Tag Archives: throttle bushings

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

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

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.

The Lokamin Effect

Figure 1: The Lokamin 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.

Today’s Photo

Le Louvre, Paris, France

Le Louvre, Paris, France

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.

Vertical LPG Pump with metal shaft bearings

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.

Vespel® CR-6100 wear ring

Horizontal LPG pump ran dry with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. No damage to impellers, case, shaft, or bearing housings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Today’s Photo

Fresh coconuts

Fresh Coconuts – Terengganu, Malaysia

Catacarb® Pump Case Study

A single installation of Vespel® CR-6100 saved a lot of money and troubles.

Several years ago, a refinery upgraded a Catacarb® pump with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. The pump was a single-stage, between bearings, double suction pump. Catacarb® is a mixture of potassium carbonate and other chemicals which is used to strip gases such as CO2 and H2S from hydrocarbon streams.

For two years after the installation, the pump ran perfectly, and no one thought about the Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings in the pump.

 

Then, one day…

One day, the Operators heard one of the Catacarb® pumps making a loud pounding sound. They shut it down and switched to the spare. The noisy pump stopped without issue. The pump did not seize, the seals did not leak, and there was no release of the process to the atmosphere.

When the pump arrived in the shop, the Maintenance crew found the problem. A piece of metal had broken from an upstream valve, lodged itself in the impeller and proceeded to pound against the pump volute. The impeller suffered substantial damage shown in Figure 1:

Damaged Impeller

Figure 1: Impeller damaged by a piece of metal lodged in the pump

Disassembly revealed that the pump had been fitted with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. The rings showed signs of contact and perhaps a negligible amount of wear, but remained in working condition as shown in Figure 2:

Vespel CR-6100 Case wear ring

Figure 2: Vespel® CR-6100 case wear ring after the incident

 

Conclusion

According to the refinery Maintenance team, without the Vespel® CR-6100, the pump would have likely seized, causing severe damage to the pump, along with the potential for seal failure and leakage of the process to the atmosphere. Instead, the plant continued to run. How much money did they save? How much trouble did they avoid? Fortunately, no one will ever know. Because the pump did not seize, the only cost was a standard repair plus a new impeller.

If you want to help your pumps avoid seizure, 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, Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays and 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
Today’s Photo

Marché de Noël, Strasbourg, France

Marché de Noël, Strasbourg, France

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Installation Steps: Length and Clearance

Upgrading pumps with composite wear componentsSetting the final dimensions of your DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100 component

Review

We have discussed how to measure your pump, prepare the metal parts, and establish the press fit for your Vespel® CR-6100 installation. The final two dimensions you need to establish are the part length and the clearance.

The Part Length

Vespel® CR-6100 has an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion in the radial plane (perpendicular to rotation). This is one of the principal reasons it performs so well in centrifugal pump components. The low coefficient of thermal expansion is achieved through the use of radially-oriented, long carbon fibers.

Conversely, the coefficient of thermal expansion along the axis is relatively high. Therefore, the part length for a Vespel® CR-6100 component should account for the axial thermal expansion at operating temperature. Table 4 of our installation guide provides the details on how to make this adjustment.

Table 4 of our installation guide provides the details on how to make this adjustment.

The Clearance

The clearance for the part is set depending on the diameter and component type. Tables 2a and 2b in the installation guide show the clearance recommendations for horizontal pump components such as pump wear rings, throttle bushings, center bushings, inter-stage rings, balance bushings, and throat bushings.

Tables 2a and 2b provide recommended minimum clearance for horizontal pump components.

Tables 3a and 3b show the clearance recommendations for vertical pump components like vertical pump shaft bearings, wear rings, and throat bushings.

Tables 3a and 3b provide recommended minimum clearances for vertically suspended pump parts.

The best way to set the clearance is to press the component into place, and then final machine the bore to the desired clearance. This is shown in steps 5a-7a in our installation guide, pages 8-9.

Where final machining after the press fit is not practical, you can design the component to have the correct clearance after the press fit. For most component geometries, you can assume the Vespel® CR-6100 will reduce at a 1:1 ratio with the press fit. This method is shown in steps 5b-7b in our installation guide, page 9.

Some sites have implemented a hybrid method. They measure the inside diameter of the Vespel® CR-6100 case wear ring after installation, and then machine the metal impeller wear ring to set the desired clearance.

Conclusions

Installing Vespel® CR-6100 is an easy upgrade to make your pumps more reliable, safe, and efficient. Follow the steps in our  installation guide and you can make your pump even better than the day it was new. If you need material, Boulden carries inventory of stock sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

Until next time, please feel free to contact Boulden with your application details or to request a quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

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

Today’s Photo

Rock of Gibraltar – was one of the Pillars of Hercules and was known to the Romans as Mons Calpe.

 

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

The Interference Fit – Setting the interference fit value for DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100

The interference fit value for DuPont™ Vespel CR-6100

Review

We have discussed how to measure your pumps and prepare the metal parts. The next step is to machine the DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 part to have the correct dimensions.

Remember, Vespel® CR-6100 is used for stationary wear parts like wear rings, throttle bushings, and vertical pump shaft bearings. The rotating components running against the Vespel® CR-6100 remain metal. The Vespel® CR-6100 components are installed with an interference fit (aka “press fit”).

 

Installation Guide for Vespel CR-6100

The Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100 Tables 1a (Imperial) and 1b (Metric) outline the interference fit values for a Vespel® CR-6100 component based on diameter and the pump operating temperature.

