Tag Archives: The Lomakin Effect

Make Your Vertical Pump Shaft Bearings Last Longer

DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100 resists seizing, can run dry, has high impact resistance, and a low wear rate for a long life under a wide range of process conditions.

Vertically Suspended Pumps

Vertically suspended pump types (API types VS1-VS7) use long, flexible shafts which are supported by a series of product-lubricated shaft bearings. Vespel® CR-6100 is a great upgrade for these components.

 

Typical Vespel Services

Vertically suspended pumps can be divided into two general categories: discharge through column (API Types VS1, VS2, VS3, VS6, and VS7) and separate discharge (VS4 and VS5).

 

Discharge through column pumps tend to be used in light, flashing products like butane, LPG, and natural gas liquids, or in water condensate or cooling water intake service. In flashing services, it is not uncommon for these pumps to run dry temporarily at start up, which can be a challenge for the shaft bushings. In many of these pumps the flexible shaft can create very large loads, leading to high wear rates of traditional materials.

 

Separate discharge pumps tend to be used as sump pumps. In API Type VS4 pumps, the shaft 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 bearing grease is insufficient. In a chemical sump, the mix of chemicals can cause corrosion issues.

Vespel® CR-6100 Replaces Traditional Materials

Most vertical pump shaft bearings are made from either bronze/cast iron, carbon/graphite based materials, or stainless steel alloys. Bronze/cast iron bearings can have a high wear rate. Carbon/graphite bearings can break. Stainless steel bearings can seize.

 

Vespel® CR-6100 can replace all of these materials in process conditions from cryogenic to 500 F (260 C). Vespel® CR-6100 is low friction with a low wear rate. It is durable and impact resistant so it resists breakage during installation, transport, and operation. Plus, Vespel® CR-6100 does not seize like metal parts and is capable of surviving the run dry conditions which can occur with the flashing process fluids.

 

Documented Results

Consider the results from a long term study at an oil refinery. The plant upgraded 22 vertical pumps to Vespel® CR-6100 wear parts. The pumps were operating in light hydrocarbons, flare knock out drum, and several stop/start services like product transfer, comprising many “bad actors” in the plant. Looking at the number of repairs within this population for 5 years before Vespel® CR-6100 and 5 years after, the plant found the following.

 22 Vertical Pumps Number of Pump Repairs MTBR for the Population
5 Years Before

Vespel® CR-6100

40 2.75 years
5 Years After 

Vespel® CR-6100

8 13.75 years

Final Notes

Next time you are rebuilding a vertically suspended pump, consider upgrading the shaft bearings to Vespel® CR-6100. Contact Boulden with your process conditions and we will be happy to let you know if Vespel® CR-6100 is a good fit for your pump.

 

The Vespel® CR-6100 installation guide will walk you through the installation process. Vespel® CR-6100 is easy to machine and install, and Boulden is always happy to help if you have any questions. Finally, we have large quantities of Vespel® CR-6100 in stock and ready for immediate delivery in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

 

Helpful Vespel 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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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.

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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.

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Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

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Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 4

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsPart 4: Which services, which machines, which parts to upgrade?

Review

In the first part of this series, we discussed how upgrading your pumps with composite wear parts can help avoid galling and seizing, even when a pump runs dry. 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 ringsthrottle bushings, and center-stage bushings increases 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.

In Part 3, we discussed how reducing the clearance in your pump also improves pump efficiency, leading to a significant reduction in the life cycle cost of the pump.

Today, we start the discussion on how you can upgrade pumps, by looking at the specific services and components to upgrade with Vespel® CR-6100.

Service Conditions

Vespel® CR-6100 is manufactured from carbon fibers and Teflon™ PFA resin. It is chemically resistant to nearly all process fluids used in the hydrocarbon processing and petrochemical industries. Vespel® CR-6100 has been used in a wide range products including (but not limited to): refined hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, LPG, amines, sour water, caustic, ammonia, MEK, demineralized water, hydrofluoric acid, and boiler feed water.

The temperature range of Vespel® CR-6100 is cryogenic to 500 F(260 C). It has been used in liquid methane and ethane pumps at -230 F (-150 C), along with liquid nitrogen and liquid hydrogen at even lower temperatures. At the upper end of the temperature range, Vespel® CR-6100 has been used in a wide range of hydrocarbon processing services such as gas oil and naphtha.

In general, composite materials are used for refined process fluids and relatively clean utility services. Vespel® CR-6100 is superior to metallic components in avoiding seizure, running with tighter clearance, and resisting wear due to internal contact between rotating and stationary components. Conversely, if you are dealing with a slurry service where abrasive wear is the main problem facing the pump, composite materials have some limitations. Please contact Boulden to discuss your application conditions.

Which Components

Vespel® CR-6100 will generally be used as the stationary wear parts in the pump. As we noted in the previous parts of this series, our objective is to eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump and replace them with metal-to-composite contact points. Vespel® CR-6100 is used for the stationary parts because it is stronger in compression than in tension. The rotating parts in the pump remain metal–with no special requirements for surface finishes or hardness beyond the original design of the metal parts.

Table 1 shows which parts are typically converted to Vespel® CR-6100 based on the pump type:

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

Beyond centrifugal pumps, Vespel® CR-6100 can be used for a wide range of product-lubricated components such as agitator bearingsAPI Separator bearings, and gear pump bearings.

Until Next Time

In the next several segments of this series, we will discuss how to install Vespel® CR-6100 by pump type, discussing the differences between radially and axially split pumps, specific considerations for vertically suspended pumps, and some unique situations you might encounter.

Until then, 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 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

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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