Tag Archives: pump efficiency

Mistakes to Avoid When Upgrading to Composite Pump Components

Upgrading your centrifugal pumps to composite wear parts is one of the easiest, fastest and most reliable ways to make your pumps better. While this upgrade is easy and reliable, there are a few pitfalls to avoid in order to ensure success.

The normal rule of thumb for upgrading to composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100 or Boulden B-Series is to reduce the clearance by 50% compared to API values for metal parts. This can increase pump efficiency and increase the Lomakin Effect in your pump, making the pump more reliable.

#1 Rotor Concentricity

However, reduced clearance requires that the pump be rebuilt to a good standard with a concentric rotor. Just because the Vespel® CR-6100 parts will not seize does not mean that the shop can do a sloppy job. The standard check used for metal parts–that the rotor must turn freely after assembly and coupling in the field still applies. Friction from rotor sag is acceptable, hard mechanical interference from poor alignment of internal parts is not.

#2 Clearance within Vertically Suspended Pumps

As mentioned in item #1, you can reduce the internal running clearance for wear rings. For vertically suspended pump shaft bushings, however, reducing the clearance doesn’t offer much benefit. There is generally no significant differential pressure across these parts. Therefore, reducing clearance at these parts will not increase pump efficiency or do much for rotor stability. If you reduce the clearance of these components too much, you will gain very little and make it very hard to keep the rotor concentric.

internal component parts

internal component parts

Download the Boulden Installation Guide and note the different tables for vertical and horizontal pump wear parts to avoid this issue

There are a lot of problems you can solve when you upgrade your pump to composite wear parts. You can help your pump survive dry running, avoid seizure, reduce cavitation, reduce vibration, help your seals last longer, and improve efficiency. In general, however, the composite materials used for wear parts are not the best choice for services that cause severe erosion of metal parts. The rule of thumb is that if standard metal parts do not show signs of abrasive erosion, you can consider composite materials.

vertically suspended pumps

vertically suspended pumps

#3 Expecting to Solve Abrasive Wear Problems

To put it in perspective, refined products, boiler feed water, chemicals, and utilities are a great place to use Vespel® CR-6100 and Boulden B-Series. For vertical pump shaft bearings in dirty service like wastewater and river water intake pumps, Boulden B-1050 is a good choice. If it is a true slurry service, composites are not the right choice.

Several times over the years skeptical customers have asked us: “We tried black plastic in our pumps 10 years ago. It didn’t work. What makes you think your material will be any different?”

#4 Using a Material with a High Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Almost invariably, what we find is that the site had used a material with a high coefficient of thermal expansion. One of the reasons Vespel® CR-6100 has proven incredibly reliable is that the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) is about 60% lower than carbon steel. The earlier generation of composite materials on the market had CTE values around 3X higher than carbon steel. In practice, a high CTE will make problems in the pump worse–because the material will tend to “grow into” the rubbing or contact in the pump, reduce the clearance, and rapidly fail. Because Vespel® CR-6100 has a low CTE, it does not do this. It remains dimensionally stable until normal operation is resumed.

Boulden believes that CTE is so important, we developed our entire B-Series line of materials to have CTE values very close to or less than carbon steel.

In Conclusion

After 20 years and over 10,000 pumps upgraded with composite materials, problems have been few and far between. Using our experience in application and design, we want to be sure all of your upgrades are successful. We can supply raw material from our inventory, CAD drawings, and machined parts. Boulden has a huge inventory with the best lead times and service in the business. Contact us to upgrade your next pump today.

Today;s photo!

Yummy pie! Stay safe!

Yummy pie! Stay safe!

