Tag Archives: pump seized

Diesel Charge Pump Case Study

DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 helps the pump survive and keep pumping.

The Diesel Charge Pump

A refinery in North America experienced recurring issues with their diesel charge pumps. The pumps provide feed into the refinery HDS unit. Loss of feed to the unit can result in reduced refinery production and significant losses.

The refinery has 3 total pumps in this service–two pumps running in parallel with an installed spare. The pumps are 1200 HP (900 kW), 13-stage, axially-split, between-bearings pumps (API Type BB3), running at 3550 RPM. The product is diesel fuel at approximately 250 F (120 C).

The original design of these pumps included metal wear rings, throttle, and center bushings. During the previous process upsets, these metal wear parts had seized, requiring expensive pump overhauls. The overhauls required the services of an outside shop, exposing the refinery to production risk due to operating without a spare pump for several weeks.

 

Vespel® CR-6100 is Put to the Test

Earlier this year, the refinery upgraded the first of the three pumps to Vespel® CR-6100, using Boulden’s patented PERF-Seal design for all of the stationary wear parts. The rotating wear parts remained metal, using the original metallurgy and surface finish.

Soon after the upgrade, a process upset caused a temporary loss of flow to the pumps. Figure 1 shows the process flow data during the upset condition. Each box along the x-axis represents one hour and the y-axis represents flow rate. Without sufficient flow to the pumps (blue and cyan lines), minimum flow (yellow line) could not be immediately established, causing the pumps to run at extremely low flow rates for nearly an hour. Partial flow was re-established, but the pumps continued to operate far below the design flow rate for nearly 4 more hours.

Figure 1: Process flow data for the diesel charge pumps during the process upset

 

normal process conditions were finally restored, the pumps were individually shut down for inspection. The pump with metal wear components seized upon shut down had damage to both bearings and required significant repair work.

The pump with Vespel® CR-6100 rotated freely, with the inspection revealing some damage to the thrust bearing. The thrust bearing was replaced in the field and the pump returned to service where it ran at full rate with no evidence of reduced performance or vibration issues.

 

Conclusion

In an ideal world, plant processes always operate per design. Unfortunately, there are times when things do not go as planned. When that happened to this refinery, the pump with Vespel® CR-6100 survived where the pumps with metal components could not.

Beyond surviving this incident, the refinery also reports that the pump is running with lower vibration than the pumps with metal components. With reduced clearance at the wear parts, the pump is almost certainly consuming less power, further reducing the life cycle cost of the pump.

If you have a service causing any issues at your plant, contact Boulden today. We have Vespel® CR-6100 in stock in a wide range of sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore and we can assist with any application or design questions you have. If you know what you need, just request a quote. Until next time, be safe.

 

Helpful Links:

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

3MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study
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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

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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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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 9

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 9: Vertically Suspended Pumps with Separate Discharge (API Type VS4)

Review

Last week, we looked at vertically suspended pumps with the discharge through the column. This week, we take a look at vertically suspended pumps with a separate discharge (API Type VS4).

Vertically suspended pumps with separate discharge are generally used for sump pumps or wastewater pumps. It seems that these pumps cause headaches at most plants. The shaft bushings wear out leading to chronic repairs. Over the years, Vespel® CR-6100 has been used in a lot of these pumps, sometimes the pump life has been extended from a few months to several years; sometimes the pump life has not improved. Therefore, it is important to identify the failure mode before making the upgrade. We have used our experience to create the roadmap below.

Define the Service

The first step is to clarify “sump pump” or “waste water pump”, which are generic terms encompassing a wide range of services. Some services are pumping primarily chemicals mixed with water, and some of them are pumping primarily water mixed with dirt. Some of the sumps are so dirty, that the pump suction strainer seems to be immersed in mud. Another variable is that the shaft bearings are flushed with different arrangements. Some of them are flushed with the process fluid, others with clean water, and others are greased.

