Category Archives: Mechanical Seals Blog

How Carbon Works in Mechanical Sealing

Mechanical face seals are a complex combination of materials and design that form a system whose prime objective is maintaining the integrity of the pumping system, keeping what is inside where it belongs and preventing contamination from the outside.

From the simplest design to the most complex, the system must operate across a multitude of conditions (and often beyond what the original design intended) in terms of speed, contact loads and environment. Every component in the system is a vital link contributing to the system’s success or failure.

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Overview of Multiple Lip Seals

Multiple lip seals are commonly used in centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps. There are many variations, but one version that has been particularly effective is a triple lip seal arrangement. The key feature is the third outboard lip seal element, which can be used for several functions.

Sealed media can be compartmentalized, providing the opportunity to apply any of the API piping plans based on the type of media being sealed. For instance, it can serve as an excluder or a secondary seal in a quench gland design for media that crystallizes or hardens with exposure to ambient temperature and pressure. Unlike a mechanical face seal, there are no rotating parts, and all internal components are not just replaceable, but replaceable on-site by in-house or field maintenance staff.

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FSA Introduces the KnowledgeBase Technical Reference

A key element of the mission statement for the Mechanical Seal division of the FSA states that we intend to be “…the primary source of technical information for our products and their application.” For many years, this objective was partially met through the publication and regular updating of the FSA Mechanical Seal Handbook.

For many who have relied on this FSA handbook for technical guidance on mechanical seals and support systems, changes in technology and user behaviors have caused their preferred source of reference material to shift from printed hardcopy materials to searchable online content. Therefore, we have spent the last few years converting FSA’s mechanical seal technical documentation into a format that is conducive to self-instruction by online users. This content has been developed, reviewed and vetted by representatives of the leading mechanical seals manufacturers and is considered to be representative of generally accepted best design practices for the industry.

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Back to Basics: Mechanical Seals

Mechanical seals touch nearly every aspect of industrialized society. Wherever a rotating shaft moves fluid, mechanical seals play a key role in sealing process fluids in, keeping contaminants out, or both.

A few basic components and principles in mechanical seal design contribute to a working seal at the interface of the rotating shaft and stationary pump/mixer/seal-chamber housing. Mechanical seals are usually end-face seals or rotating-face seals, but in some designs they can be circumferential or even a hybrid of lip-type seals.

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Analyzing Life-Cycle Costs to Select the Best Sealing Solution

Choosing the sealing solution that will be the most cost-effective option for a particular application is not as
simple as selecting the one that has the lowest one-time cost.

To assist users in choosing the best seals, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) created a life-cycle costs (LCC) calculation tool that enables end users to compare solutions to determine which offers the lowest cost over the life of the pump.

The FSA’s LCC calculation tool allows users to compare additional considerations, including the annual operating cost of each sealing solution. The tool calculates the traditional elements, such as spare parts and labor, plus parasitic losses that are often overlooked.

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Material Advances Improve Seal Reliability in Extreme Application Conditions

During the past 10 years, the industry has devoted extensive investment efforts to the research and development of advanced seal face materials capable of extending the application performance range and mean time between repairs (MTBR) of mechanical seals in pumps, compressors and other fluid-handling rotating equipment.

Much of this research involving universities, material development companies, laboratories and mechanical seal companies focused on diamond-like (DLC) and surface-grown diamond film coatings on conventional mechanical seal face material substrates. For today’s end users, diamond film and diamond-like film provide solutions that enhance reliability, promote safety and provide exceptionally low emission sealing of critical equipment across many difficult-to-seal fluids particular to the oil and gas industries. Diamond film combines the physical properties of diamond with the most advanced seal technologies available.

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Know Which Mechanical Sealing Options Meet Emissions Requirements

In today’s world, facilities face the  daunting challenge of minimizing the environmental impact of industrial processes. A primary motivation for industrial plants to control their environmental impact is government regulation. In the US, these regulations are issued at the national level by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and similar agencies at the state and local levels.

Before the US government passed the first Clean Air Act in 1963, no federal regulations on gaseous emissions existed. The Clean Air Act initiated research to investigate techniques to monitor and control air pollution. During the 1970s and 1980s, the government passed legislation that established a limit on emission of 10,000 parts per million (ppm) for gases defined as volatile hazardous air pollutants (VHAPs).

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2015 Chem Show Celebrates 100 Years of Success

The FSA is an Endorsing Association of the 2015 Chem Show (November 17-19, 2015).  

In 1915, International Exposition Company’s inaugural Chem Show in New York City aimed to stimulate pharmaceutical, dye and organic chemical manufacturing in the United States.

Over the last 100 years, the exposition’s focus has shifted toward showcasing the industry’s best practices and latest technological advances, while providing a valuable learning experience for all participants. Next month, show attendees will have another unique opportunity to visit hundreds of exhibits and attend seminars that will highlight the newest trends, products and methods of production in the chemical processing industry (CPI).

Providing a comprehensive offering, the majority of this year’s exhibitors (approximately 75 percent) are those responsible for manufacturing the equipment and developing the technology that make today’s CPI methods a reality.  According to show management, exhibitions well-align with the Chem Show’s aim to provide key insight into how to accomplish more in less time and with fewer resources, while immersing attendees in hands-on exposure to the latest trends and technological advancements.

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Click here for more information on the Chem Show.

HI / FSA 4-Part Mechanical Seals Webinar Series

“Introduction to Mechanical Seals” will be held on March 10, 12, 17, and 19, 2015

This 4-part webinar series is based on the Hydraulic Institute guidebook, Mechanical Seals for Pumps: Application Guidelines which was published in cooperation with the Fluid Sealing Association. Each webinar will last approximately 1 hour, including Q&A. Audio broadcast will be via your computer speakers or teleconference bridge.

The 4-Part Series includes:

Section 1: Mechanical Seals – Types and Operating Principles

March 10: 1:00-2:00PM ET
Section 1 explains how a mechanical seal works and gives an overview of the most common seal types. The objectives are to give the student a good understanding of how leakage, friction and wear of the materials interact and why many different seal types are used in pumps, agitators and compressors.

Section2: Mechanical Seals Construction and Design

March 12: 1:00-2:00PM ET
Topics discussed:

Explain different design features used in common seals
Strengths and weaknesses of various design options
Impact of design features on seal performance
Discuss seal faces, springs, and seal glands
Explain differences in seal chamber designs for common pumps

Section 3: Installation – Connections – Commissioning

March 17: 1:00-2:00PM ET
A mechanical seal, although designed for various applications at times, requires equipment prepared so that the life cycle is maximized. In this module we also examine seal supports systems that further promote longer seal life. Other topics include:

General knowledge of mechanical seals used in rotary equipment.
Basic preparation and standards as well as support system piping plans promoting longer seal life.
What basic tolerances are recommended for seal installations?
What benefit is the seal drawing to the overall installation?
Does the seal flush piping plan type really influence longer life?
What is the difference between a seal support system for a secondary containment seal and a non-contacting seal?

Section 4: Seal Environment – Failure Analysis

March 19: 1:00-2:00PM ET
This module covers seal environment and failure analysis. A seal is considered to have failed when leakage exceeds environmental or plant-site operating limits. The failure may occur before or after the seal has achieved its design life expectancy. Understanding the mode of seal failure can lead to extending the life of rotary equipment by improving seal design and material selection, installation and operating procedures, and environmental controls.

For more information, go to: http://estore.pumps.org/Introduction-to-Mechanical-Seals-4-Part-Webinar-Series-P725.aspx