Tag Archives: composite wear components

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

 

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The Final Installation Steps: Length and Clearance

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsSetting the final dimensions of your DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100 component

Review

We have discussed how to measure your pump, prepare the metal parts, and establish the press fit for your Vespel® CR-6100 installation. The final two dimensions you need to establish are the part length and the clearance.

The Part Length

Vespel® CR-6100 has an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion in the radial plane (perpendicular to rotation). This is one of the principal reasons it performs so well in centrifugal pump components. The low coefficient of thermal expansion is achieved through the use of radially-oriented, long carbon fibers.

Conversely, the coefficient of thermal expansion along the axis is relatively high. Therefore, the part length for a Vespel® CR-6100 component should account for the axial thermal expansion at operating temperature. Table 4 of our installation guide provides the details on how to make this adjustment.

Table 4 of our installation guide provides the details on how to make this adjustment.

The Clearance

The clearance for the part is set depending on the diameter and component type. Tables 2a and 2b in the installation guide show the clearance recommendations for horizontal pump components such as pump wear rings, throttle bushings, center bushings, inter-stage rings, balance bushings, and throat bushings.

Tables 2a and 2b provide recommended minimum clearance for horizontal pump components.

Tables 3a and 3b show the clearance recommendations for vertical pump components like vertical pump shaft bearings, wear rings, and throat bushings.

Tables 3a and 3b provide recommended minimum clearances for vertically suspended pump parts.

The best way to set the clearance is to press the component into place, and then final machine the bore to the desired clearance. This is shown in steps 5a-7a in our installation guide, pages 8-9.

Where final machining after the press fit is not practical, you can design the component to have the correct clearance after the press fit. For most component geometries, you can assume the Vespel® CR-6100 will reduce at a 1:1 ratio with the press fit. This method is shown in steps 5b-7b in our installation guide, page 9.

Some sites have implemented a hybrid method. They measure the inside diameter of the Vespel® CR-6100 case wear ring after installation, and then machine the metal impeller wear ring to set the desired clearance.

Conclusions

Installing Vespel® CR-6100 is an easy upgrade to make your pumps more reliable, safe, and efficient. Follow the steps in our  installation guide and you can make your pump even better than the day it was new. If you need material, Boulden carries inventory of stock sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

Until next time, please feel free to contact Boulden with your application details or to request a quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

Helpful 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

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The Interference Fit – Setting the interference fit value for DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100

The interference fit value for DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100

Review

We have discussed how to measure your pumps and prepare the metal parts. The next step is to machine the DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 part to have the correct dimensions.

Remember, Vespel® CR-6100 is used for stationary wear parts like wear rings, throttle bushings, and vertical pump shaft bearings. The rotating components running against the Vespel® CR-6100 remain metal. The Vespel® CR-6100 components are installed with an interference fit (aka “press fit”).

 

Installation Guide for Vespel CR-6100

The Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100 Tables 1a (Imperial) and 1b (Metric) outline the interference fit values for a Vespel® CR-6100 component based on diameter and the pump operating temperature.

If you only want the right value, follow the guide. You can stop reading and contact Boulden whenever you need material or if you would like to request a quote. If you want to know how we arrived at the values, continue reading.

 

Low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Vespel® CR-6100 has an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion–about 60% lower than carbon steel in the radial plane. This property is one of the reasons Vespel® CR-6100 can survive pumps running dry and avoiding seizure.

The low coefficient of thermal expansion is a main factor in the interference fit value. At elevated temperatures, the metal parts will thermally expand more than the Vespel® CR-6100 parts. Therefore, as pump operating temperature increases, the interference fit increases.

 

Vespel CR-6100 Low Modulus of Elasticity

Vespel® CR-6100 parts press in relatively easily due to a very low modulus of elasticity. Vespel® CR-6100 can be used in temperatures up to 500 F (260 C). At maximum operating temperature, the recommended interference fit can be quite high. Due to the low modulus, the material generally presses in without issue.

 

Small Pilot Fit

To facilitate the large interference fit, machine a small pilot or “step” on the leading edge (Figure 1) of the Vespel® CR-6100 component. This will help the part sit squarely in the bore as it is being pressed in (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Pilot Fit on leading edge to facilitate press fit

Figure 2: Press fit operation

No Pins or Screws Required

Once Vespel® CR-6100 is installed with a press fit and a shoulder to retain the part against differential pressure, no further retention of the components is required. There are thousands of pumps running for many years with Vespel® CR-6100 components without retaining pins or screws.

If you insist on using retaining pins with Vespel® CR-6100, contact Boulden and we will discuss the possible designs given your part geometry.

 

Conclusions

When installing Vespel® CR-6100, make sure you are using the correct interference fit. Download our installation guide for the full installation procedure. If you need material, Boulden carries inventory of stock sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

Until next time, please feel free to contact Boulden with your application details or to request a quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

Helpful 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

If you need any material or have any questions. Please contact us today. Until next time.