Given the range of service conditions, there are several different problems which can cause the shaft bearings to fail. However, there are some commonalities. First, by design, the shaft bearings are along the column of the pump with a separate discharge for the process fluid. The bearings can run dry at start-up until the flushing fluid arrives. Sometimes, the external water flush is turned off; sometimes the flush lines from the process fluid are plugged; sometimes the grease supply runs out. In a chemical sump, the mix of chemicals can cause corrosion with metal wear parts. Finally, in very dirty sumps where the bearings are flushed with the process fluid, abrasive wear tends to be the main problem.

The Road Map

Considering the above, we have created the following table to guide your selection of where to use Vespel® CR-6100 in sump pump services:

Vespel CR-6100 sump pump services.

Vespel CR-6100 sump pump services.

*Some of the alternatives to consider are switching to a clean water flush or looking at an abrasive resistant, non-seizing combination for the shaft bushings and sleeve. This generally entails a hardened sleeve and an abrasive resistant bushing material. If you have any doubts about whether Vespel® CR-6100 is a good fit for your service, contact Boulden to discuss.

Vertical Pump Conclusion

To finish our discussion of vertically suspended pumps, we will talk about assembly and installation issues which impact pump reliability. Until then, use the above information as a guide on how to use Vespel® CR-6100 in your pumps with a separate discharge. If you need any material, 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.

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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Late Night Snack, Thailand

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Boulden International, S.ar.L

Ellange, Luxembourg

+352 26 39 33 99

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 8

Upgrading pumps with composite wear components

Part 8: Vertically Suspended Pumps (API Types VS1–3, VS6, VS7)

Review

To date, we have addressed how to install DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 into the various horizontal pump types to eliminate metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and minimize the risk of pump seizure. This allows a reduction of clearance which improves efficiency and rotor stability.

This segment will discuss how to use Vespel® CR-6100 in vertically suspended pump types (API types VS1-VS7). These types can be further broken down as “discharge through column” (VS1, VS2, VS3, VS6, VS7) and “separate discharge” (VS4 and VS5).

Which Parts?

In vertically suspended pumps, we can upgrade the same components as horizontal pumps (wear ringsthrottle bushingsthroat bushings) for the same reasons-to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact areas in the pump and reduce the clearance resulting in improved reliability and efficiency.

Today we will focus on the components which are unique to vertically suspended pumps-the vertical pump shaft bearings: line shaft bearings, bowl bearings, and bottom bearings. Vespel® CR-6100 is ideally suited to this application, particularly in services which suffer from a lack of lubricity or may run dry at startup. Vespel® CR-6100 does not seize like metal alloys, it can survive running dry, and it can withstand mechanical impacts and thermal shocks so it doesn’t break like carbon or graphite.

Multi-stage LPG pump bowl assemblies being upgraded to Vespel® CR-6100.

Multi-stage LPG pump bowl assemblies being upgraded to Vespel® CR-6100.

One thing of note is that vertical pump shaft bearings do not have differential pressure across the parts, therefore, they do not impact pump efficiency. Because the clearance of these components tends to be rather tight, to begin with, a further reduction in clearance can easily lead to assembly issues with a limited upside associated with the tighter clearance. Therefore, our recommendation for these parts is to install the Vespel® CR-6100 into the spiders or bowl assemblies with the press fit shown in our installation guide, then final machine to the original design clearance.

In our installation guide, you will find two clearance charts–one for horizontal pump types, one for vertical pump types. Because we don’t want the wear ring clearance tighter than the shaft bushing clearance, we simply recommend making the wear ring clearance 0.002″ (0.05 mm) larger than the shaft bushing clearance in these pumps. In short, we highly recommend that you download the Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100.

Discharge Through Column

Vertically suspended pumps are often selected because the service offers poor suction conditions such as light hydrocarbon service or condensate. In a long-term study, a refinery upgraded 22 vertical pumps to Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts. The pumps were operating in light hydrocarbons, flare knockout drum, and several stop/start services like product transfer. In the 5 years prior to upgrading the pumps, this population of pumps comprised many “bad actors” with poor reliability. In the 5 years after upgrading the pumps to Vespel® CR-6100, there were only 8 repairs on the entire population of pumps and the MTBR of this group of pumps increased to more than 10 years!

The combination of excellent reliability with ease of machining and installation along with immediate stock availability has made Vespel® CR-6100 the material of choice in these applications.

