Pump fluid are costly and come with a menu of repercussions. Among these are a loss of process fluid, reduced performance and suction pressure, lack of energy efficiency, and dangerous environmental emissions.
Can you eliminate to reduce these consequences with intentionally crafted mechanical seals?
Eliminating Hazardous Emissions
When process fluids or lubricants leak into the environment, expensive clean-up efforts, government fines, and even shutdowns of your entire operation are at risk. Many are surprised to know that the most common source of leakage emissions is mechanical seals, a severe weak point in your pump system if improperly fitted or installed.
Mechanical seals can wear out over time or fail because of corrosive process fluids, thus weakening the seal and leading to fluid leaks. If operating in a sensitive environment, avoid any leaks, whether big or small.
When a copper mine in Mexico faced major problems from process fluid leaks from their rotating equipment, large government fines put the entire operation at risk. Before things worsened, this copper mine turned to John Crane for an improved mechanical seal solution. John Crane is one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of advanced mechanical seals for all types of pump systems, rotating equipment, and fluid processing applications.
An audit of the mine’s pump system revealed the leaks occurred where flotation copper ore extraction and electrolysis took place. The leaks were causing up to three gallons per minute with tailing water mixed with 28% sulfuric acid and 12% copper. They lost precious copper ore and a concerning amount of sulfuric acid into the environment. This situation had to be corrected as soon as possible to avoid a complete shut down of their operation.
John Crane performed an analysis of the plant and discovered two key issues:
- Hydraulic shock (aka “hammer effect”) from frequent starts and stops of the pump.
- Extremely corrosive nature of the process fluid.
Proper Piping System & Mechanical Seals
Upon John Crane’s advisement, the mine modified their piping system to a 53A, including 46 new John Crane Type 5620VP dual-pressurized cartridge seals. These seals fit the equipment properly and can withstand caustic process fluid.
Finally, a new cooling coil and lubrication system was incorporated for better system performance, along with ear-drive O-ring pusher seal heads. They installed 46 five-gallon reservoirs in conjunction with each seal point as a backup so that if any seal weakened or failed, the fluids would expel into these reservoirs and prevent catastrophic emissions into the environment.
The following three years proved that this mine could record zero emissions. These changes eliminated any fines and potential government shutdowns. Even better, the performance of their tailings pump system improved significantly without any seal leaks. Labor costs were reduced, maintenance expenses reduced, and the mine saved more than $50,000 in lost production! No matter your application, you’ll benefit from strategic mechanical seal upgrades. If you would like to learn more about John Crane mechanical seals, rotating equipment, or custom system design solutions, contact DXP Pacific. Let our team help you get the most out of your pump system.