Tag Archives: pump efficiency

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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