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Axflow has helped Solvent Resource Management (SRM), which handles the disposal of organic waste materials, solve a major maintenance problem, fitting new mechanical seals on the vacuum pumps

SRM has been using Nash SC series ring-type vacuum pumps for many years on a processing system that uses scraped film evaporators for solvent recovery.

On the recovery sector, the plant has the capacity to produce more than two million litres per month.

Using vacuum pumps in the recovery sector enables the scraped film evaporators to boil the liquid at lower temperatures.

The pumps are also used to pull the crude liquid from barrels into the processing system tanks.

However, the packed gland sealing arrangement that came with the pumps required replacement almost every nine weeks, resulting in costly plant shutdowns.

Getting the pumps out for maintenance purposes is said to be a difficult job to do because of their position and installation.

Having accepted that mechanical seals would be preferable to packed glands, a change to this sealing arrangement was impossible because of the way in which the pumps were originally installed.

As a result, the situation could not be allowed to carry on and the installation was removed and replaced with an altered configuration in late 2007 recommended by Tom Cooper from the Axflow Huddersfield base.

The new configuration enabled the customer to fit mechanical seals.

The Axflow recommendation was to supply its GLK liquid ring cartridge mechanical seals with carbon/silicon faces and Kalrez O rings to withstand the aggressive nature of the solvents being pumped.

This sealing arrangement was recommended because the cartridge unit is mounted on a sleeve and preset to the working length of the mechanical seal, facilitating installation and subsequent maintenance.

Axflow also made sure that the seals were supplied with a clean water flush arrangement, using service water diverted from the main flow to the pumps.

From order intake to the complete installation of the seals in the pumps at the Huddersfield plant and return to duty, the contract was completed in seven weeks.

Cooper said: ‘We have been providing mechanical seals and undertaking the maintenance of mechanical seals for a number of years.

‘As a result of our long working relationship with SRM, both in the supply of mechanical seals and pump maintenance, we had a good understanding of its processes and requirements.

‘This enabled us to provide a solution that met its needs in terms of pump operation and one that would reduce plant downtime,’ he added.

In terms of payback, the savings made on maintenance and downtime have enabled SRM to recoup its investment in the cartridge seals in a space of six months.

Having recouped these costs, the company is now benefiting from not having to shut the plant down every few weeks and to spend valuable man hours on taking the pumps out, refitting the gland packing and reinstalling the pumps and associated pipework.

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