Tag Archives: gear pump bearings

14 Reasons to Avoid Increased Wear Ring Clearance

If you increase the clearance, the long-term reliability and efficiency of the pump will suffer.

Happy Summer!

We hope you have had a chance to enjoy your summer holidays. From New Orleans to Narvik, it’s hot out there, so be safe, and wear sunscreen.

In our messages, we frequently highlight how Vespel® CR-6100 does not seize and therefore allows you to reduce the clearance at the wear parts in your pumps: wear rings, inter-stage rings, throttle bushings, and center bushings.

Today we want to look at things from another perspective–negative effects which can happen to your pump when you increase the clearance at the wear parts.

 

What can happen when you increase clearance?

If a process plant has a problem with a pump seizing during operation or galling during commissioning, the traditional response has been to increase the clearance at the wear parts.

Metal Case Ring After a Boiler Feed Pump Seizure

 

Although increasing the clearance might make the pump operable in the short term, there are several negative consequences from increased clearance.

Hydraulic Effects Mechanical Effects
Lower head Reduced rotor stability
Lower flow Potentially higher vibration
Lower efficiency–increased power consumption Potentially higher shaft deflection
Higher NPSHR–greater risk of cavitation Increased risk of shaft breakage
Higher motor load Potentially shorter seal life
Need to run steam turbines at higher speed Potentially shorter bearing life
Higher likelihood of needing to run pumps in parallel Higher risk of motor over-heating or tripping from excessive load

So, while you don’t want your pumps to seize, increasing the clearance can create some major issues. At a minimum increased clearance drives up the operating cost of the pump and likely compromises the long term reliability of the machine.

 

The Poster Pump

A while back, one of our clients had an 11-stage horizontal pump which was originally supplied with metal wear components. The pump seized soon after start-up, and the recommendation from the OEM was to increase the clearance. The pump seized again. The second recommendation was to use a “non-galling” metal alloy to address the problem. The pump seized again. The clearance was increased one more time. When the pump was started again, the overall pump vibration levels were beyond alarm limits. The multiple increases in clearance had resulted in a loss of rotor stability to the point that the pump was no longer operable.

The end of the story will be in our next email…

 

Conclusion

Until next time, if you have a pump in your shop which has galled or seized, contact Boulden to discuss an upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100. We will be happy to work through the details of the upgrade with you and we have material in stock and available for immediate shipment.

 

Helpful Links for Vespel and Pump Case Studies:

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

3MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study

Today’s Photo’

Rossio Square in Lisbon Portugal with famous wave pattern stone pavement.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 3

boulden1

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