by Michelle Segrest

Editor’s Note: The editors of Pumps & Systems spent time with incoming Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) President Greg Raty and FSA Technical Director Pete Petrunich to discuss FSA’s role in standards development, how they affect the pump and seal industries and the growth of the organization. Both provided expert and candid commentary. 

 How does FSA’s role in standards development affect the pump and seal industries?

 Pete Petrunich: Sealing systems remain the key to the containment of process fluids in pumping systems that impact costs, as well as environmental stewardship—including the loss of product, emission control and energy conservation. FSA’s support of external standards development provides sealing technology experts with consensus contributions to help ensure that these standards include the latest, most effective technology for the reliable containment of process fluids. They help provide the basis for establishing the requirements for a fully functioning pumping system that meets or exceeds environmental standards and is energy efficient.

 he development of the fourth edition of American Petroleum Institute (API) Standard 682 represents hundreds of man hours of volunteer technical support by FSA member companies supported by FSA staff. Portions of FSA publications were referenced during its development. 

While it is still being finalized, the fourth edition arguably could not have been possible without FSA technical support. The seal industry was positively affected by these contributions in many ways, including the harmonization of common terms and definitions.

The impact of FSA standards is not limited to the pump. It can extend through standards developed by FSA. One example is the FSA-PSJ-703-11 Standard, Guidelines for Elastomers Used in Piping Systems Non-Metallic Expansion Joints. It provides the typical properties of elastomers used to form the critical tube and cover components of an expansion joint.

Supporting the development of emission requirements and other key external standards also extends beyond the pump. FSA contributes to the development of standards that include the recently published second edition valve packing emission standard, API 622, and valve emissions standard, API 624, currently under development.

What has happened in the sealing industry in the past year that would affect our readers?

Greg Raty: There is an ongoing concern related to the supply of raw materials. The recent trends related to fluid handling products appear to be improving for many manufacturer’s, which in turn, have dictated higher material costs. While monitoring these trends can be helpful, demand within emerging economies has increased costs and continues to be a serious concern.

What is the biggest challenge for the sealing industry right now?

Greg Raty: The availability of properly trained employees and finding qualified personnel continue to be challenges to industries. Retaining qualified, skilled workers for installations and application reviews has also been a necessary but challenging objective. Determining how to best position your business in these areas may dictate the level of success experienced. 

What is going on with FSA that our readers should know about?

Greg Raty: In recent years, FSA has taken a more proactive external approach to the industries we service. Within our increasing membership, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience reflected in the divisions and their technical committees, working groups and special committees. 

At a recent European Sealing Association (ESA)/FSA strategic planning session held in Munich, Germany, both executive committees reviewed and discussed several strategic initiatives. Some of these were related to end-user awareness, participation in the development of industry standards and reliance on FSA technical standards and ESA guidelines and protocols. Efforts are being made to ensure and regularly maintain continuity among member companies. 

In December 2011, members of our Governmental Affairs Committee met in Washington, D.C., with congressional aides and some representatives to inform them of the purpose, capabilities and activities of FSA. We were provided with an overview of some legislative activities taking place in Washington and within other associations.

In some cases, FSA may choose to play a more active role. In particular, we were given a copy of the Shaheen Portman Bill, directed to “promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry and for other purposes.” Awareness of this initiative will help FSA promote the importance of sealing system energy conservation through the use of the best available technology. 

What are FSA’s goals for the remainder f1of 2012 and 2013?

Greg Raty:  Currently, our Marketing Committee is finalizing the process and structure required to deliver regular webinars to the industry. This along with our upcoming newsletter, which will be distributed regularly, should provide a consistent platform for FSA to further promote our brand while establishing greater value to our members. 

Involvement in social media is another area in which we see additional opportunity and value. We are determined to deliver our educational message to younger members who tend to be attuned to different modes of delivery. Value to our membership and industry will also be enhanced through continued collaborations with other associations such as ESA, the Hydraulic Institute (HI), Texas A&M, Fluid Leak Management Users’ Group (FLMUG) and others.