As a pump operator, you often have to troubleshoot problems. However, with more experience and extended use of pump equipment, you can start to anticipate issues long before they happen. One very widespread concern with pump systems is leakage between the shafts and mechanical seal sleeves. This area can be a weak point in many pumps, depending on the process materials, pressures, and temperatures.
There are a few ways you can minimize and mitigate shaft seal leakage in pumps. Here are a few troubleshooting suggestions from DXP Pacific:
Replace or Upgrade Mechanical Seals
The seal itself could be the problem. Not all stock mechanical seals are designed to stand up to extreme conditions or corrosive liquids. As a result, you may find yourself needing to replace worn-out seals and O-rings more often than expected. Or, you may also want to look into upgrading your mechanical seal solutions. Aftermarket mechanical seal options and customizations improve performance, allowing you to achieve better sealing based on your specific application.
Shaft Repair & Replacement
In some cases, a shaft replacement is a practical solution. The maintenance cost won’t be exorbitant, and it could spare the pump from further damage. Fluid leaks cause significant pressure loss and that can have a snowball effect throughout the pump system. It may be worth the effort to replace the shaft or upgrade to a shaft with high-quality martensitic material.
Seal Sleeve O-Ring Relocation
Another effective option to consider is to relocate O-ring placement in the shaft seal. It requires a careful inspection of the damaged shaft before precisely moving the O-ring. You can work with your pump service provider and mechanical seal supplier to determine if this is feasible and how to go about the O-ring relocation process.
You can apply a specialized coating such as tungsten carbide underneath the seal sleeve. During, be sure to use the correct type of coating that will work with your seal sleeve materials and process fluids. Consult with the pump manufacturer or your supplier to determine if this is a good idea and what kind of coating(s) may work best. Coating the entire length of the shaft sleeve may seem excessive, but it will generally provide better long-term results than partial coatings.
Naturally, one of the best ways to minimize shaft seal leakage is through regular inspections and a consistent preventative maintenance schedule. The more you use the pump system, the more you can dial in your maintenance procedures and timings. You’ll know when to check the mechanical seal and shaft sleeve, and what to look for when addressing leakage problems. Of course, it is always best to catch problems before they happen. This way, you can avoid major damage and costly breakdowns that will put you way behind schedule.
Every pump system will have its unique challenges, from the equipment itself to the application at hand. There are many instances where your operation may benefit from more customized pump solutions. Whether it’s specialized mechanical seals or other mechanical alterations and upgrades, there are cost-effective ways to improve pump efficiency and extend equipment lifespan.
For all your pump system needs, DXP Pacific is the resource you can trust. We provide a full spectrum of pump services, from custom design and installation to maintenance and repair. Our team is here to help troubleshoot problems and prevent common issues faced by many pump operators. Put our experience and expertise to work for you. Contact us today!