Will the shape of your industrial magnet affect its strength? In a word, yes, but that wouldn’t be terribly instructive, would it?
As a buyer of industrial magnets, you’ve certainly noticed that all magnets are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. In the popular imagination, mostly thanks to years of watching cartoons, a magnet is always a U-shaped metal bar, usually a red one. While that may not be your experience in the real world, there’s a kernel of truth there—we’ll explain later. Perhaps most familiar to you is a short and stout cylindrical magnet, a unit that resembles a very large and very powerful hockey puck. There’s a method to that madness, too. Today, we’ll look in closer detail at how the shape of your industrial magnet will affect its strength.
Among the many industrial sectors of the American economy, the steel industry is both historically and currently one of its most important. The steel industry has built America in more ways than one. Mining the iron that we process into steel provided jobs in northern Minnesota and Michigan—the famous Iron Range. The industrial heart of the Midwest is dotted with “steel towns” that grew around their mills: Gary, Indiana; Youngstown, Ohio; and Dearborn, Michigan, where the steel crossed the street to the Ford Motor Company, to name but a few. Most notable of all is the Steel City itself, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of US Steel and the football team with a name that pays tribute to the industry.
Pumps work hard to distribute fluid throughout elaborate systems. As a failsafe against leakage, pumps include one of two parts: packings or mechanical seals. While packing is a simple and inexpensive way to prevent fluids from leaking through their pumps, the packing material requires near-constant maintenance. Operators must keep packing lubricated, properly aligned, and sufficiently cool in order to keep a pump working smoothly. For this reason, more and more mechanical engineers are turning to mechanical seals to contain fluids that circulate through pumps.
Take a trip back to 2001. Could you have imagined that you would have a flat computer screen that contains the entirety of your personal library? E-readers and tablets make it possible. Did you think you would have a cellular phone that you use for photography, video calls, note-taking, games, scanning your paychecks, playing music, and measuring your jogs—in essence, everything but making phone calls? (more…)
Heavy industrial work needs electromagnets. Electromagnets, of course, need electricity. Where does that electricity come from? In many cases, it doesn’t come from a three-pronged plug, a wall socket, and more than a few yards of an extension cord. Powering them isn’t like plugging in a vacuum cleaner—running this machinery in the absence of a traditional alternating current requires you to get creative. (more…)
Some readers may be surprised to learn that the immigrants who got into the scrapping business out of sheer desperation successfully built operations that they’ve passed down to their children and grandchildren to this day. While scrap metal is indeed, in many cases, a family business, it’s a highly sophisticated family business, and it’s one that keeps evolving. Here are just a few examples of how scrap metal recycling has changed in recent years.
Though it may not get the respect it deserves, America’s cross-continental rail network is one of our most important sections of infrastructure, transporting goods reliably, sustainably, and affordably across our nation. Everything from the cars we drive to the food we eat arrives at destinations by way of the railroad, but not without slowly taking a toll on the rails themselves. The sheer tonnage of our freight means that even well-built trackage begins to show signs of wear and tear from bearing the weight of the iron horse day after day.
Most of us simply turn a faucet and enjoy clean water for drinking, washing, bathing, and cooking—and we often take this for granted. But there’s a lot to think about when it comes to municipal water systems. Many civilians never see all the complex pumping stations underground. Whether they get their water from rivers, reservoirs, groundwater, or the Great Lakes, Americans rely on wide-ranging water infrastructure operating out of sight.
If you’re a decision-maker for your city, town, or village, you should learn how updating your municipal pump systems could save money—and maybe even make things more affordable for fellow citizens. (more…)
It’s hard to imagine successful industrial processes without centrifugal pumps. By applying rotational force to a contained fluid, a centrifugal pump gives low-viscosity fluid some high traffic. Fluids as varied as water, solvents, coolants, acids, low-viscosity oils, and wastewater slurries all travel from Point A to Point B by way of a centrifugal pump.
Perusing this list of fluids, with its flammable oils, caustic acids, expensive coolants, and toxic waste products should give you pause. What if a pump should fail and open a system in the wrong place? The rupture of a failed pump could be much more than an incident for your cleanup crew—it could turn into a catastrophe.
Pumps have many parts, but when it comes to keeping pumps running safely, there’s one in particular that deserves special attention. When fluids need to stay in their systems for purposes of safety and efficacy, it’s the firm grips of mechanical seals that keep everything in place. This indispensable part of the centrifugal pump can be the difference between smooth operations and outright disaster. We’ll take a closer look at how mechanical seals help control industrial operations—particularly some challenging ones—and what you can do to make sure your own operations aren’t in danger of failing.
What Is a Mechanical Seal?
