Tag Archives: lower vibration in centrufugal pumps

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components: Part 3

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.

Centrifugal Pump 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).

Loss of pump efficiency

Leakage past the wear rings (QL) creates efficiency loss

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Which Pumps Produce the Biggest Gains?

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 throughput 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.

Today’s Photo

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components: Part 2

Part 2: Reduce Clearance – The Lomakin Effect

Welcome back to our series on upgrading pumps with composite materials. In part 1, we discussed how using composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100 in your pumps allows you to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and minimize the risk of pump seizure:

  • In the shop during assembly
  • In the field during alignment
  • During slow-roll, start-up, and shut down
  • During off-design events like dry-running or low flow

Reducing Clearance – The Lomakin Effect

Minimizing the risk of seizure in your pump sets the stage for reducing the clearance at the wear parts in your pump. Reducing clearance can be a significant pump reliability upgrade due to a phenomenon known as the “Lomakin Effect“.

Your Wear Rings are Bearings

During pump operation, the flow created by differential pressure across the wear parts in the pump (wear rings, throttle bushings) creates a force called The Lomakin Effect. The force arises from an unequal pressure distribution around the circumference of the component during periods of rotor eccentricity. This force counteracts shaft deflection in the pump.

Figure 1 shows how shaft deflection creates this force. As the fluid enters the clearance between the rotor and wear component, it accelerates as it passes from the high pressure end to the low pressure end. Due to the eccentricity of the rotor, there is more clearance on one side of the wear part than the other. There will be more flow and a locally higher velocity on the side of the wear ring with more clearance and lower velocity on the side of the ring with less clearance. Higher velocity results in lower pressure; lower velocity results in higher pressure, creating a net corrective force which acts in the direction opposite of the shaft deflection.
In other words, when your pump experiences shaft deflection, there is a hydraulic “stiffness” (Lomakin Stiffness) which is generated to counteract the shaft deflection.

The Lokamin Effect

Figure 1: The Lokamin Effect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Vespel® CR-6100 you can typically reduce the clearance at the pump wear rings by 50% compared to the API recommended minimum for metal wear parts. The Lomakin Stiffness is inversely proportional to clearance; therefore, a 50% reduction in clearance doubles this force.

Potential benefits for your pumps include:

  • Less shaft deflection
  • Lower vibration levels
  • Fewer mechanical seal leaks
  • Longer bearing life

Which Pumps?

The Lomakin Effect is generally beneficial to all centrifugal pumps, but some pump types often show significant vibration reductions and reliability improvements with reduced clearance:

  • Multi-stage horizontal pumps
  • Older overhung pumps with long, thin shafts (high L/D ratios)
  • Two-stage overhung pumps

Conclusion

Reducing the clearance at the wear components can be a major reliability upgrade for your pumps. The reduced clearance increases The Lomakin Effect which improves pump rotor stability. The net result is a pump which runs with potentially lower vibration, fewer seal leaks, and longer bearing life.

Reducing the clearance also increases pump efficiency, which we will discuss in Part 3.

Until then, if you are working on a pump with a long, thin, flexible rotor, contact Boulden to discuss upgrading the wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100 and reducing the clearance. We have a huge stock of Vespel® CR-6100 standard sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore available for immediate delivery to your workshop.

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

Today’s Photo

Le Louvre, Paris, France

Le Louvre, Paris, France

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 10

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 10: Vertically Suspended Pump Installation Tips

Review

We have discussed how upgrading your pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 helps to eliminate pump seizures, allowing you to reduce wear ring clearance, which improves pump efficiency and improves pump reliability by increasing the Lomakin Effect in the pump.

Quality repair and installation practices are an essential counterpart to the success of upgrading pumps with Vespel® CR-6100. This is true of all pump types–horizontal and vertical. When you are finished with the overhaul, the rotor should turn freely.