Vertically suspended pumps assembled with Vespel®CR-6100 shaft bearings, wear rings, bowl bushings and bottom bearings

Vertically suspended pumps assembled with Vespel®CR-6100 shaft bearings, wear rings, bowl bushings, and bottom bearings

Vespel® CR-6100 can handle significant periods of dry running with minimal wear, making it easier to bring the pump online. When you upgrade your wear rings to Vespel® CR-6100 and reduce the clearance, you might also find the pump easier to start due to a reduction in the NPSHR (Net Positive Suction Head Required).

To be continued…

In the next two issues, we will address vertically suspended pumps with a separate discharge (API Type VS4) and then we will discuss installation and assembly issues unique to vertically suspended pumps.

Until then, if you have a vertical pump which is giving you headaches, consider upgrading the wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100. Contact us today. We have the Vespel® CR-6100 in stock in a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery to nearly anywhere in the world.
For details on installing Vespel® CR-6100 into nearly any centrifugal pump type, download the Boulden Installation Guide.

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

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 6

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 6: Between Bearings, Axially Split Pumps

Review

DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 is a composite material which is used for the stationary wear parts of your pump and can be used in nearly all process chemicals from cryogenic temperatures to 500 F (260 C).

Upgrading your pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts allows you to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and reduce the clearance at the wear parts. This simple change allows you to minimize the risk of pump seizure and helps to improve pump reliability and efficiency.

Axially Split Pumps

Today, we cover the details on using Vespel® CR-6100 to upgrade your between-bearings, axially-split pumps. The components we want to upgrade in these pumps are the case rings, center bushing, throttle bushing, and throat bushings.

Single and two-stage BB1 style pumps are often used in product transfer, water, or low NPSH applications. Upgrading the wear rings (and inter-stage bushing in two-stage designs) with Vespel® CR-6100 will help maintain rotor stability and improve efficiency. Reducing wear ring clearance can also help reduce the pump NPSHR

Multi-stage BB3 designs are used in several ideal applications for Vespel® CR-6100: boiler feed water, naphtha charge, amine stripping, and product pipeline and shipping applications. These pumps are designed with inherently flexible rotors which rely upon the Lomakin Effect for rotor stability. Upgrading these pumps with Vespel® CR-6100 and reducing the clearance can reduce vibration levels and make your pump more reliable.

These designs also experience significant efficiency gains when you reduce the clearance at the wear rings, center bushing, and throttle bushing. Most of the multi-stage designs will show at least 3-4% efficiency gain and several customers have reported efficiency gains in excess of 5%.

Solid or Insert?

The first question to address with an axially split assembly is whether or not to make the components out of solid Vespel® CR-6100 or to use Vespel® CR-6100 as an insert into a metal holder (figure 1).

Figure 1: Operating temperature determines whether or not you need to install Vespel® CR-6100 as an insert in these pumps.

Figure 1: Operating temperature determines whether or not you need to install Vespel® CR-6100 as an insert in these pumps.

Consider that Vespel® CR-6100 has a coefficient of thermal expansion which is about 60% less than carbon steel in the radial plane. In a hot pump, the metal parts are going to thermally expand more than the Vespel® CR-6100 parts. We compensate for the thermal expansion difference by installing the Vespel® CR-6100 with a press fit into a metal holder. As the metal holder expands, part of the press fit is relieved, and the Vespel® CR-6100 “follows” the growth of the metal parts.

Therefore, if your pump operating temperature is > 140 F (60 C), the Vespel® CR-6100 needs to be installed as an insert into a metal holder to maintain the clearance up to pump operating temperature. If it is an ambient temperature application, you can install Vespel® CR-6100 as a solid component or as an insert, whichever is easier for you.

One advantage of using inserts in these pumps is that during a repair, you can often salvage the used metal parts, machine the bores and reuse the old parts as holders for the Vespel® CR-6100 inserts. This can save time and reduce the cost of upgrading the pump with Vespel® CR-6100.

Split Parts

Another feature unique to axially split pumps is that the center bushings and inter-stage rings might also be axially split (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Split center bushing with PERF-Seal™ design insert.

Figure 2: Split center bushing with PERF-Seal™ design insert.

