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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 4

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 4: Which services, which machines, which parts to upgrade?

Review

In the first part of this series, we discussed how upgrading your pumps with composite wear parts can help avoid galling and seizing, even when a pump runs dry. 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 ringsthrottle bushings, and center-stage bushings increases 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.

In Part 3, we discussed how reducing the clearance in your pump also improves pump efficiency, leading to a significant reduction in the life cycle cost of the pump.

Today, we start the discussion on how you can upgrade pumps, by looking at the specific services and components to upgrade with Vespel® CR-6100.

Service Conditions

Vespel® CR-6100 is manufactured from carbon fibers and Teflon™ PFA resin. It is chemically resistant to nearly all process fluids used in the hydrocarbon processing and petrochemical industries. Vespel® CR-6100 has been used in a wide range products including (but not limited to): refined hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, LPG, amines, sour water, caustic, ammonia, MEK, demineralized water, hydrofluoric acid, and boiler feed water.

The temperature range of Vespel® CR-6100 is cryogenic to 500 F(260 C). It has been used in liquid methane and ethane pumps at -230 F (-150 C), along with liquid nitrogen and liquid hydrogen at even lower temperatures. At the upper end of the temperature range, Vespel® CR-6100 has been used in a wide range of hydrocarbon processing services such as gas oil and naphtha.

In general, composite materials are used for refined process fluids and relatively clean utility services. Vespel® CR-6100 is superior to metallic components in avoiding seizure, running with tighter clearance, and resisting wear due to internal contact between rotating and stationary components. Conversely, if you are dealing with a slurry service where abrasive wear is the main problem facing the pump, composite materials have some limitations. Please contact Boulden to discuss your application conditions.

Which Components

Vespel® CR-6100 will generally be used as the stationary wear parts in the pump. As we noted in the previous parts of this series, our objective is to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and replace them with metal-to-composite contact points. Vespel® CR-6100 is used for the stationary parts because it is stronger in compression than in tension. The rotating parts in the pump remain metal–with no special requirements for surface finishes or hardness beyond the original design of the metal parts.

Table 1 shows which parts are typically converted to Vespel® CR-6100 based on the pump type:

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

Beyond centrifugal pumps, Vespel® CR-6100 can be used for a wide range of product-lubricated components such as agitator bearingsAPI Separator bearings, and gear pump bearings.

Until Next Time

In the next several segments of this series, we will discuss how to install Vespel® CR-6100 by pump type, discussing the differences between radially and axially split pumps, specific considerations for vertically suspended pumps, and some unique situations you might encounter.

Until then, 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 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

Boulden Company

Boulden Company

 

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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