Upgrading Pumps With Composite Wear Components Part: 5

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


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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