When the parts are split, we apply the same rule concerning solid or insert parts based on operating temperature. If the pump is operating at ambient temperature, the parts can be manufactured from solid Vespel® CR-6100; if the pump is operating at elevated temperature, we need to install the Vespel® CR-6100 as an insert with a press fit.

The press fit for split parts is achieved by modifying the metal components such that they bolt together. The bolting force is sufficient to create the press fit of the Vespel® CR-6100 component.

If you need to fabricate split parts, please contact Boulden and we will send you specific instructions based on your application details.

Center and Throttle Bushings

Another unique characteristic of multi-stage axially split pumps is that the center and throttle bushings can be exposed to high differential pressures. For these components, Boulden has developed a patent-pending design called the PERF-Seal™ (also shown in Figure 2) which improves the performance and dramatically increases the differential pressure capability of composite materials used in these positions.

Boulden recommends the PERF-Seal™ design for all center and throttle bushings in multi-stage pumps. Contact us and we can either supply machined parts or provide drawings for you to manufacture the components in your shop for the upgrade.

Until next time…

In the next months, we will discuss radially-split between bearings pumps and vertically suspended pumps.

Until then, if you have an axially split pump where you would like 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 in stock in a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery.
For details on installing Vespel® CR-6100 into nearly any centrifugal pump type, download the Boulden Installation Guide.

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Todays Photo

Chris Froome in Mondorf Les Bains, Luxembourg, ville-départ, Tour de France, Stage 4 on July 4th, 2017. Walking distance from Boulden’s European Office

Chris Froome in Mondorf Les Bains, Luxembourg, ville-départ, Tour de France, Stage 4 on July 4th, 2017. Walking distance from Boulden's European Office

Chris Froome in Mondorf Les Bains, Luxembourg, ville-départ, Tour de France, Stage 4

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

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

Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 5

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 5: Upgrading overhung pump types with DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100.

Review

So far, we have discussed how upgrading your pumps with composite wear parts can help avoid galling and seizing, which allows you to reduce the clearance in your pump. This small change increases the Lomakin Effect and makes your pump more reliable. Reduced clearance also improves pump efficiency, leading to a lower pump life cycle cost.

Last month, we highlighted that Vespel® CR-6100 is installed in compression in the stationary parts of your pump–wear rings, throttle bushings, throat bushings, and vertical pump shaft bearings–and can be used in nearly all process chemicals from cryogenic temperatures to 500 F (260 C).

Today, we start discussing how to install Vespel® CR-6100 to upgrade your overhung pumps, which typically make up the majority of the centrifugal pump population in a process plant. For most designs, there are only three parts to upgrade to Vespel® CR-6100: two case wear rings and the throat bushing.

Manufacturer Case Wear Rings from Vespel® CR-6100

You can usually manufacture the case rings from solid Vespel® CR-6100 and press them directly into the case and head of the pump. Because the pump casing can often be quite large and difficult to handle, it is generally easiest to design the case rings such that they do not require final machining. The way to do this is to assume there is a 1:1 ratio between the press fit and the closure of the inside diameter during the press fit.

For example, if your case rings require 0.020″ (0.50 mm) press fit, machine the inside diameter 0.020″ larger than the final target dimension before the press fit. After the ring is pressed into place, the inside diameter will decrease by 0.020″ and will match the target dimension (give or take a small tolerance).

Alternatively, you can use a metal ring as a “holder”. First, press the Vespel® CR-6100 into the metal ring and then final machine the Vespel® CR-6100 to the desired clearance. This is sometimes a better choice for case rings with very large radial walls or rings with “L” shaped profiles (See Photo 1). By using an insert you can use standard stock sizes of Vespel® CR-6100.

case rings with Vespel CR-6100

Photo 1: Insert into “L” profile case ring

Vespel® CR-6100 can be used for the Throat Bushings

Several mechanical seal flush plans require a close clearance throat bushing to increase the seal chamber pressure, to isolate cooled seal flush fluid from hot process fluid, or to isolate clean seal flush fluid from dirty or corrosive process fluid. Vespel® CR-6100 can be used for the throat bushing.

