Why a total design package is important when choosing pumps

A well-designed piping system comprise elements including pumps, valves, flow control and piping, which need to work together harmoniously to meet specified design requirements and reduce total life cycle costs as well as operating cost.

According to Franscois Steenkamp, Managing Director of Mechanical Rotating Solutions pumping accounts for as much as a quarter of a total plant’s motor energy usage. Having the right, best of practice, piping system designed right from the beginning, a plant can reduce as much as 40% of all the energy costs. “We have been actively working with our clients in offering them the best solution for their needs whilst simultaneously advising them on products and systems that can not only improve their downtime and efficiency but also save them money in the long run.”

“Pumps are high-wear process equipment with pump casings and impellors extremely sensitive to changes in fluid characteristics. It is thus imperative that your planning start right from the first pipe through to your pump discharge and beyond. As replacement and refurbishment cycles are short it is of great importance that you carry a large range of OEM parts and  subsystems as well as other related products to be able to sufficiently service your client.”

As an example of a total design solution Mechanical Rotating Solutions installed a ceramic lined suction pipe incorporating a STRAUB OPEN FLEX 2L coupling for a brownfields thermal-coal project located in the Emalahleni area of Mpumalanga. The removal of a suction pipe for pump maintenance or repair usually requires that either the flange bolts are manually removed, which is highly time consuming, or are removed utilizing a cutting torch which entails acquiring the necessary permits to conduct welding, flame cutting, soldering and similar operations  in a plant. The installation ensured a huge cost savings, of at least two hours on labour for regular pump maintenance.

“As far as Original Equipment Manufacturing is concerned, by replacing the conventional expeller seal on a WARMAN AH Centrifugal Slurry Pump with an AESSEAL® SMSS™ single monolithic stationary seal, Mechanical Rotating Solutions has not only improved the reliability and efficiency of their client’s coal processing plant’s high pressure pump but also eliminated some of the main causes of premature seal failure.” Says Steenkamp.

Achieving technical performance whilst maximizing modularity is a prime objective in the design of all AESSEAL® products. In addressing the client’s need the SMSS™ seal installed by Mechanical Rotating Solutions reduces heat generation at the seal faces and minimizes the heat load on the seal cooling / flushing system. The stationary seal face is spring loaded which compensates for angular misalignment between the shaft and the housing.

In another project, servicing one of the world’s biggest exporters of power station coal situated near the town of Middelburg on the Mpumalanga Highveld, Mechanical Rotating Solutions installed the AESSEAL® SW2 Water Management System which connects directly to the filtration plant water line, using it as its fluid and pressure source to feed the mechanical seal with a clean, cool and stable water barrier fluid. The SW2 Water Management System in turn is supported by South African Seal Water Units (SASWU) each with a 200 litre capacity.

AESSEAL’s SWO2 system uses an integral vessel to store flushing water for continuous recycling. The system is connected directly to the SASWU water line, which becomes the system’s fluid and pressure source: the pressure is adjusted so that the barrier fluid pressure within the system is maintained at 1 bar above stuffing box pressure, resulting in a pressure differential that keeps harmful products away from mechanical seal faces and increases seal and pump reliability.

The installation of the double mechanical seals coupled with the fluid management systems installed by Mechanical Rotating Solutions has ensured that pump life has increased to 18 months minimising the possibility of downtime. Extensive studies by AESSEAL has shown that the environmentally friendly SW Range have significantly contributed to the global drive for water conservation. AESSEAL® Water Management Technology can save 6.3 Million litres of water per pump per year! The Water Management Range starts with the SW2™, which is a self-regulating system that can both refill and re-pressurise itself upon any mechanical seal upsets. The SW3™ is piped in the same way as the SW2™ and has the addition of finned tubing to deal with high heat applications.

Franscois Steenkamp is Managing Director of Mechanical Rotating Solutions (MRS) , a supplier of world class Mechanical Seals, Rotating and Engineering Protection, Sealing Equipment, and an accredited agent for AESSEAL®   MRS have the full support of AESSEAL® Engineering, Draughting and Quality Services. Among its product offering and related turnkey solutions, the company is currently servicing the Mpumalanga area with the AESSEAL® product range of mechanical seals and systems, Labtecta Bearing Isolators, Belzona Engineered Coatings and Superbolts, as well as supplying the whole of South Africa with innovative Straub pipe couplings, KSB and HCP pumps and valves.