How to drill a hole into a solid Vespel® CR-6100 rod

A quick tip for the machine shop

Recently, a pump repair shop bought some 2″ solid rods of Vespel® CR-6100. This was their first purchase of solid rods and they asked for instructions to machine the I.D. to size. Below is the method we use in our shop at Boulden:

Step 1: Drill Pilot Hole 0.375–0.500″ (10-12 mm) through the center of the bar

How to drill a hole into a solid Vespel CR-6100 rod

Step 1: Drill Pilot Hole 0.375–0.500″ (10-12 mm) through the center of the bar

Step 2: Use a spade blade (or larger drill bit) to enlarge the hole

How to drill a hole in a solid Vespel rod

Step 2: Use a spade blade (or larger drill bit) to enlarge the hole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Final machine with boring bar

How to drill a hole in a solid Vespel rod

Step 3: Final machine with boring bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until Next Time

If you have a pump in your shop where you would like to improve reliability, efficiency, avoid seizing, or reduce vibration, consider an upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings with the Boulden PERF-Seal® design. Whatever the pump geometry, Boulden can help you fit the parts into the pump, make drawings and machined parts for you, or simply help you with tips and tricks to use in your shop. Contact us today.

 

Helpful Links:

Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

2MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study

Amine Stripping Pump Case Study

 

Today’s photo

Kebab grill in Turkey

The master of the kebab grill, Ankara, Turkey

 

 

 

Useful Links for using DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100

Tools to help you improve your pump operability, reliability, and efficiency

Our favorite material recently passed a milestone. The first pump ever fitted with Vespel® CR-6100 was upgraded 20+ years ago in November 1997.

The first pump was a vertically suspended condensate pump at a refinery in California. The pump was notorious for running dry, and it had failed once or twice per year for as long as the maintenance records went back. An engineer at the refinery “found” Vespel® CR-6100 and decided to put it to the test on the condensate pump. The pump survived repeated episodes of running dry and subsequently ran for many years without failure.

Since then, over 10,000 pumps across the globe have been upgraded with Vespel® CR-6100.

Useful Links
When you are using Vespel® CR-6100 in your shop, or if you are recommending your favorite repair shop to perform the upgrade for you, the following links should prove helpful:

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

If you have any questions please contact us, or if you already know what you need? Request a quote today.

Today’s Photo

Proboscis Monkeys, Borneo

Proboscis Monkeys, Borneo

How to get Vespel® CR-6100 in a new pump?

Frequently Asked Question:

“Are the OEMs using Vespel® CR-6100?” is a question we hear every month. The answer is definitely, “yes.” All of the major API pump manufacturers use Vespel® CR-6100 for both new pumps and aftermarket upgrades.

A related question: “If Vespel® CR-6100 is so great, why don’t the OEMs include it as a standard material?”

To answer that, we need to look at how pumps are usually purchased…

Most pumps are sold into projects. The EPC contractor generally selects the pump with the lowest price which meets the bid specification. Therefore, if the bid spec allows bronze or cast iron wear rings, the OEM will probably quote bronze or cast iron because they are the cheapest materials. These materials might result in a higher life-cycle cost, but procurement personnel will not care if their decision is driven by the initial price.

Put it in the Bid Spec

If you want to maximize your pump reliability and efficiency, specify Vespel® CR-6100 for the stationary wear components in your next project. When it is part of the specification, the OEMs are happy to quote and supply Vespel® CR-6100.

If your company does not allow using brand names in the project specification, you can use the generic description for Vespel® CR-6100 from API610, Table H.3: PFA/CF reinforced composite, 20% mass fraction random X-Y oriented carbon fiber. For clarity, you can add the note “one example of which is DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100.”

Direct Questions to Boulden

If there are any questions from the Project Engineer, EPC contractor, or OEM, please ask them to contact Boulden. We will be happy to answer any questions they have and make sure that the Vespel® CR-6100 is used correctly throughout the project.

In short, if you want Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings, vertical pump shaft bearings, or throttle bushings in your new pumps, all you have to do is ask–i.e. spell it out in the bid spec. Until next time, if you need any material for your pumps, we have a wide range of sizes in stock and ready for immediate shipment.

Helpful Links:

Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

2MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study

Amine Stripping Pump Case Study

 

Today’s Photo

Lanzarote, Spain

Lanzarote, Spain

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

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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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