A mechanical seal is a device that connects to the rotating shaft of a pump—most often a centrifugal pump. Like any type of sealing, from the adhesive you lick on your envelopes to industrial-scale processes, a mechanical seal has two jobs: to keep what’s in the system in and keep what’s outside the system out. Within a pump, a mechanical seal keeps the fluid from leaking around the impeller shaft and into the rest of the pumping mechanism. In the other direction, a mechanical seal is equally useful for keeping outside contaminants out of the fluid. Oils, sediments, and other adulterants can compromise the integrity of the fluid, which could render it useless under exacting standards for quality control.
The Different Types of Mechanical Seals
We’ll cut your imagination short before it gets out of hand—none of the types of mechanical seals we’ll be looking at are robotic Arctic pinnipeds. Nonetheless, the variations among mechanical seals in pumps are notable enough to warrant a closer look. Mechanical seals can be balanced, in which both the diameter and the shoulder of the seal receive equal pressure, or unbalanced, in which force is not evenly distributed between diameter and shoulder. Unbalanced seals are a more cost-effective choice but also more prone to failure, making them an inopportune choice for costly and flammable hydrocarbon applications such as natural gas or petroleum derivatives. Balanced seals provide less heat generation, a longer lifespan, and higher stability against disruptive vibrations.
Another distinction between mechanical seals lies in whether they employ springs to keep seals tightly locked into place. Seals that do incorporate springs, better known as pusher seals, are best suited for high-pressure applications such as pressurized gases. Non-pusher seals, which lack springs, rely instead on a metal or elastomer bellows, which expands and contracts to ensure sufficient force upon the seal. These bellows-based seals are the ideal choice for high-temperature fluids, as well as low-viscosity slurries or abrasives.
These categorizations compose two axes—both balanced and unbalanced seals can come with or without springs. This effectively separates most mechanical seals into four major groups. Having gained a better understanding of the different types of mechanical seals and where they best come into play, here are some common applications of mechanically sealed pumps and how they keep challenging industrial processes fully operational.
Mechanical Seals in Mining
When laypeople imagine the mining industry, they’re likely to picture spelunkers with flashlights on their hard hats, digging away in caves to harvest valuable ores. Today’s mining industry is a highly sophisticated operation involving slurries to transfer materials through piping. Owing to the value of the minerals that travel through those slurries, an unsealed pump is costly on two fronts—not only do the abrasive materials damage the inner workings of the pump, but leakage also represents a loss of valuable resources.
Mechanical Seals in Petrochemical Industries
The keyword in petroleum is “flammability.” The pumps that operate in oil refineries and other petrochemical concerns deal with high heat and flammable fluids. As petroleum products work their way through pumps, it’s necessary to prevent leakage at all costs, which is not only expensive but a distinct fire hazard. Balanced seals most often keep pumps working their best as they handle these hydrocarbons.
Mechanical Seals in Cooling Technology
Working with hydrocarbons isn’t the only place where you’ll experience high heat. The motors and heavy machinery throughout the industrial sector generate a great deal of excess heat, which can be dangerous to sustained operations. In response, centrifugal coolant pumps reduce the risk of overheating by transferring that excess energy away from operations, keeping the temperature of sensitive technology within acceptable parameters. Circulating a coolant fluid throughout a system is necessary to safely redistribute that heat energy, and a centrifugal pump that’s leaking fluid cannot get the job done as expected. Balanced and bellows-based seals, which have the highest heat tolerance of any variation of mechanical seal, are ideal for such operations that are all about keeping the temperature down.
What Happens When a Seal Fails?
Understanding how mechanical seals help control industrial operations means that replacing a failing or failed mechanical seal promptly and effectively is imperative. Just as we do with electromagnets, Moley Magnetics has what you need. Moley Magnetics has partnered with John Crane, the industry leader in mechanical seals for industrial pumps, to provide a full complement of their products for varied industrial processes. If you’re handling tough jobs involving petroleum products or hazardous chemicals, John Crane mechanical seals for pumps are up to the task, ensuring smooth and safe operations. Even hobbyists and home-repair enthusiasts who are up to something in the basement, garage, or tool shed can benefit from John Crane seals to keep their project going.
It’s an all-too-familiar scenario: your facility is humming along, when suddenly, some ominous sounds or untimely shutdowns herald a problem that’s going to take more than a moment of your time. You find that one of your electric motors has failed. Industrial machinery works hard, and just as human bodies often gave out under the burdens of hard labor, the machines we’ve designed to assist and replace us can fail as well. Even high-quality electric motors are prone to breakdown. Magnets can lose their charges, brushes can wear down, and other moving parts can simply stop moving as well as they need to. Whatever the reason, the upshot is the same—a critical piece of machinery is not able to do its job, and that means lost time, lost revenue, and high stress. (more…)