Mechanical seal leaks are commonly found in centrifugal pumps. When the causes of the leak are not evident, you may have to develop a repair plan. However, the pump, its mechanical seal, and seal support system form a complex system.
To determine the centrifugal pump leakage, you must first understand the pump’s basic operation. Certain component failures of a centrifugal pump, including bearings, static joints, hydraulic and coupling, may cause the whole system to fail. But a majority of the pump failures occur due to sealing devices malfunctioning.
Here’s how to deal with mechanical seal leakage in centrifugal pumps
Assess the Operating Conditions
When checking the pump’s operating conditions, check whether it was running dry or has a different fluid being pumped. A clog or damage to the seal support system might as well cause mechanical seal leakage in centrifugal pumps. Running the pump dry severely damages pumps, seals, and other components despite having the instrumentation to prevent this from occurring.
Evaluate Vibration Monitoring
Bearing or alignment problems inducing vibrations can deteriorate mechanical seals and cause leaks. Vibrations not associated with misalignment may also require the replacement of mechanical seals. The maintenance department must address these problems to prevent leakage.
Checking the Flushing System
When plugging the pump seal with solids or other debris, evaluate the flushing system. This is important, especially in dirtier process fluid services. If the flush system fails to deliver enough flow, or the flow can’t be verified, the seal flush may not provide the necessary cleaning. An easy-to-use flush system prevents several problems when dealing with crude oils, residual oil, or heavy FCC oils.
Look for Seal Component Failures
Some of the reasons for seal component failure include:
- Choosing incorrect facing combinations
- Poor seal face material quality
- Inappropriate materials for an application
- Not selecting the proper secondary seals – O-rings and gaskets for chemical and heart attacks
- Clogged springs and corroded bellows
- Distortions from pressure and heat (a mechanical seal under extreme conditions will bow and cause a leak)
Are you looking for mechanical seal solutions in Texas? Seek our professional assistance at Robco of America. In addition to providing reliable mechanical seal repair and replacement services, we specialize in industrial engineered parts, gasket solutions, valve packing, pump packing, and more.
For more information and details, call us at 800-662-0585