Why Cartridge Seals Are a Great Option for High-Pressure Environments

June 23, 2023

Many types of machinery in industrial processes, like construction and production industry, more often require pumps capable of working at very high pressures. It is the very reason why your mechanical seals must ensure reliability. You can also help avoid dangerous emissions for the people and the environment.

Before further explaining why cartridge seals are an excellent option for high-pressure environments, let's start with defining terms.

What is a Cartridge Mechanical Seal?

A cartridge mechanical seal is a wholly enclosed seal system with pre-assembled components. Generally, this seal type comprises a gland, sleeve, and other hardware that make pre-assembly possible.

Cartridge-type mechanical seals comprise all of the seal elements into a single assembly. It dramatically reduces the potential for assembly error and the time required for mechanical seals repair. Cartridge mechanical seals withstand high run-out levels, misalignment under high stressing conditions, and severe wear.

The construction of cartridge seals eliminates the need to measure and fix spring compression, and having a mechanical seal pre-assembled means that the seal faces are protected from damage during installation.

What are the Elements of a Cartridge Seal?

  • Gland
  • Sleeve
  • Seal faces can be two or four
  • Energizing force sources, such as single springs, multiple springs, metal bellows, or elastomer
  • Lock collar

What are the Advantages of Cartridge Mechanical Seals?

  1. Easy installation

Cartridge mechanical seals only require simple installation without needing a specialist present. They are designed for effortless installation and removal from pump shafts. Usually, a cartridge seal is an arrangement of seal components on a shaft sleeve and in a seal gland constituting a single unit that is usually assembled and pre-set at the factory.

Cartridge seals include a retaining device that clasps the rotating and stationary elements to align until after the seal is mounted. Both seals, like bellows and springs, can be cartridge-arranged if the pump stuffing box is large enough.

2. Reduced installation costs

With reduced installation time, it also means reduced downtimes during maintenance. The cost of cartridge seals can be double or triple that of component seals. However, it requires lower labor costs and less production lost from seal replacement.

3. Higher functional security

It is a pre-assembled seal with fixed axial settings, so it eliminates measuring errors.

4. Easily repairable

Cartridge mechanical seal units are easily repairable. It offers significant maintenance advantages.

5. Built for high-pressure environments

It is built explicitly for high-pressure environments, helping prevent dirt entry or damage to the seal faces and machinery.

6. Leak-proof

You will not encounter leakage problems when using cartridge mechanical seals.

What are Examples of High-Pressure Environments?

  • Agriculture equipment
  • Mining machinery, chemical slurries
  • Production plants
  • Tracked vehicles, such as excavators, cranes, and bulldozers
  • Conveyor systems
  • Power plants for ash handling

In the examples of applications above, it is essential to have high resistance in fluids with suspended solids. Your cartridge seal should resist slurry or sludge with a high concentration of up to 60% of suspended solids.

When using cartridge seals, ensuring the unit is operating well is crucial. Moreover, you can minimize any future problems, such as a leak after the seal installation.

What are the Key Considerations When Choosing Different Types of Mechanical Seals for Pumps?

Operators must choose according to their unique application when deciding on the type of seal system for a centrifugal pump. Select the proper seal type to avoid loss of pump integrity, breakdowns, and costly repairs. To avoid these undesirable results, all operators must consider the following factors before deciding.

Type of Fluid to Be Pumped

The fluid you're pumping is critical when deciding on a seal type.

Factors such as cleanliness, lubricity, and volatility will significantly affect the mechanical seal and seal support system design.

Pump Fluid Pressure

The amount of pressure exerted on a mechanical seal's face significantly affects its performance. An unbalanced mechanical seal will be suitable if a pump operates at low pressures. However, when higher pressures are anticipated, balanced seals will prove a more reliable solution.

Temperature Considerations

Balanced mechanical seals perform better than their unbalanced counterparts in conditions with higher operating temperatures than usual. Heat-sensitive components are better preserved in flat mechanical seals than in other seal types.

Operator Safety Concerns

As it goes for all types of machinery, operator safety is the top priority. Double mechanical seals in centrifugal pumps provide additional protection as they have increased sealing capacity and are generally more reliable.

Conclusion

There are many factors in considering what type of mechanical seal to use for your machinery. It will always depend on where you'll use it. However, getting one with long-lasting and cost-efficient material is best, especially if you want something that will withstand high-pressure environments. Make sure that it is durable and resilient, like a cartridge seal.

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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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