulting in a loss of pump efficiency (Figure 1).

 

Leakage wear rings

Leakage past the wear rings (QL) creates efficiency loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Pumps Produce the Biggest Gains?
When you upgrade these components to Vespel® CR-6100, you can typically reduce the clearance by 50% compared to the API minimum for metal parts. If you reduce the clearance by 50%, you reduce the internal recirculation by approximately 50%, leading to a significant efficiency gain.

If we consider only efficiency gains, horizontal multi-stage pumps usually offer the best return on investment from an upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100 with reduced clearance. These pumps have multiple leak paths across wear rings, inter-stage rings, center bushings, and throttle bushings. Because they have many stages, these pumps also tend to consume a lot of power. Consider the following cases where process plants have reduced the operating costs of their multi-stage horizontal pumps:

  • A power station upgraded a 3MW boiler feed water pump with Vespel® CR-6100 along with the Boulden PERF-Seal™ design and reduced clearance and recorded a 7% efficiency gain compared to a newly rebuilt pump with original clearances.
  • A refinery upgraded their hydrocracker charge pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 along with the Boulden PERF-Seal™ design and reduced clearance and recorded 4% more through put to their hydrocracker-a hugely profitable upgrade.
  • A product pipeline company upgraded their LPG shipping pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 and reduced clearance, resulting in a 4% efficiency gain.

Another area to consider is process pumps which are marginally undersized, requiring parallel pump operation to achieve 100% of the target process rate. Sometimes, a modification as simple as reducing the wear ring clearance can get you back to one-pump operation with a full-capacity spare pump.

The PERF-Seal™

To further increase the efficiency gain associated with reduced clearance, the components can be modified with the Boulden PERF-Seal™ design. Internal testing has shown that the PERF-Seal™ creates an additional reduction in flow across throttle bushings, center-stage bushings, and wear rings beyond what can be achieved with reduced clearance alone.

Conclusion

When you eliminate the metal-to-metal contact surfaces in your pumps and use Vespel® CR-6100 stationary wear components, you can then reduce the clearance. This reduction in clearance improves pump efficiency and lowers the operating cost of the pump. Numerous field examples exist where customers have saved tens of thousands of dollars on their annual pump operating costs with this simple upgrade.

If you have a pump where improved efficiency will save you money, contact Boulden today. We have a huge inventory of Vespel® CR-6100 standard sizes in stock ready for immediate shipment almost anywhere in the world.

For application and installation details, download the Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

Camps Bay Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Boulden Company

Boulden Company

Boulden Company

Conshohocken, PA, USA

1-610-825-1515

Boulden International, S.ar.L

Ellange, Luxembourg

+352 26 39 33 99