To set the clearance of the throat bushing, consult your mechanical seal supplier. They should recommend a clearance based on your seal flush plan such that your seal operates with the correct pressure and flow rate of seal flush.

Which Pumps

Reducing the clearance at the wear rings will improve the efficiency of all of your overhung pumps. That said, some pumps can be considered with higher priority than others.

The first place to look is older pumps with long slender shafts with high L/D ratios (see Photo 2), especially two-stage overhung pumps. These pumps were typically built for packing and have been converted to mechanical seals. These designs often excessive shaft deflection, making it difficult for seals to meet current reliability and emissions standards. Closing the wear ring clearance will add stability to the rotor and provide the seals a better operating environment. On the two-stage overhung pumps, you can also upgrade the bushing between the stages for additional support.

Overhung pump

Photo 2: Overhung pump with high L/D ratio

Next, look at your largest overhung pumps. These pumps will typically have higher radial loads when running away from their design point and potentially experience more shaft deflection. Plus, they will consume the most power, generally offering the best payout for efficiency gains.

Finally, consider upgrading your OH4-vertical inline, rigidly coupled pumps. Because these pumps have no bearing housing, they rely upon the motor bearing and the wear rings for radial stability. Reducing the wear ring clearance can often improve the reliability of these pumps.

Upgrading Pumps to be continued…

In the next months, we will discuss upgrading horizontal between bearings pumps and vertically suspended pumps.

Until then, if you have an overhung pump where you would like 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 is a wide range of sizes available for immediate delivery.

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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 1

Part 1: Minimize the Risk of Pump Seizure

Welcome to our series on upgrading pumps with composite materials. Over the next few months, we’ll cover the basics of why and how to use composite materials, specifically DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100, to make your pumps more reliable, efficient, and safe.

Metal Parts Seize

Centrifugal pumps contain contact points between rotating and stationary parts. Most designs use replaceable wear components at these contact points: wear rings, inter-stage rings, throttle bushings, center-stage bushings, vertical pump shaft bearings, throat bushings. In the past, both the rotating and stationary parts would typically be metal.

With metal rotating and stationary components, there is a risk of galling or pump seizure. Galling can cause your pump to stick during assembly in the workshop, during alignment, or when the pump is slow-rolling in the field. This is a nuisance which can cause costly delays, returning the pump to the shop for disassembly, clean-up, re-assembly, and a return to the field. If a pump seizes during full-speed operation due to running dry, low flow, valve failure, bearing failure, shaft breakage, or another off-design scenario, the welding of metal parts together will generally cause the pump to stop abruptly, causing severe pump damage along with the potential for safety and environmental impacts.

 

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Vertical LPG pump with metal shaft bushings seized, shaft broke, impellers and bowl assemblies destroyed.

Eliminate the Metal-to-Metal Contact Points in Your Pump

At a very basic level, the reason to upgrade the wear components in your pumps to composite materials is because composite materials are completely dissimilar to metal. Due to the totally different material compositions, metal-to-composite contact does not result in seizure like metal-to-metal contact.

So, our first objective when we are upgrading our pump with composite materials is to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points within the pump. When using Vespel® CR-6100, the rotating parts will typically remain metal and the stationary parts will become Vespel® CR-6100. With this simple change, we now have metal-to-composite contact points in the pump and the risk of seizure is minimized.

Horizontal LPG pump ran dry with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. No damage to impellers, case, shaft, or bearing housings. Photo: Vespel® CR-6100 wear ring as found during disassembly

Horizontal LPG pump ran dry with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. No damage to impellers, case, shaft, or bearing housings. Photo: Vespel® CR-6100 wear ring as found during disassembly.

Conclusion

Eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in your pumps by upgrading the stationary components to Vespel® CR-6100. This simple upgrade will minimize your risk of pump seizure, eliminate nuisance repairs from pumps galling during alignment or slow-roll, and will help mitigate the risks and damage due to off-design operational events including dry-running operation.

Because the risk of pump seizure is minimized, you can now safely reduce the clearance at the wear components, setting up several additional benefits. We’ll talk about reducing the clearance in Part 2.

Until then, if you have had troubles with a pump which galls or seizes, contact Boulden to discuss upgrading the wear parts to Vespel® CR-6100. 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.