When it comes to slurry pump maintenance, the main components you should be focused on are the seals. Whether you’re talking about packing seals or mechanical seals, this is the part most commonly replaced in slurry pumps. Keep reading for why that is—as well as some expert tips for prolonging the life of your slurry pump seals and avoiding costly downtime.
Packing & Mechanical Seals
There’s a good reason seals are the most commonly replaced part in slurry pumps. It’s all too easy for abrasive particles to wear through packing or clog up mechanical seal components. If either of these things happen, the life of your slurry pump’s seal can be drastically reduced—leading to downtime.
In an industry where downtime can cost tens of thousands of dollars, having to replace a seal should be avoided at all costs. But when it’s inevitable, we have some tips to help speed things along.
When dealing with mechanical seals, it’s usually the installation that’s the holdup. Component seals are easier to install than single-piece cartridge seals, but still come with their fair share of obstacles. For example, when installing a component seal, you have to decouple the power end and—more often than not—move pump components around.
With large slurry pumps, this takes a lot of time—time you’re paying for. Because split seals have fewer components, they’re the obvious choice for quick and simple installation. And, while a few years ago you’d be sacrificing on lifespan, advancements in split seals design now negate that drawback.
The only thing to keep in mind with split seals is that they don’t have the same features that a heavy-duty cartridge seal has. All this means is that you have to be extra mindful of your slurry pump environment. Have a clean flush available, and brush often to limit the amount of particulate that can get into the seal chamber.
When it comes to packing, the most common obstacle is the lantern ring. Because lantern rings can easily get clogged, removing them isn’t easy and takes a lot of time. Not to mention, they can easily get off-axis and bind up in the stuffing box.
To avoid these problems, a lot of slurry pump maintenance involves leaving the lantern ring in place and only replacing the rings above it. The best way to avoid these problems? It’s pretty simple—don’t use a lantern ring.
The first three packing rings do the majority of the heavy lifting. The bottom rings mostly serve to keep solids out. If you use a throat bushing with built-in flush ports, you won’t need to remove the lantern ring when you repack! Also, you’ll be able to use less packing.
Stay on Top of Slurry Pump Maintenance
At Vulcan Pumps, we work faster—and are more flexible—than the competition so you can get back to work. Whether you need USA-made products and parts, industry resources, or sump service, you can rely on us to get the job done right. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.