Industrial Uses of Double Mechanical Seals

Industrial Uses of Double Mechanical Seals
  • Opening Intro -

    When fluid needs to move throughout a system in an industrial setting, we look to pumps to get that fluid moving.

    Leakage, however, is one form of movement that no system can permit.

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Designers of these systems have several ways to keep fluids from leaking out of their pumps. One of the most common methods is to apply packing, usually a durable material such as Kevlar, around the pump.

However, packing isn’t always sufficient due to the high level of maintenance that its use requires. In these cases, mechanical seals are the more reliable alternative. This is a piece of machinery that comes between the moving parts of a pump and its housing.

Unlike packing material, which wears down quickly and requires constant cooling and lubrication to function, a mechanical seal is a longer-lasting solution to the problem of leakage. While single mechanical seals are adequate in most settings, certain situations call for the most trustworthy failsafe possible: the double mechanical seal.

We find industrial uses of double mechanical seals in applications where leakage is not just a financial concern, but a safety concern. Here are some examples.

Hazardous Fluids

Fluids that could harm people and property if they escape from a pump or process piping system require double mechanical seals.

Leakages of toxic and carcinogenic fluids, as well as strong acids or bases, could have disastrous consequences for a facility or its personnel. Highly flammable fluids also benefit from the safety of a double mechanical seal.

When good environmental stewardship requires facilities to prevent harmful greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere, a double seal is necessary as well.

Working with high temperatures and high levels of pressure are also situations that dictate the use of double mechanical seals over their single counterparts.

Working With Polymers

Polymerized and elastic substances can be a real mess if they leak. Fluids that quickly harden or solidify after exposure to air could infiltrate delicate parts of a system, where they become difficult if not outright impossible to clean from the inner workings of a pump.

To avoid tricky cleanup or leakages that would disable an entire system, facilities prefer double mechanical seals on their pumps when they work with viscous fluids.

Food Processing

Large-scale food production can be a sensitive operation, one where it’s just as important to keep fluids in as it is to keep outside contaminants out. You can count the mixers and other implements of food processing facilities among the industrial uses of double mechanical seals, but there is an important distinction here.

Whereas most double mechanical seals use the “back-to-back” configuration, in which seal rings face in opposite directions, mechanical seals for the food industry often employ two pusher seals facing each other in a “face-to-face” alignment.

Some food service industrial pumps also prefer the tandem style, or face-to-back. You won’t find either of these setups when dealing with more hazardous materials.

image credit: Adobe Stock

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