If you only want the right value, follow the guide. You can stop reading and contact Boulden whenever you need material or if you would like to request a quote. If you want to know how we arrived at the values, continue reading.

 

Low Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Vespel® CR-6100 has an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion–about 60% lower than carbon steel in the radial plane. This property is one of the reasons Vespel® CR-6100 can survive pumps running dry and avoiding seizure.

The low coefficient of thermal expansion is a main factor in the interference fit value. At elevated temperatures, the metal parts will thermally expand more than the Vespel® CR-6100 parts. Therefore, as pump operating temperature increases, the interference fit increases.

 

Vespel CR-6100 Low Modulus of Elasticity

Vespel® CR-6100 parts press in relatively easily due to a very low modulus of elasticity. Vespel® CR-6100 can be used in temperatures up to 500 F (260 C). At maximum operating temperature, the recommended interference fit can be quite high. Due to the low modulus, the material generally presses in without issue.

 

Small Pilot Fit

To facilitate the large interference fit, machine a small pilot or “step” on the leading edge (Figure 1) of the Vespel® CR-6100 component. This will help the part sit squarely in the bore as it is being pressed in (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Pilot Fit on leading edge to facilitate press fit

Figure 2: Press fit operation

No Pins or Screws Required

Once Vespel® CR-6100 is installed with a press fit and a shoulder to retain the part against differential pressure, no further retention of the components is required. There are thousands of pumps running for many years with Vespel® CR-6100 components without retaining pins or screws.

If you insist on using retaining pins with Vespel® CR-6100, contact Boulden and we will discuss the possible designs given your part geometry.

 

Conclusions

When installing Vespel® CR-6100, make sure you are using the correct interference fit. Download our installation guide for the full installation procedure. If you need material, Boulden carries inventory of stock sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

Until next time, please feel free to contact Boulden with your application details or to request a quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Todays Photo

Grand Canyon, Arizona USA

 

Boulden Company – Conshohocken, PA, USA | 1-610-825-1515

Boulden International, S.ar.L – Ellange, Luxembourg | +352 26 39 33 99

When to Reduce the Clearance in Your Pump with DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100

The industry “rule of thumb” says to reduce the wear ring clearance by 50%, but this isn’t always true.

Vespel® CR-6100 Upgrade 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 the wear rings and throttle bushings)

However, you don’t always need to reduce the clearance. It depends on what you are trying to do and which component you are looking at. So, to determine whether or not to reduce the clearance, ask two questions:

 

What Problem am I Trying to Solve with Vespel® CR-6100?

Vespel® CR-6100 can be used to improve pump reliability and performance in many ways. Some benefits require reduced clearance, some do not. The following table gives some examples of where reducing clearance is needed vs. where it is not needed.

 

Reduced Clearance Required

Reduced Clearance Not Required

 

 

Is There Differential Pressure Across the Part?

Reducing the clearance can generally produce two beneficial effects in your pump:

  • Efficiency Improves: The leakage across the part will be reduced, improving pump efficiency and reducing the operating cost of the pump.
  • Improved Rotor Stability: The Lomakin Effect in the pump will be increased, increasing the hydraulic forces produce by the wear rings.

Both of these factors are driven by differential pressure across the part.

 

If the specific component you are upgrading to Vespel® CR-6100 is not exposed to differential pressure (i.e. vertical pump shaft bearing) there is no need to reduce the clearance.

 

Wear rings, throttle bushings, center bushings, balance bushings are all exposed to differential pressure. These are the parts where you want to reduce the clearance to obtain performance and rotor stability improvements. The rule of thumb is to reduce the clearance to 50% of the API minimum for metal parts. For most pumps in the hydrocarbon processing industry, this works.

 

These benefits are augmented using the patented PERF-Seal™ design from Boulden, which further reduces leakage across the part and dramatically increases the hydraulic damping from these components.

 

Exceptions to the 50% Wear Ring Clearance Rule

Because pumps come in all shapes and sizes, there are some places where we need to make exceptions and reduce the clearance by less than 50%.

  • Throat bushings-the throat bushing clearance often helps to control the mechanical seal flush rate. We recommend using the clearance recommended by your mechanical seal OEM to set the clearance of this part.
  • Wear rings in vertically suspended pumps-You don’t want to have the wear ring clearance tighter than the shaft bearing clearance. Therefore, our recommended minimum clearance for wear rings in vertically suspended pumps is the shaft bearing clearance + 0.002″ (0,05 mm).

Conclusions

Over the years, we have seen pump repair shops use a range of clearance values when applying Vespel® CR-6100 with great results. There is no single “best” way. That said, if you want to increase efficiency, you need to reduce the clearance of the parts exposed to differential pressure. If you are only trying to solve a run-dry or seizing problem, reducing the clearance is optional. For vertical pump shaft bearings, staying with the original design clearance is usually the best answer.

 

In any case, you can use our recommendations as a starting point. We supply these values in the clearance tables in our installation guide which you can download here:

 

Boulden Installation Guide for Vespel® CR-6100

 

Until next time, please feel free to contact Boulden if you would like to discuss the appropriate clearance for your pump upgrade. We’ll be happy to help and we have whatever material you need in stock in the USA, Europe, and Singapore.

 

Helpful Links on Vespel® CR-6100 and Wear Ring Clearance:

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.

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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