Vertically suspended pumps with their multiple fits and pilots require some additional consideration. To ensure the best possible results in these pumps, below are some tips which have been passed on to us from our customers.

Vespel CR-6100 for LPG Pumps

Vertically suspended LPG pumps fitted with Vespel® CR-6100.

 

Mechanical Alignment of Pump Components

Multi-stage vertical pumps pose a challenge for the shop performing the overhaul because there are multiple fits and pilots. Keeping the whole pump assembly concentric and square will give you the best results with your upgrade.

Good practices should be followed from the machine shop through the final alignment in the field.

In the machine shop:

  • Ensure all pilot fits within the pump are 0.002″ (0.05 mm) or better.
  • Ensure all mating faces of assembly elements are square.
  • If possible, assemble the pump in a vertical position.
  • Install Vespel® CR-6100 shaft bearings, bowl bearings, and wear rings, then final machine with the lathe indexed to the pilot fit of the part-this will ensure all bores at wear interfaces are concentric within the assembly. (Alternatively, all wear part fits can be machined concentric to the pilot fits prior to the installation of the Vespel® CR-6100 components.)
  • Install the Vespel® CR-6100 shaft bearings with the same clearance as the original design for the pump. If the original clearance is not available, See Table 3a (imperial) or 3b (metric) in the Boulden Installation Guide for recommended minimum clearances for vertically suspended pump shaft bearings.
  • When the assembly is complete, make sure the rotor turns freely within the pump with no hard rubs. If there are hard rubs, disassemble, try to find the source of the rub and correct the concentricity of the misaligned component. If clearances are very tight, consider a slight increase of the bushing clearance and re-check to make sure there is no hard rub.
  • Our recommended clearance for Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings in vertically suspended pumps is the shaft bushing clearance plus 0.002″ (0.05 mm) or 50% of the API minimum clearance for metal parts-whichever is larger.
  • If the pump is operating in very cold liquid (temperature below 0 C), increase the clearance at the shaft bearings by 0.002″ (0.05 mm) above the minimum values shown in table 3a or 3b.

In the field:

Generally, vertically suspended pumps incorporate a rigid coupling and the pump does not have its own rolling element bearings. The purpose of the rigid coupling is to make the pump shaft and motor shaft act as one unit with the pump relying upon the rolling element bearings in the motor. When dealing with a rigidly coupled vertical pump, traditional alignment methods can introduce misalignment. You also cannot rely upon the register fits from the motor to motor mount to the pump to be concentric.

Here are some tips for aligning a vertical pump with line shaft bushings and no rolling element bearings. (The motor bearings carry the axial load and coupling is rigid)

  • The pump must hang as close to plumb (vertical) as possible. This requires inspection of the base plate at the sump to ensure it is flat and level, and inspection of the mounting plate on the pump to ensure it is also flat and square to the assembly. If the pump is hanging “at an angle” the shaft will bend as it tries to hang plumb and pump life can be reduced.
  • Install the pump without the seal installed
  • Verify that the pump is level on the base
  • Install the motor on the pump.
  • Mount a dial indicator on the motor shaft, reading the ID and face of the seal chamber
  • Correct any radial misalignment by moving the motor and/or motor mounts in their fits. Squareness should be corrected by machining mounting faces (shims are sometimes used).
  • Lock the motor in position (installing 2 dowel pins is a proven method).
  • At this point, you may want to couple the pump and check for any run-out.
    • Any run-out that shows up after the alignment is likely due to a fault in the coupling
    • If resistance is still encountered after alignment and run-out are corrected, the source of rubbing is likely eccentric pump internals, which will need to be corrected back in the shop.
  • Install the seal (if the motor must be removed to install the seal, care must be taken to ensure motor returns to aligned position)
  • Install the rigid coupling (Coupling should be dimensionally checked and checked for trueness in the lathe before installation)
  • Measure the shaft run out between the coupling and the seal. This should be as close to zero as possible. The purpose of the rigid coupling is to make one shaft out of the driver and driven shafts. The end of the motor shaft is the zero point, so just a small run out at 15 cm below the coupling translates into huge side loads on the shaft bushings 1-2 meters down the assembly.

