Category Archives: Garlock

How to Investigate Compression Packing Failure Modes

Over-tightening, excessive speed and improper installation can cause a system to falter.

In many respects, troubleshooting and failure analysis of compression packing materials is similar to the investigation of a crime scene. A good investigator knows how to gather clues from many different sources and put them together to understand what has happened. A good troubleshooter uses the same information gathering method, familiarizing themselves with the sealing materials, the process equipment and the systems where they are used.

Start by Interviewing Witnesses

The troubleshooter should seek information from the people who work with the equipment on a regular basis. Seal installers, maintenance personnel, operators, process engineers and others can all shed light on potential causes of failure. Some key questions should be:

  • How is failure defined? Some examples include excessive leakage, overheating, high rate of flush water consumption, excessive friction load and blowout.
  • Is this application the source of chronic seal failures, or was this an unexpected event?
  • Were there any changes to the seal material, the equipment or the overall process that preceded the failure?
  • Were there any system upsets or cleaning cycles that preceded the failure?
  • Can you describe the installation procedure?

Gather Information About the Victim

Knowing the limitations of the sealing product is a key step. The acronym “STAMPS” will help remember the key elements to ensure the right packing is selected for the application.

  • S: Size. Is the correct packing cross-section being used? Are the rings cut or formed to the correct length?
  • T: Temperature. Check the system temperature against the packing manufacturer’s established temperature ratings for the product.
  • A: Application. Some packings are made specifically for rotary equipment while others are intended for valves or static seals. Check to make sure the packing is suitable for the equipment where it is being used.
  • M: Media. This refers to the fluid being sealed. Check with the manufacturer or with compatibility charts to be sure the seal material is compatible with the media. If the media is slurry, abrasion-resistant materials may need to be specified. If the media is toxic, explosive or required to be contained within certain maximum allowable leakage requirements, then a packing must also be selected on the basis of its ability to seal at low leakage levels.
  • P: Pressure. Check the system pressure against the packing manufacturer’s established pressure ratings for the product.
  • S: Speed. Check the equipment speed against the packing manufacturer’s established surface speed ratings for the product. Surface speed is expressed in feet per minute or meters per second and not revolutions per minute.

Investigate the Crime Scene

When possible, observe the equipment while it is running. Can you see, hear, feel, smell or use a sensor to make observations? Smoke, vibration, grinding noises, the scent of burning fibers and system pressure fluctuations are only a few of the clues that can be noticed or measured while the equipment is up and running.

Examine the condition of the equipment. Most packings are robust seals that can handle less than perfect equipment condition, but there are limits to the amount of degradation they can withstand.

Valve stems and pump shafts or sleeves should be checked for scratches, corrosion pitting and general surface roughness. Rough surfaces can damage the sealing surface and result in excessive leakage and quick wear of the seal.

Extrusion of the seal material
Image 1. Extrusion of the seal material

Excessive clearances at the top or bottom of the stuffing box can lead to extrusion of the seal material and intrusion of large solid particle into the seal area (see image 1).

In severe cases, excessive clearance may result in a seal blowout.

Most packings are not meant to function as both a seal and a bearing. In rotating equipment, poor bearing condition may result in shaft runout that “wallows out” the inside diameter of the seal. Misalignment may result in shaft/stuffing box offset that causes one side of the packing set to be heavily compressed while the other side is compressed much more lightly. A similar side loading of a packing set can occur in large horizontally oriented valves where the packing is forced to bear the weight of the stem.

Check to make sure all the parts are in place. During the breakdown, repair and reassembly of equipment it is possible to misplace parts. Equipment might be put back into service without seat rings, bushings, lantern rings, O-rings and other parts that are essential to proper equipment operation.

Look at the seal and the equipment as a part of a big picture.

Consider how this piece of equipment is affected by other equipment and control devices in the system. For example, is there a downstream valve that creates pressure spikes in an upstream pump seal when the valve closes and the pump is still operating?

Continue reading How to Investigate Compression Packing Failure Modes

BLUE-GARD 3300 for Refrigeration

In the late nineteenth century, Olin J. Garlock devised a better way to seal piston rods in steam engines. Since then sealing materials have been developed for various industrial applications. Over the years, different manufacturing processes such as calendering and beater addition have improved the performance of fiber sheet gaskets for these applications; however, design concepts for their formulation remain similar regardless of manufacturing method.

