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Top Reasons Behind Mechanical Seal Failure in Pumps and How to Prevent Them
You may be worrying and trying to figure out the cause behind your pump downtime. Well pump’s mechanical seal failure is one of the common reasons for that.
Mechanical seals play an important role in ensuring the safe operation of pumps in tough conditions as long as possible.
But if you are facing continuous seal failure and wondering the reason behind the cause and how it can be addressed, you have clicked the right link.
There are a number of factors, from seal selection and storage conditions to seal support systems and pump startup process, that affects the life expectancy of a mechanical seal.
In this blog, we will learn the top reasons behind Mechanical Seal failure in pumps and what you can do to prevent them.
What Is A Mechanical Seal?
A mechanical seal is a component that prevents fluid leakage through the rotating pump shaft. It consists of three parts, a spring, a rotating face, and a stationary face, closely connected with each other for lubrication and proper seal function.
Failure in the mechanical pump seal leads to loss of fluids and can cause frequent pump failure due to leakage. Hence, a reliable mechanical seal is essential for optimal and safe pump operation.
Top Reasons For Mechanical Seal Failure
1. Dry Running
Operating your pump without fluid in it can cause damage to a mechanical seal. The internal pump parts rely on the pumped liquid for lubrication and cooling, and without proper lubrication, it can cause seal failure.
Dry running failures mostly occur while restarting the pump after maintenance without checking if the pump is filled with fluid. To prevent this damage it's crucial to ensure the pump is filled with liquid and check the pump seal. The seal face will be white if it has been run dry.
2. Chemical Incompatibility
Materials used in pumps should be chemically compatible to avoid any internal component damage. If the fluid is incompatible then it causes Internal parts like rubber seals, gaskets, impellers, pump casings, and diffusers to damage.
Cracking and shrinking of internal components can result in frequent wear and tear of the pump. Hence check the chemical compatibility of the pump materials with the fluid being pumped.
3. Installation Error
A mechanical seal is designed to move with the shaft, and if it is installed incorrectly, it can lead to damaging force on the seal. Hence, proper installation is needed to prevent seal failure and pump damage.
Proper seal installation includes checking seal components, lubrication, and support system configuration. Common reasons for improper installations are loose set screws, damaged seal faces, using incorrect piping connections, and loose gland bolts.
If the pump is not properly balanced and aligned, then it can cause pump vibration. This vibration can hurt equipment and result in damaged seals or short seal life.
Pump vibration is not only caused by pump imbalance and misalignment but operating the pump too far from the pump’s Best Efficiency Point can also lead to too much vibration.
This vibration causes numerous damage beyond seal leakages, such as preventing the formation of a lubrication layer and more.
5. Bearing Wear
Excessive shaft rotation can cause the bearing to wear due to the friction caused. This can cause the mechanical seal to tear. Contamination can speed up seal wear and decrease seal service life; hence, it is important to use high-quality bearings to improve mechanical seal lifespan.
6. Wrong Mechanical Seal Selection
Incomplete knowledge and information while installing and selecting a mechanical seal is another common reason for mechanical seal failure. Hence it is crucial to select the correct mechanical seal by considering factors such as operating conditions, off-design excursion potential, and non-process activities to avoid any failure.
Other common reasons for mechanical seal failures are
7. High fluid temperature for an extended period
8. Soft seal faces
9. Hammering coupling onto the shaft
10. Improper operation
11. Improper use of mechanical seal flush plans
How To Prevent Mechanical Seal Failure?
Proper Maintenance – Regularly check the pump to see if there are any faults or irregularities present. Proactively do the maintenance to ensure seal reliability and longevity.
Install Updated Seal Design – Installing the latest and advanced pump seal design can offer various advantages that can improve pump efficiency.
Fix Pump Failure –Properly diagnose the pump failure reasons and ensure troubleshooting so that it doesn’t occur again.
Frequent pump failure can be scary. However, once you identify the reason behind the failure, you can address it and prevent it from happening.
Above, we have listed the top reasons that might be affecting your mechanical seal performance and simultaneously, your pump’s efficiency. So understand the reasons and make sure to take preventive steps to ensure reliable mechanical seal performance.
If you are looking for the best type of mechanical seal for your industrial pump Popular Pump Seals can help you out. We are a leading mechanical seal manufacturer in India providing top-quality products to wide industries.
Get in touch with us today to get the best mechanical seal for your specific application.