Even with the same standard cartridge design, a wide range of customization potential exists from a selection of material components to the piping plan employed. Guidance on the selection of the components of the sealing system by the seal manufacturer is crucial to achieving the level of performance and overall reliability needed. This type customization can allow mechanical seals to stretch normal usage up to 30 to 60 months of MTBR rather than 24 months.
With this approach, the end users can be assured of receiving a sealing system that is designed for their specific application, form and function. The capability provides the end user with the knowledge required about the operation of the pump before it is installed. Guessing is not necessary regarding how the pump works or if it can handle the application.
While most process operators perform the same functions, the applications are not the same. Processes run at different speeds, different temperatures and different viscosities, with different operational procedures and different pump configurations.
Through the years, the mechanical seal industry has introduced significant innovations that have decreased the sensitivity of seals to varying operating conditions and led to an increase in reliability. This means that if an end user lacks monitoring instrumentation to provide warnings for vibration, temperature, bearing and motor loads, today’s seals, in most cases, will still perform their primary functions.
Through reliability engineering, material enhancements, computer-aided design and advanced manufacturing techniques, mechanical seals continue to prove their value and reliability. Despite changing emissions and containment control, and safety and exposure limits, seals have stayed ahead of the challenging requirements. That is why mechanical seals are still the preferred choice in the process industries.
Next Month: What are the current emission standards for valve packing?
We invite your questions on sealing issues and will provide best effort answers based on FSA publications. Please direct your questions to:
Pumps & Systems, April 2012
FSA—the Voice of the Fluid Sealing Industry
In 1933, 36 American and Canadian companies attended the inaugural meeting of the Mechanical Packing Association in New York. After changing its name to the Fluid Sealing Association in 1970, the organization has grown to represent more than 85 percent of the manufacturing capacity for North America.
The FSA has five divisions with a specific product technology focus: Mechanical Seal, Gasket, Compression Packing, Piping Systems Non-Metallic Expansion Joint and Ducting Systems Non-Metallic Expansion Joint.
The FSA publishes a quarterly newsletter for sealing industry professionals that includes the latest updates on education opportunities, publications and standards, technical articles and general industry news. If you are interested in receiving this electronic newsletter, send your name and email address to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The next issue will feature information on the Compression Packing Division’s upcoming webinar on compression packing technology basics.
If you are having a problem with sealing gasketed joints, go to the FSA’s website (
www.fluidsealing.com) for a new tool offered by the Gasket Division. A questionnaire is available for download to your computer. The form can be completed electronically and then forwarded by email directly to an FSA Gasket Division member, so that he/she may help you eliminate costly leaking flanges.
The initiatives of the Mechanical Seal Division include Sealing Systems Matter, which is based on an energy-driven total life cycle cost approach to sealing systems. The Life Cycle Cost Estimator software tool, part of Sealing Systems Matter, is a web-based tool for calculating and comparing pump seal life cycle costs. The software has recently been updated and is available for download from the FSA’s website or under the Seals topic at
www.pump-zone.com. Publications from the Mechanical Seal Division include the Mechanical Seal Handbook, which served as the basis for the Hydraulic Institute’s publication, Mechanical Seals for Pumps: Application Guidelines.
Publications from the FSA’s other divisions include the popular joint ESA/FSA pamphlet Gasket Installation Procedures from the Gasket Division, the updated Compression Packing Technical Manual from the Compression Packing Division, Non-Metallic Expansion Joints and Flexible Piping Connectors Technical Handbook from the Piping Division and Ducting Systems Non-Metallic Expansion Joints Technical Handbook from the Ducting Division. These publications are available to purchase on the FSA’s website,
www.fluidsealing.com. FSA industry standards are also available there for free download.
The FSA collaborates with several other organizations to fulfill its mission. Since 1999, it has collaborated with the ESA on several technical documents and recently completed a joint strategic planning session that calls for additional joint ventures. The FSA has also partnered with the Hydraulic Institute since 2007. The collaboration has included seminars, short course and joint work on publications and a series of webinars on mechanical seals.