Figure 1: Microstructure of a compressed fiber sheet material ingredients: silicates [gray]—laminated structure; mineral [blue and aqua]—irregular/spherical shape; fiber [orange]—fibrillated, cylindrical or curly; silica, carbon black, or fine filler [red]—spherical shape; elastomer binder [yellow].

OVERVIEW OF MATERIALS

Many of the applications for compressed fiber sheet gaskets involve elevated temperatures and/or high pressure, which require high bolt loading in flanged joint assemblies. Various materials are added to the fiber-binder matrix to sustain this high compressive loading. To provide strength, different types of fibers such as p-aramid (Kevlar™), cellulose, polyester, glass fiber, carbon fiber, and others are added. Some of these fibers are organic materials, which limits their use at elevated temperatures. Minerals in cylindrical form provide balance in the formulation due to their high-temperature stability and strength. To form a compact structure, materials of different sizes are used, including silica, carbon black, and other micro-sized fillers. Figure 1 illustrates the ingredients and microstructure of a compressed fiber sheet material.

Continue reading BLUE-GARD 3300 for Refrigeration

KLOZURE® Oil Seals for All Industries

Klozure® Oil SealsKLOZURE® Oil seals from Garlock® KLOZURE® are available in a wide variety of configurations to meet the requirements of major industries. MILL-RIGHT® materials are used on all elastomeric seals for superior bearing protection. KLOZURE® Oil Seals are available in more than 50 different styles in sizes from ¼” to over 90″, solid or split, metal-cased or all-rubber.  KLOZURE® Oil Seals have had a strong brand presence in the U.S. since the 1920’s. Today they are also manufactured and branded in China and Germany.  Technology has advanced over the years, and the oil seals are now available in MILL-RIGHT® elastomers which provide longer service life than their predecessors.

There are many different styles and variations available from Garlock® KLOZURE®, but below are some of the more popular oil seals.

Continue reading KLOZURE® Oil Seals for All Industries

FDA Compliant PUR-GARD™ Bearing Isolator

PUR-GARD™ Bearing IsolatorsPUR-GARD™ bearing isolators offer the ultimate rotating equipment sealing solutions for the food processing industry. Manufactured with materials that are FDA compliant, metal detectable and x-ray inspectable while utilizing a patented IP66 design, Garlock PUR-GARD™ is a revolutionary seal that combines improved safety and overall process purity with cost savings through extended equipment and bearing life.

Features & Benefits

  • Patented labyrinth design provides bearing protection even in the most challenging environments, extending the life of rotating equipment
  • Unitized construction will not come apart during installation
  • IP66 in most common design configurations
  • Non-contacting design reduces shaft drag and energy consumption
  • Available in a broad range of configurations
  • Substantially reduced installation time – NO ARBOR PRESS NEEDED
  • No metal-to-metal contact
  • Metal detectable and x-ray inspectable

Typical Applications

Rotating equipment (pumps, motors, gearboxes) exposed to heavy wash down and/or zone 1 and 2 applications.

Continue reading FDA Compliant PUR-GARD™ Bearing Isolator

[VIDEO] Application Guidance for GYLON EPIX™

GYLON EPIX™ WebinarWe recently added the GYLON EPIX™ – The Next Generation in PTFE Gasketing webinar to our website.  The webinar discusses Garlock’s revolutionary new gasketing material, with its patented hexagonal surface, which concentrates gasket stress, providing improved compressibility and bolt load retention, improving sealability and blowout resistance.

Below is the third and final section of the webinar, which provides application guidance for GYLON EPIX™, calling out where it makes most sense to utilize this revolutionary new material.

[VIDEO] Features & Benefits of GYLON EPIX™

GYLON EPIX™We recently added the GYLON EPIX™ – The Next Generation in PTFE Gasketing webinar to our website.  The webinar discusses Garlock’s revolutionary new gasketing material, with its patented hexagonal surface, which concentrates gasket stress, providing improved compressibility and bolt load retention, improving sealability and blowout resistance.

Below is the second section of the webinar, which discusses the features and benefits of the GYLON EPIX™ material, and what differentiates it from any other gasketing material on the market today.