Side note: if you experience misalignment of the rigid coupling, the evidence will likely be wear of the bushing and/or shaft concentrated at the top bushing in the pump.

If you have anything to add to the above notes, please contact us. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Conclusion

We hope you have found this series on how to upgrade your pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 helpful. In future weeks, we’ll have a couple of bonus sections on special topics. Until then, if you need any Vespel® CR-6100, contact Boulden. We have whatever size and quantity you need in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

For information on how to install Vespel® CR-6100 into nearly any centrifugal pump type, download the Boulden Installation Guide.

The Sydney Opera House , just out of frame is the Sydney Harbor Bridge

The Sydney Opera House, just out of frame is the Sydney Harbor Bridge

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 2

Part 2: Reduce Clearance–The Lomakin Effect

Welcome back to our series on upgrading pumps with composite materials. In part 1, we discussed how using composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100 in your pumps allows you to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and minimize the risk of pump seizure:

  • In the shop during assembly
  • In the field during alignment
  • During slow-roll, start-up, and shut down
  • During off-design events like dry-running or low flow

Part 2: Reducing Clearance-The Lomakin Effect

Minimizing the risk of seizure in your pump sets the stage for reducing the clearance at the wear parts in your pump. Reducing clearance can be a significant pump reliability upgrade due to a phenomenon known as the “Lomakin Effect“.

Your Wear Rings are Bearings

During pump operation, the flow created by differential pressure across the wear parts in the pump (wear rings, throttle bushings) creates a force called The Lomakin Effect. The force arises from an unequal pressure distribution around the circumference of the component during periods of rotor eccentricity. This force counteracts shaft deflection in the pump.

Figure 1 shows how shaft deflection creates this force. As the fluid enters the clearance between the rotor and wear component, it accelerates as it passes from the high pressure end to the low pressure end. Due to the eccentricity of the rotor, there is more clearance on one side of the wear part than the other. There will be more flow and a locally higher velocity on the side of the wear ring with more clearance and lower velocity on the side of the ring with less clearance. Higher velocity results in lower pressure; lower velocity results in higher pressure, creating a net corrective force which acts in the direction opposite of the shaft deflection. In other words, when your pump experiences shaft deflection, there is a hydraulic “stiffness” (Lomakin Stiffness) which is generated to counteract the shaft deflection.

Figure 1: The Lomakin Effect

Figure 1: The Lomakin Effect

Using Vespel® CR-6100 you can typically reduce the clearance at the pump wear rings by 50% compared to the API recommended minimum for metal wear parts. The Lomakin Stiffness is inversely proportional to clearance; therefore, a 50% reduction in clearance doubles this force. Potential benefits for your pumps include:

  • Less shaft deflection
  • Lower vibration levels
  • Fewer mechanical seal leaks
  • Longer bearing life

Which Pumps?

The Lomakin Effect is generally beneficial to all centrifugal pumps, but some pump types often show significant vibration reductions and reliability improvements with reduced clearance:

  • Multi-stage horizontal pumps
  • Older overhung pumps with long, thin shafts (high L/D ratios)
  • Two-stage overhung pumps

Conclusion

Reducing the clearance at the wear components can be a major reliability upgrade for your pumps. The reduced clearance increases The Lomakin Effect which improves pump rotor stability. The net result is a pump which runs with potentially lower vibration, fewer seal leaks, and longer bearing life.

Reducing the clearance also increases pump efficiency, which we will discuss in Part 3.

Until then, if you are working on a pump with a long, thin, flexible rotor, contact Boulden to discuss upgrading the wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100 and reducing the clearance. We have a huge stock of Vespel® CR-6100 standard sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore available for immediate delivery to your workshop.

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