Component seals consist of multiple parts including the rotor, rotor face, stationary face, springs, O-rings, gaskets and seal gland. Each of these components requires careful handling and skill during installation. As a result, component seals face considerable risk of assembly errors, including incorrect spring setting (resulting in improperly loaded faces), dirt or grease contamination on the seal faces, and damage to sealing components from mishandling. These errors can result in premature or immediate failure of the seal, which can lead to expensive consequences and serious safety issues.
Bridging the Component-Cartridge Gap
Historically, one of the major limitations with component seals is that installation could be difficult and time-consuming. If site conditions were not ideal or users faced pressure to get equipment up and running as quickly as possible, the seal's performance could be further compromised.
To address these challenges, some component seals incorporate cartridge seal technology to improve seal face cooling through directed barrier fluid flow systems, hydraulically balanced seal face technology and "plug-in" designs used to improve performance and reliability.
Because it does not require setting, this plug-in design fills a gap between component seals and cartridge seals, reduces fitting time and ensures correct installation. This design takes on characteristics of cartridge seals while retaining all the benefits of component seals.
One way of aiding seal installation is an axially restrained drive ring, which stops the drive ring from detaching from the retainer during installation. In addition, a full-convoluted diaphragm allows for more axial movement of the rotary face than the half-convolution bellows. This enables the seal rotary to track the stationary much better in the event of misalignment of the two faces (resulting from seat incorrect positioning, shaft misalignment, etc.). The full-convolution bellows can also compensate for more wear of the rotary face and handle higher pressures than the half-convolution bellows.
A common failure mode in seals of this type is the drive mechanism between two relatively thin metallic members. To overcome this problem, one manufacturer's seals spread the drive force over a large surface area.
A further design improvement to the plug-in seals is directed barrier fluid flow, which also directly improves seal performance and life.
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