Why Your Seal Support System’s Quality Matters—Especially in Critical Applications
by Thomas Webster, on Tue, May 04, 2021 @ 10:05 AM
When rotating equipment fails, the number one culprit is often the mechanical seal. In fact, mechanical seals make up for almost 40% of pump failure causes. Additionally, mechanical seals account for almost 45% of pump repair costs.
Whether you are using a seal support system for pumps, compressors, turbines, or blowers in your operations, it’s imperative to make sure your seal support system’s quality is up to par. A quality seal support system will be reliable and easy to maintain, reducing the chances of failure and any associated costs.
Understanding the Importance of Your Seal Support System’s Quality
Seal support systems are designed to support a specific mechanical seal and set of process conditions, supplying either a liquid or gas to lubricate or flush contaminants from the seal. Having a seal support system that’s designed and installed according to the API 682 Standard keeps rotating equipment running efficiently.
For example, in challenging climates, such as those in central and northeast Alberta, and the Canadian territories, equipment can be left unattended for long periods of time. Because of this, refineries need a seal support system that’s reliable and easy to maintain—two of the most important factors that contribute to a seal support system’s quality.
Having a reliable and dependable seal support system is the key to maximizing uptime. A reliable seal support system is one with high-quality components that reduce the number of leak points, an intuitive design, and is easy to maintain. Every connection in the system should be looked at as a potential leak point and a risk to overall reliability. Thus, designing a system with the minimum number of connections is optimal to reduce the potential leak points that could lead to unplanned downtime. Leak points can be eliminated by:
- Using tubing instead of piping
- Reducing the number of connections through innovative configurations
- Limiting the number of threaded connections
A seal support system with an intuitive design facilitates proper operation and helps to avoid common mistakes made when commissioning equipment. An intuitive design also supports maintainability. If the system is designed for ease of maintenance, the chance of operational error can be greatly reduced.
Routine maintenance contributes to a seal support system’s quality and reliability. Engineers must be able to easily perform seal support maintenance, whether that be for calibration purposes, troubleshooting a clog, replacing a component, or filling the seal pot. Performing maintenance in inclement weather—such as in central and northeast Alberta, and the Canadian territories—can be potentially hazardous. Therefore, the seal support system should be designed in a way that makes maintenance as easy and safe as possible.
A system that is constructed in a panel assembly not only allows for easier assembly, but also ensures ease of maintenance. All instrumentation around these systems should be easily readable and in an easily accessible, centralized location in accordance with the most current API 682 Standard.
When a component must be replaced, your system should be designed in such a way that maintenance doesn’t significantly disrupt operations. For example, gauges including single block and bleed manifolds allow for calibration or gauge replacement while maintaining system operations. Refilling a seal pot utilizing a seal pot fill tube eliminates the need to shut down the pump, wait for the equipment to cool, and send someone to manually refill the pot. This design can save time and mitigate safety risks.
Rely on Expertise and Experience to Improve Quality
The expertise and experience from local experts who have a deep understanding of seal support system applications is truly invaluable. Edmonton Valve & Fitting is well-versed with the requirements to maintain seal support quality in challenging climates—such as those in central and northeast Alberta, and the Canadian territories—and is readily available to provide Field Advisory Services to ensure you have the right seal support system.
We can help you determine whether your system requires a component upgrade, or we can even create a custom locally fabricated system to perfectly fit your needs. With the implementation of all of the best practices of the most current API 682 Standard and top-of-the-line components backed by our best-in-class Lifetime Warranty, Edmonton Valve & Fitting is the sure way to your seal support system’s quality.