Tag Archives: Fluid Sealing Association

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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Technical Knowledge Leads to Productivity, Reduced Emissions

Industrial equipment is subject to harsh conditions and even some abuse, but it is nevertheless expected to operate around the clock for extended periods of time. Typically, a measure of success is if no one can remember the last time maintenance was performed on specific process machinery.

The process must be uninterrupted to meet production goals, but it also must be contained to meet emission regulations. Containing the process not only controls emissions but also increases productivity, as the amount of product lost to the environment is minimized. When problems arise, the equipment design or manufacturing is usually the first line of inquiry to find solutions to the failure. However, that is not necessarily the right place to look for improvements.

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FSA Responds to “Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds”

Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector,) Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol 151, No 21; May 27th publication

 Fluid Sealing Association Response:

On behalf of The Fluid Sealing Association, an organization comprised of sealing device technology manufacturers who make devices used to contain fluids and air emissions to prevent harmful, toxic, or otherwise dangerous products escaping into the environment. FSA’s technologies are used in every aspect of oil and gas production, gathering, boosting, processing, transmission and storage, and generally in all industrial activity around the world. These devices are often overlooked and their function is not generally well known or understood, yet they fulfill an essential role in support of our customers in the oil & gas sector to maintain a clean environment, insure safety, and prevent product waste, while allowing industrial growth and profitability.

FSA members manufacture the following products that we believe will be helpful in achieving the goals to significantly reduce methane emission from the oil and gas industry.

  • Mechanical Seals which are used to seal rotating shafts as they enter the housing of a centrifugal compressor. The seals prevent gases from escaping in the space where there is relative motion between the shaft and the housing. Various mechanical seal technologies are used, dry gas seals or wet oil seals with significantly different emission characteristics.
  • Gaskets are used to provide a static seal between two stationary components. They are used on flanges that connect piping, valves, compressors, pneumatic driven pumps, instrumentation, and many other types of equipment. Due to the high number of flanges and equipment connections subject to the thermal and mechanical stresses associated with centrifugal and reciprocating compressors, the proper use of high performance gaskets can significantly contribute to reduced fugitive emission levels.
  • Compression Packing is most commonly made of braided fibers, and is used to seal valve stems and shafts of reciprocating compressors. Valves have been identified as a major contributor to emissions, primarily due to their extremely high usage. Modern fibers and construction methods allow sealing at extremely low emission levels.
  • Expansion Joints for Piping are used to provide a flexible connection between pipes and their joining to other equipment. The expansion joints are typically bolted to flanges of piping or other process equipment. The use of expansion joints can reduce the number of piping connections, eliminate stress on a pipe that can create leaks in bolted joints, and reduce stress on rotating equipment that could affect seal or bearing wear, thereby significantly contributing to the reduction of emissions in piping systems.

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FSA Publishes the 8th Edition of the Piping Expansion Joints Handbook

The Piping Expansion Joint Division of the FSA recently completed revisions for the 8th edition of the Piping Handbook, now called the Piping Expansion Joints Technical Handbook. The revised handbook includes a contemporary format with new three-dimensional graphics. The technical content has been expanded and revised to reflect a wider variety of expansion joints and to make the handbook more relevant to the user.

The handbook provides up-to-date compilations of construction standards and guides for specifying and purchasing non-metallic expansion joints and flexible pipe connectors. It is based on the latest information concerning research, design and application of rubber (elastomer) expansion joints by engineers associated with the FSA’s Non-Metallic Expansion Joint Division member companies.

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Compensating for Oxygen Concentration

The air we breathe contains by volume 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and approximately 1% argon. Oxygen concentrations as high as 23% are considered acceptable by OSHA. However, in many areas of industry and medicine where technical or high-purity oxygen is used, oxygen concentrations can exceed 23% and create what is known as “flammable atmosphere,” leading to serious accidents and the inability for workers to self-rescue from hazardous situations when proper care is not taken.

Oxygen is non-flammable, but it is a fire promoter and can accelerate combustion and thus is a hazardous substance. Ignition may be caused by sparking, welding or using electric tools when concentrations rise above 23%. Materials of construction, education and testing go far to prevent these hazards in industrial settings.

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Gasket Installation Best Practices

Gasket failures can be problematic, causing unwanted downtime, revenue loss and safety concerns. Failure analysis shows that up to 85% of all gasket failures are due to faulty user installation, though it is important to note that with proper training and installation procedures, most of these failures are preventable. ASME PCC-1 is a post-construction guideline for pressure boundary bolted flange joint assemblies, and the bulk of gasket manufacturers derive their installation procedures from this guideline. For the end user who does not have an installation procedure, it is a great resource to have; however, the book is more than 99 pages and is not suitable to carry around in the field.

To help with this, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA), in conjunction with the European Sealing Association (ESA), have created a Gasket Installation procedures pocket book (available in nine languages on the FSA and ESA websites (fluidsealing.com, europeansealing.com) to help installers focus on the key points of proper gasket installation. Following is a summary of the six principal areas of focus in sequential order.

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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 Enlightening Industry About Fluid Sealing

People don’t realize how often fluid seals are used in their everyday lives. For many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is brush our teeth. Water flows out of the faucet, which is controlled by a fluid seal. Today, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) acts as the international trade association responsible for informing and educating the fluid sealing industry and its users.

Founded in 1933, FSA’s member companies are involved in the production and marketing of a wide range of fluid sealing devices primarily targeted to the industrial market. The association’s members account for a majority of the manufacturing capacity when it comes to fluid sealing devices in the Americas market.

Henri Azibert has been serving as FSA’s technical director for three years. With more than 30 years of sealing engineering experience, Azibert is focused on maintaining an association that is productive and vibrant, conducts numerous activities and involves all its members.

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Factors for Successful Emissions-Compliant Valve Stem Seals

Valve seal performance is an important issue with today’s restrictions on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from valves. Refineries and chemical processing plants, valve manufacturers, seal manufacturers, valve repair companies and outage service companies have a vested interest in ensuring that valves operate within emissions-compliance levels. Careful treatment from each of these parties is required to deliver successful, emissions-compliant valve performance.

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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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