[VIDEO] Introduction to GYLON EPIX™

GYLON EPIX™ WebinarWe recently added the GYLON EPIX™ – The Next Generation in PTFE Gasketing webinar to our website.  The webinar discusses Garlock’s revolutionary new gasketing material. With its patented hexagonal surface, GYLON EPIX™ concentrates gasket stress, providing improved compressibility and bolt load retention, improving sealability and blowout resistance.

Below is the first section of the webinar, diving into what drove Garlock to create this new material, and how GYLON EPIX™ provides the benefits of both a 1/16″ and 1/18″ thick gasket in one, universal, 3/32″ thickness.

Ultra Low Emissions with the FLEXSEAL® ULE

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low EmissionsGarlock has expanded their Ultra Low Emissions family of products to include a spiral wound gasket. The FLEXSEAL® ULE is designed for use where leakage control is critical and the aggressive application requires a spiral wound design. It’s manufactured using high performance graphite, and offers maximum protection against oxidation. The standard design includes an inner ring and outer ring, as well as preformed metal wire to enhance compressibility and sealability. The FLEXSEAL® ULE spiral wound is another product born from Garlock’s customer driven innovation.

Values & Benefits

  • API 6FB
    • Average leak rate recorded of 1.4 ml/min
  • Low Emissions (CFET)
    • Provides average leakage rates of 10 PPM (parts per million)
  • Oxidation Resistance
    • Offers maximum protection against oxidation for greater reliability and longer service life
    • No aging or fatigue under dynamic load, even at elevated
      temperatures
  • Manufacturability
    • Available in standard lead-time

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low Emissions

Continue reading Ultra Low Emissions with the FLEXSEAL® ULE

NEW! GYLON EPIX™ Webinar Now Available

GYLON EPIX™Gallagher recently added the GYLON EPIX™ Webinar to its website. This video is a recorded webinar discussing GYLON EPIX™ – The Next Generation in PTFE Gasketing.

This material is a newly developed family of PTFE gaskets. It is manufactured using a patented, profiled surface based on our proven Fawn  (Style 3500), Off-White (Style 3510), and Blue (Style 3504) GYLON® to create highly conformable materials for optimum sealing performance.

GYLON EPIX™ will provide superior functional performance by combining the traditional attributes of GYLON® with an innovative surface design. It offers a broader range of applications than traditional PTFE gaskets that are used in worn and pitted flanges. In addition, GYLON EPIX™ delivers the tight sealing and load retention properties of 1/16” (1.6mm) and the conformability of 1/8” (3.2mm). The hexagonal profile provides improved compressibility and recovery. The profiled surface reduces the contact area during initial compression to concentrate the compressive force of the flange for improved sealability.

Garlock GYLON EPIX™Designed for increased compressibility, it improves performance in misaligned flanges. The consolidation of two thicknesses to one reduces the need to inventory multiple thicknesses. Garlock is dedicated to providing real sealing solutions that meet real world sealing needs. With an improved design, color-coded materials, and single thickness, GYLON EPIX™ makes sealing easier.

To learn more, download the webinar today!

GYLON EPIX™ Distributes Load Evenly

GYLON EPIX™ is a newly developed family of PTFE gaskets. It is manufactured using a patented, profiled surface based on our proven Fawn, Off-White, and Blue GYLON® to create highly conformable materials for optimum sealing performance.

THE EPIX™ DIFFERENCE

GYLON EPIX™ and a traditional full face gasket were installed in a 3”-150# flat face flange at 120 ft.lbs. with pressure sensitive film.  The film revealed that the traditional material saw heavier loading-near and around the bolts, and lighter loading at the points furthest from the bolts. The GYLON EPIX™ was able to distribute the load more evenly and prevent the low loading phenomenon.

GYLON EPIX™ with Pressure Sensitive Film

The pressure sensitive film was then analyzed with special software that translate the various shades of red into a full color spectrum that provides a better visualization of the stresses that were developed on each of the gaskets. Again, while the traditional gasket saw areas of lower stress (green and blue areas), the hexagonal pattern in the GYLON EPIX™ concentrated and distributed the stress more evenly across the entire gasket.

Continue reading GYLON EPIX™ Distributes Load Evenly