Tag Archives: pump wear rings

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Measuring Your Pump

Upgrading pumps with composite wear components

Which information is needed in order to upgrade your pump to DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100?

Review

Using Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts with reduced clearance can help your pumps be more reliable, efficient, and easier to operate. Which measurements and which process data do we need to assemble for the upgrade?

Dimensions Needed for a Quote

Let’s start with the 3 dimensions we need to determine material sizes and availability shown in Figure 1:

  • “R” Outside diameter of the rotor running against the Vespel® CR-6100
  • “B” Inside diameter of the bore the Vespel® CR-6100 will press into
  • “L” Length of the bore
  • Alternative: the O.D., I.D., and Length of the existing parts

If we have those 3 dimensions for each part plus the quantity of each part required, we can provide a quote

Dimensions of Design

Figure 1: Dimensions for designing a Vespel® CR-6100 part

To design parts for fabrication, we will need the dimensions of the mating hardware. While many wear parts have a simple O.D., I.D., and Length profile, some parts have additional features for which we will want the dimensions:

  • Some pump wear rings have profiles like an “L”, “T”, or “Z”. In those situations, we need to know each of the diameters and widths of any of the “shoulders” or “ribs” of the parts
  • Is the pump axially or radially split?
  • Are any of the parts are axially split?
  • For vertical pump shaft bearings, it will be helpful to know if there is any groove profile required-spiral grooves, axial grooves, how many, what diameter, how deep…
  • What is the existing material and clearance of the vertical pump shaft bearings?

Process Conditions

Vespel® CR-6100 works in most process services. It is manufactured from Teflon™ PFA and carbon fibers, so it is chemically resistant to nearly all process chemicals and it has a broad temperature range. There are only two general limitations:

  • Temperature range is cryogenic -300 F (-200 C) to 500 F (260 C)
  • Avoid abrasive slurries, slops, and bottoms services

To design the parts, the pump operating temperature is required in order to determine the correct press fit for the Vespel® CR-6100 parts.

 

Differential Pressure

If the components are going into a high-energy pump, such as a multi-stage horizontal charge pump or boiler feed water pump, we recommend that the patent-pending Boulden PERF-Seal™ design be used on all horizontal multi-stage pumps. The PERF-Seal™ design is fabricated from Vespel® CR-6100 and increases the efficiency gain and rotor damping associated with the upgrade. If the PERF-Seal™ is not used, we will need to know the differential pressure across the components in order to verify that they are designed correctly.

 

Figure 2: PERF-Seal center bushing from a boiler feed water pump

Conclusions

In the ideal situation, you can supply the dimensions of the parts required, the pump cross-sectional drawing, and the API data sheet for the pump. From this information, we can confirm that the service is a good fit for Vespel® CR-6100, quote the material or machined parts required, and make a recommendation on how to install Vespel® CR-6100 into the pump.

Please feel free to contact Boulden with your application details and dimensions. We’ll be happy to provide a budget estimate or a fixed quote depending on the information available. Once you decide to go forward with the upgrade, we have whatever material you need in stock in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

Todays Photo

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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

If you need any material or have any questions. Please contact us today. Until next time.

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

 

Stay Connected

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