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

 

 

 

 

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Boulden International, S.ar.L – Ellange, Luxembourg | +352 26 39 33 99

Upgrade to DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100: 100%

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsThere is great satisfaction in doing a job all the way.

100%

In South Africa, when you make a statement that someone agrees with, they say “100 %”–similar to how other English speakers say “absolutely.” With that in mind, we want the pumps upgraded to Vespel® CR-6100 to be upgraded 100% whenever possible.

 

Review

 

When you upgrade your pumps to Vespel® CR-6100, there are two steps:

  • Eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump
  • Reduce the running clearance (of wear rings, center bushings, and throttle bushings)

Upgrading your pumps to Vespel CR-6100 Step #1

Our recommendation when upgrading to Vespel® CR-6100 is to convert all of the stationary wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100. All of the rotating parts remain metal, thus eliminating all of the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump. This essentially eliminates the risk of pump seizure.

 

Yet, once in a while, customers try to make a small change instead of fully upgrading the pump. The three partial upgrades we run into are:

Overhung Pumps

Older pumps with long slender shafts (high L/D ratios) create problems for mechanical seals due to excessive shaft deflection. If you want to increase the rotor stability of these pumps using the wear parts, you will want to upgrade the wear rings to Vespel® CR-6100 and reduce the clearance.

 

The reason is that the Lomakin Effect-the hydraulic force which stabilizes the rotor-is driven by differential pressure and the surface speed at the differential pressure interface. Wear rings have significant differential pressure and high velocity, creating a lot of stability from the Lomakin Effect. Throat bushings? Not so much.

 

Horizontal Multi-Stage Pumps

If a horizontal multi-stage pump like a boiler feed water pump seizes, it will usually occur at the center bushing or throttle bushing, depending on the pump type. These two components generally have the tightest clearance in the pump and will be the first points of contact. In these services, there is a temptation to only upgrade the one or two components which seized.

 

While this approach has been successful in reducing pump seizures, there are some limitations. Metal-to-metal contact points remain and thus there is still a possibility of seizure. If all of the wear parts are upgraded, the risk of seizure is essentially eliminated. Furthermore, the wear rings also add to the rotor stability and efficiency of these pumps. Upgrading the wear rings as well as the center and throttle bushings will make for a much better pump. Especially if you use the Boulden PERF-Seal™ design (patent-pending).

Two-stage kerosene pump with all the components upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100 and the PERF-Seal™ design

 

 

Center Bushing of a 2-stage pump.

 

Vertically Suspended Pumps

Vespel® CR-6100 is a great material for vertically suspended pump shaft bearings in LPG, butane, natural gas liquids (NGL), and other flashing products. It can survive running dry at start up with limited wear. It doesn’t break like a carbon part. This application for Vespel® CR-6100 is so common that Boulden carries a huge inventory of standard stock sizes for the dimensions typically used for shaft bearings.

 

What some users miss is the opportunity to also upgrade the case rings of these pumps and reduce the clearance. This addition to the upgrade eliminates the other potential seizing points in the pump. Furthermore, reducing the clearance increase the pump efficiency and reduces the NPSHR–all of this making the pump easier to operate.

 

In Summary

The only partial upgrade above which we do not recommend is trying to stabilize a rotor with a throat bushing. In our experience, this approach is marginally successful at best. The other partial upgrades have worked and there are situations where they are necessary. But, given the choice, why not do the job 100%?

 

The main point is to recognize that the maximum improvement in reliability, safety, and efficiency will be achieved if you upgrade all of the wear parts (Table 1) in your pump to Vespel® CR-6100.

Table 1: Components to upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100

Overhung Pumps Between Bearings Pumps Vertically Suspended Pumps
Case Wear Rings Case Wear Rings Case Wear Rings
Throat Bushings Throat Bushings Throat Bushings
Inter-Stage Bushings Line-shaft bearings  
Center-Stage Bushings Bowl bearings  
Throttle Bushings Bottom bushings

Contact Boulden Today for your Vespel® CR-6100 Needs!

If you have a pump operating at less than 500 F (260 C) where you want to improve the reliability or efficiency, contact Boulden today. We can provide you all of the details required for your upgrade and have the Vespel® CR-6100 material required for the upgrade in stock in a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery.

 

Helpful Links:

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

3MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study

 

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The Effect of Wear Ring Clearance on NPSHR

Recommended reading from the 32nd Pump Users Symposium, 2016

A Short Break

In recent weeks, we have discussed how an upgrade to composite wear rings allows you to avoid pump seizure, and therefore reduce the wear ring clearance in your pump. This reduction in clearance increases the Lomakin Effect in the pump and improves pump efficiency.

One thing we did not discuss is that reducing the wear ring clearance also reduces the pump NPSHR.

