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Home arrow Health arrow Case Studies in Maintenance and Reliability: A Wealth of Best Practices

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Lessons

  • 1. Seal damage occurs mainly during pump starts; if you want seals to last long, minimize pump starts.
  • 2. Keeping the stuffing boxes and hence the seal faces cool during starts helps prolong seal life, especially when the liquid is near its vapour point.
  • 3. With modern Process Control Systems, it is technically feasible to monitor seal face condition. However, this may only be economically feasible with the pumping-ring design.
  • 4. When the seal is in good condition, the fluid temperature and, by inference, the seal face temperature is constant, with a smooth profile.
  • 5. Once seal faces start getting damaged, this profile became jagged and rough and the temperature starts rising.
  • 6. Using this type of data, it is possible to predict the time of failure of such seals. This knowledge can be used to plan the timing of seal re placement accurately, and maximize their service life, reducing down time and costs.

With improving technology, it is possible for temperature sensors to be embedded in stationary seal faces, which can then be monitored. This will add to the growing list of condition monitoring techniques that will become available. Seal failures account for over 20% of pump failures. Predicting their time of failure can lead to significant reductions in downtime and costs. The method can be universally applied and is not restricted to this particular seal design.

Principles

Having a theory or hypothesis is not much use unless we can verify its validity by field trials. When we conduct such trials, potential errors have to be identified, and results corrected if they are significant or introduce bias.

Understanding exactly what happens during a failure can guide us in designing better components and equipment.

 
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