Centrifugal Pump Problems and Solutions

Improved centrifugal pump competence reduces pump downtime, while increasing reliability, efficiency, and safety. By upgrading your pumps wear components including shaft bushings, throttle bushings, and wear rings to composite materials you can effectively enhance the lifespan of your pump. Boulden Company is a direct supplier of premium composite components for increased centrifugal pump reliability and efficiency.

At Boulden Company, we identify pump failure causes and implement solutions that prolong the life of your centrifugal pump, saving you time and money. Our experienced professionals will identify the composite material that is best suited to your pump’s needs; effectively eliminating numerous issues that accompany a downed pump.

Contact us for more information regarding our centrifugal pump problem and solution capabilities, or call us at 800-523-0569 and we will gladly speak to you regarding your pump’s specific requirements. Whether it’s Vespel® CR-6100, Metcar® M-161 and M-310 or our own B-Series line of composite materials, Boulden Company is your trusted supplier of composite materials for centrifugal pumps.

Centrifugal Pump Failure Causes

The metal-to-metal part interfaces within the pump can cause many pump problems. Metal parts can seize or gall and therefore often need large running clearances. Conversely, non-metallic composite components do not gall or seize and can be installed with significantly reduced clearance. Using non-galling composite wear components supplied by Boulden with reduced running clearance can help with several common pump problems:

Pump Running Dry

When a centrifugal pump runs dry metal wear components within the pump can seize and cause significant damage to the pump. However, by implementing Vespel® CR-6100 or Boulden’s B-Series wear rings the pump can survive dry running for significant periods of time, minimizing damage to pump internals.

Pump Seizure

Pump seizures can occur for several reasons including off-design conditions, foreign objects entering the pump, or low flow operation. Metal components within the pump often exacerbate seizures, resulting in significant pump damage. DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 or Boulden’s B-Series composite materials mitigate the damage under these types of scenarios.

Alignment Galling

Horizontal multi-stage centrifugal pumps are often prone to galling during alignment. These pumps rely upon the wear rings to create hydraulic forces that “lift” the rotor once the pump is running at full speed. Composite wear rings essentially eliminate this risk by eliminating the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump.

Pump Cavitation

Pump cavitation solutions are often expensive or difficult to implement such as a complete redesign of the suction system, a hydraulic rerate of the pump, or a complete replacement of the pump. Upgrading the wear rings to composite materials, you can dramatically reduce the wear ring clearance to 50 percent of the API610 minimum values and reduce the NPSHR of the pump. In applications where you are right on the edge of cavitation, this simple upgrade can save you a lot of money and headaches.

Start-Up Suction Problems

Reduced suction at pump start-up is directly related to pump cavitation and causes numerous problems including dry running or premature component wear. Implementing composite wear components into the pump significantly improves the ability of a pump to achieve suction at start-up due to the reduction in NPSHR and survive dry running in low vapor pressure fluids.

Mechanical Seal Failures

Certain pump designs incorporate long, slender shafts, which can deflect during operation. This can lead to undue stress on the mechanical seal resulting in premature seal failures. Applying Boulden’s B-Series or DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 composite wear rings and reducing clearance by 50% leads to lower shaft deflection and more reliable mechanical seals.

Pump Vibration

Increased vibration levels within a pump over an extended period can lead to significant pump damage.  Metcar M-161 and M-310, Boulden B-Series or DuPont™ Vespel® CR-6100 composite materials allow you to reduce the wear ring clearance by 50%, which leads to lower shaft deflection, lower vibration, and longer pump component life. Some pumps experience reduced vibration levels by as much as 50%.

Poor Pump Efficiency

Pump wear rings act as a seal between high and low-pressure areas of a pump. Composite materials such as Vespel® CR-6100 and Boulden B-Series allow you to reduce clearance by 50%, which increases pump efficiency. This is a great option for boiler feed water pumps and unit charge pumps.

Excessive Clearance at Wear Rings & Shaft Bushings

Centrifugal pumps that utilize bronze or cast iron materials for their wear rings or shaft bushings provide greater seizing resistance that stainless steel. However, they have very high wear rates and your pump can lose performance relatively quickly after overhaul. Implementing composite material wear parts in your pump reduces wear rates due to a very low coefficient of friction and excellent wear characteristics.

Limited Material Selection Due to Chemical Compatibility

Certain pump services significantly restrict the types of materials that can be used for wear component manufacturing. When the rotating and stationary wear components in a pump are made from the same material, pump seizure is a significant risk. Vespel® CR-6100 is made from Teflon® PFA resin and carbon fibers. With this composition, it is chemically compatible with nearly all process fluids used in industry, allowing reduced risk of seizure in some of these tough services.

Contact Boulden Company for Centrifugal Pump Problem Based Solutions Today

Contact us for more information regarding centrifugal pump reliability and efficiency solutions for your pump, or request a quote for further pricing details today. Boulden is your distributor of Metcar M-161 and M-310 and manufacturer of B-Series composite materials for enhanced centrifugal pump reliability, efficiency and performance.

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