In the past, discussion of the relationship between pump NPSHR, wear ring clearance, and cavitation has led to many questions. Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are somewhat restricted due to limited testing on this topic.

Last year, there was a paper which provided some clear data on this subject. The authors used a pump test stand, two different impeller configurations, and wear rings at various clearances. We recommend taking a look at the following paper for greater technical insight into the relationship between wear ring clearance and pump NPSHR.

The Influence of Impeller Wear Ring Geometry on Suction Performance

by Thomas Leibner, David Cowan, and Simon Bradshaw

Published at the 32nd Pump Users Symposium

Houston, TX, September 2016

Until Next Time

In the near future, we will return to our series on upgrading pumps with Vespel® CR-6100, addressing how to upgrade specific pump configurations.

Contact Boulden For More Information

Until then, if you have a pump operating at less than 500 F (260 C) where you want to reduce the NPSHR, 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

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 8

Upgrading pumps with composite wear components

Part 8: Vertically Suspended Pumps (API Types VS1–3, VS6, VS7)

Review

To date, we have addressed how to install DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 into the various horizontal pump types to eliminate metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and minimize the risk of pump seizure. This allows a reduction of clearance which improves efficiency and rotor stability.

This segment will discuss how to use Vespel® CR-6100 in vertically suspended pump types (API types VS1-VS7). These types can be further broken down as “discharge through column” (VS1, VS2, VS3, VS6, VS7) and “separate discharge” (VS4 and VS5).

Which Parts?

In vertically suspended pumps, we can upgrade the same components as horizontal pumps (wear ringsthrottle bushingsthroat bushings) for the same reasons-to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact areas in the pump and reduce the clearance resulting in improved reliability and efficiency.

Today we will focus on the components which are unique to vertically suspended pumps-the vertical pump shaft bearings: line shaft bearings, bowl bearings, and bottom bearings. Vespel® CR-6100 is ideally suited to this application, particularly in services which suffer from a lack of lubricity or may run dry at startup. Vespel® CR-6100 does not seize like metal alloys, it can survive running dry, and it can withstand mechanical impacts and thermal shocks so it doesn’t break like carbon or graphite.

Multi-stage LPG pump bowl assemblies being upgraded to Vespel® CR-6100.

Multi-stage LPG pump bowl assemblies being upgraded to Vespel® CR-6100.

One thing of note is that vertical pump shaft bearings do not have differential pressure across the parts, therefore, they do not impact pump efficiency. Because the clearance of these components tends to be rather tight, to begin with, a further reduction in clearance can easily lead to assembly issues with a limited upside associated with the tighter clearance. Therefore, our recommendation for these parts is to install the Vespel® CR-6100 into the spiders or bowl assemblies with the press fit shown in our installation guide, then final machine to the original design clearance.

In our installation guide, you will find two clearance charts–one for horizontal pump types, one for vertical pump types. Because we don’t want the wear ring clearance tighter than the shaft bushing clearance, we simply recommend making the wear ring clearance 0.002″ (0.05 mm) larger than the shaft bushing clearance in these pumps. In short, we highly recommend that you download the Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100.

Discharge Through Column

Vertically suspended pumps are often selected because the service offers poor suction conditions such as light hydrocarbon service or condensate. In a long-term study, a refinery upgraded 22 vertical pumps to Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts. The pumps were operating in light hydrocarbons, flare knockout drum, and several stop/start services like product transfer. In the 5 years prior to upgrading the pumps, this population of pumps comprised many “bad actors” with poor reliability. In the 5 years after upgrading the pumps to Vespel® CR-6100, there were only 8 repairs on the entire population of pumps and the MTBR of this group of pumps increased to more than 10 years!

The combination of excellent reliability with ease of machining and installation along with immediate stock availability has made Vespel® CR-6100 the material of choice in these applications.

Vertically suspended pumps assembled with Vespel®CR-6100 shaft bearings, wear rings, bowl bushings and bottom bearings

Vertically suspended pumps assembled with Vespel®CR-6100 shaft bearings, wear rings, bowl bushings, and bottom bearings

Vespel® CR-6100 can handle significant periods of dry running with minimal wear, making it easier to bring the pump online. When you upgrade your wear rings to Vespel® CR-6100 and reduce the clearance, you might also find the pump easier to start due to a reduction in the NPSHR (Net Positive Suction Head Required).

To be continued…

In the next two issues, we will address vertically suspended pumps with a separate discharge (API Type VS4) and then we will discuss installation and assembly issues unique to vertically suspended pumps.

Until then, if you have a vertical pump which is giving you headaches, consider upgrading the wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100. Contact us today. We have the Vespel® CR-6100 in stock in a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery to nearly anywhere in the world.
For details on installing Vespel® CR-6100 into nearly any centrifugal pump type, download the Boulden Installation Guide.

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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