August 2010

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HP Reliability: Consider bearing protection for small steam turbines

In most small machines there is a need to limit both contaminant ingress and oil leakage. Inexpensive lip seals are sometimes used for sealing at the bearing housing, but lip seals typically last only..

Bloch, H. P., Thinnes, Billy, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

In most small machines there is a need to limit both contaminant ingress and oil leakage. Inexpensive lip seals are sometimes used for sealing at the bearing housing, but lip seals typically last only about 2,000 operating hours—three months. When lip seals are too tight, they cause shaft wear and, in some cases, lubricant discoloration known as “black oil.” Once lip seals have worn and no longer seal tightly, oil is lost through leakage. This fact is recognized by the API-610 standard for process pumps, which disallows lip seals and calls for either rotating labyrinth-style or contacting face seals. Small steam turbines often suffer from steam leakage at both drive- and gove

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