When discussing maintenance best practices for mechanical seals in industrial plants, Raj Jadow, National Key Account Executive at Seal Innovations wants to put one point across, which is that good seal performance begins by correct seal installation.
“It’s easy to detect a loosely fitted seal. Because it leaks. But how about overtightened seals? What most people tend to neglect is that overtightening a seal can be as detrimental as fitting it loosely – if not more – because it can lead to excessive stress on the mechanical seal internals.”
Raj’s recommendation is to always seek the services of qualified professionals to correctly install and maintain mechanical seals. “We also provide onsite training to plants that want to educate their maintenance teams on correct seal installation and maintenance,” he says.
Seal Innovations (SiL) is a well-established name when it comes to mechanical seal supplies to a wide range of industries. Through an agreement with Indian seal manufacturer, HI-FAB, as well as with other global seal manufacturers, SiL supplies a full range of mechanical seals to customers in Australia.
Since 2018, SiL has also been actively involved in mechanical seal repair and refurbishment after the company acquired the mechanical seal business, Rathbone RB Engineering. Today, SiL provides professional mechanical seal repair for all types and brands of mechanical seals off the back of the company’s extensive experience in mechanical sealing solutions.
Lance Brett, former director of Rathbone RB Engineering who now serves as National Sales Manager at SiL, says the all-rounded capabilities of the SiL team help them turn around any seal repair within minimal time.
“As an all-rounded sealing solution provider, we can rely on our experience and in-house capabilities to repair any mechanical seal quickly and efficiently. We repair any mechanical seal and return it to its original performance, as long as the repair costs do not exceed 60% of the cost buying a new seal.”
Being part of Industrial Solutions Australia’s group of businesses means that SiL can work closely with other businesses under the group portfolio, namely CBC, BSC and WebsterBSC, to assist their industrial customers with sealing repair and refurbishment.
Lance says the CBC, BSC and WebsterBSC branches can collect the damaged mechanical seals from their customers and send them to a SiL repair centre in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth. Where required, the SiL team also visits industrial plants for complete plant surveys, not just of mechanical seals, but of any rotating equipment on the plants, be it seals,
pumps or gearboxes.
“Once the mechanical seals arrive at our repair centres, we disassemble the seal and inspect all parts visually for wear and tear. We then record the information and quote the customer for our repair services. Ultrasonic cleaning helps us to rapidly and effectively clean all seal components. Our lapping and polishing equipment come in handy for polishing the rotary and stationary seal surfaces back to industry standards. All lapped faces are also checked using an optical flat with a monochromatic light to make sure the finished surface is completely flat. After assembling the seal, we pressure test every seal to API 682. We include a seal Pressure Test Certificate and dispatch the assembled seal back to the customer or the respective CBC or BSC branch,” explains Lance.
Both Raj and Lance are of the opinion that preventive seal repair is better than a reactive approach. To this end, SiL has a number of plant partnership programs with their key customers to continuously monitor the seals and keep track of their performance.
“We currently service national contracts including a national dairy operator with multiple sites, where we are coordinating to survey their mechanical seals and log the details of each seal repair into a database. In this way, we help the plants keep track of their MTBF (mean time between failure) and get visibility across their seal repair costs,” Raj says.
“This is the practice that we recommend to all major industrial plants looking to improve their productivity. We can align our plant partnership programs to match our customers’ requirements,” he adds.