Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Weekly posts for northern and central Alberta engineers, plant operators, and buyers.

Rely on Swagelok Seal Support Systems to Reduce Pump Failures

by Luke Wurban, on Fri, Jun 12, 2020 @ 11:06 AM

When rotating equipment fails, the culprit is often a bad seal


shaftseal_chapter5_mechsealscause39percentofpumpfailures-1

This pie chart shows how important shaft seals are for keeping pumps up and running (Photo Courtesy of Mechanical Shaft Seals for Pumps, Grundfos, page 76, http://machining.grundfos.com).

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When rotating equipment fails, it’s often due to a seal failure. In fact, about 40 percent of all unscheduled critical pump shutdowns are caused by mechanical seal failures. That can get expensive fast.

Swagelok doesn't make pumps or mechanical seals, but has applied its 70 years of expertise in fluid systems to help keep your pumps up and running by eliminating leak points. With fewer leak points, systems are more reliable and cost less to monitor.

Customers asked for it

Based on customer feedback, Swagelok developed several products for its seal support systems. One is an extended metal connector, a simple fitting that allows for a one-piece transition from the connection at the mechanical seal, out past the shroud, to the tubing system. 

Orifices are common installations in flush plants. Swagelok created an easy way to go from a flange to tubing with a one-piece flange adapter, incorporating the orifice right into the flange itself. That eliminates the need for one more connection or gasket to an orifice plate.

Orienting the pipe fitting for a long-stem thermometer can be an installation issue. It can require extra connections and lead to a bulky assembly. Swagelok's solution? The thermowell T. It's lightweight, compact, and welded at the factory to eliminate potential leak points. 

Guided by API 682

Swagelok seal support systems are guided by API 682, incorporating all the recommended components and following best practices. 

API 682 recommends specific wall thicknesses for 1/2 inch (12 mm) to 1 inch (25 mm) OD tubing. Heavier-wall tubing provides extra rigidity in high-vibration service. A heavier tube wall also creates more robust systems in areas where large pieces of equipment are being maintained and personnel may inadvertently come into contact with the tubing.

Reliability and maintainability

All of our seal support system designs focus on maintainability. For example, we used U-shaped tubes whenever possible so that components can be removed from the system without too much trouble. 

Design options include high-point vents so the system can be cleared of air inclusions, which can prevent the support system from providing the desired rate of cooling. 

We also put bypass lines on filters. That way, when the element needs to be cleaned out or replaced, the flow can be diverted around the filter without stopping the flow through the system. 

We go beyond offering the entire seal support system, such as a seal pot on a stand. We also offer a connection kit, reducing the potential for installation errors and costly rework. They kit has a single part number, making it easy to order. 

Assemblies and kits

Swagelok mechanical seal support systems are designed and built right here at Edmonton Valve, exactly how you want them and when you need them. We can design systems specific to your application, including optional isolation valves, bypass loops, and instrumentation to help you maintain the system and monitor the health of the seal.

We offer seal support systems as both kits and assemblies.

Seal plan kits contains everything needed for proper installation, including an engineered drawing. For projects or turnarounds, seal plan kits can be used to standardize how plans are connected to the pump. Kits also show technicians where to bend tubing to eliminate potential leak points through the reduction of elbow fittings and pipe threads.

Seal plan assemblies are panels, seal pots, or skid systems that comprise the majority of the API seal support plans. Seal plan assemblies can be ordered alone or with the associated field installation kit.

Support

With Swagelok Custom Solutions from Edmonton Valve we can also:

  • Help source proper components
  • Generate bill of materials
  • Provide support from trained and certified experts
  • Assist with creating CAD drawings to your application specifications
  • Assist with piping and instrumentation diagrams to your requirements
  • Fabricate and assemble customized API 682 systems
  • Provide tube bending, welding, and other value-add services
  • Provide seal plan kits that bundle plan components
  • Deliver locally available critical spares

We can stock spares locally, from individual fittings to entire seal support systems. When you need them, we can deliver right away. And Swagelok products are backed by our Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Get the literature

We have several pieces of literature that go into greater detail on the subject. Our Mechanical Seal Support Systems brochure and guide show how Swagelok can help you end seal failures. We can even send you a chapter on the failure of mechanical shaft seals from the book "Mechanical Shaft Seals and Pumps."

Get all three documents, and other supporting documents here. Then call Edmonton Valve & Fitting at 780-437-0640, or drop us a note using the contact page on our website.

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