Innovative Vertical Pump Sealing Solutions

Upgrade in Action: HydroSeal 

Vertical pumps have reliability and maintenance considerations unique to their design and application. One of these considerations is the pump seal design. Many vertical pumps rely on packing in lieu of mechanical seals. While it is a less sophisticated design, packing has benefits for vertical pumps, including greater ability to handle fluid with particulates, less sensitivity to misalignment, and greater stiffness and damping provided at the seal location. However, packing also has multiple disadvantages, foremost of which is the need to continuously adjust the packing gland to maintain the desired leakage rate and the requirement that some fluid must leak to the atmosphere. The cost associated with replacing worn components in the packing area is another notable drawback.

 

In cases where any of the disadvantages associated with packing or a mechanical seal noticeably impact reliability or the cost of operation, upgrading to a seal casing design is an attractive alternative. This is the decision that a pulp and paper mill in the Southeastern US made when experiencing reliability and environmental concerns in their River Water pump system. Faced with the need to install a new sealing device, they decided that the ability to avoid aboveground leakage and eliminate time-consuming periodic maintenance justified the investment in a vertical pump seal casing.

Read the full case study in World Pumps March/April 2024 edition.

Learn more about Hydro’s Hydro South service center and Hydro’s Engineering Services.

Navigating Resonance Challenges

A Case Study in Diagnostic Testing and Innovative Solutions

Some services are inherently difficult due to factors such as fluid quality or multiple disparate operating points.  These factors are an inherent part of the process and cannot be changed to improve reliability. Harsh applications can be a costly prospect, both in overhaul costs and in the time and labor required for frequent servicing. Many times we become caught in the perception that there is no improvement to be had for these services. A short mean-time-between-failures (MTBF) becomes routine and expected, and maintenance activities and parts procurement are built around this expectation.  

When equipment is sent out for refurbishment, the expectation is that mechanical and hydraulic performance upon reinstallation will be better than what was experienced in the worn condition. This assumption holds true in most cases; however, sometimes unexpected behavior can occur after a pump is remanufactured and reinstalled. While it is easy to jump to the conclusion that these performance changes were caused by errors made during the repair or installation of the equipment, sometimes the problem is more complex and related to latent weaknesses in the design that had lain dormant until refurbishment.

This scenario was experienced by a power utility in the Southeastern US when they ran into significant vibration increases after one of their boiler feed pumps was refurbished by a local repair shop. Concerned by the level of vibration, the utility reached out to Hydro South, who have extensive experience in this application and model. From there, Hydro Reliability Services was called on to collect data on the problematic equipment and use advanced modeling tools to understand the nature of the vibration. The field testing and analysis revealed that pump had been operating with a very small margin between a structural resonance and one of the pump forcing frequencies. Armed with this information, solutions were developed to increase this margin and return to stable operation.

Read the full case study in Pumps & Systems March 2024 edition.

Learn more about Hydro Reliability Services and how they support field testing, vibration troubleshooting, and advanced system studies.

Wednesday Webinar: Defeating Pump Killers

Join us for our April Wednesday Webinar on methods for defeating pump killers and achieving reliable, efficient operation. Instructor Gary Dyson dives deep into the world of “pump killers.” You’ll gain invaluable insights into the root causes behind these issues and, most importantly, discover practical solutions to enhance your pump operation.

Register Now

RATS MRO Conference & Workshops

Join Hydro at the Rotating and Turbomachinery Society’s 2023 MRO conference and workshops. On Wednesday, October 25, Hydro Scotford will be participating in the mid-day trade show. On Thursday, October 26, Hydro Reliability Services’ Kyle Bowlin will be presenting during one of the workshops on methods for detecting and resolving resonance.

Conference Website

Workshop Website

Challenging MTBF Expectations

Improving Maintenance Intervals in Demanding Applications

Some services are inherently difficult due to factors such as fluid quality or multiple disparate operating points.  These factors are an inherent part of the process and cannot be changed to improve reliability. Harsh applications can be a costly prospect, both in overhaul costs and in the time and labor required for frequent servicing. Many times we become caught in the perception that there is no improvement to be had for these services. A short mean-time-between-failures (MTBF) becomes routine and expected, and maintenance activities and parts procurement are built around this expectation.  

It’s important that processes are built around historical run times to anticipate needs in the short term. However, it is equally important to take a step back and ask– “is this maintenance interval really acceptable or is there something that I can do to improve it?” An end user in the Canadian oil sands industry decided to take on that challenge when faced with a problematic bitumen froth transfer pump. This end user partnered with Hydro’s Scotford facility in Alberta to develop a series of upgrades that improved operating life while simultaneously reducing the cost of repair. 

Read the full case study in World Pumps July/August 2023 edition.

Learn more about our Hydro Scotford service center.