Critical pump failures solved with minimum downtime

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One of the pump producer’s global customers was experiencing pump failures at their facility in China. The situation was critical and the end user demanded a solution ASAP.

Roplan Ltd worked with the pump producers design engineering team in England while Roplan Ningbo worked with their sales and application engineering team in China. Due to different process media and the critical need for solution Roplan Ltd designed and provided 3 sets of samples.

The applications at the end user’s facility were demanding and unique, it was vital to gather information from the failures via analysing the failed pumps and seals before they were disassembled. Of course, the end user could not let this facility sit idle waiting for the pumps to be serviced. To address this, spare pumps were supplied with the trial seals installed along with seals to service existing pumps.

Roplan Ningbo met with the customer at the end-user’s facility to witness the installation of the new pumps, evaluate the failed pumps, collect application data train the pump builders team to install the new design seals and oversee the installation.

The initial trials showed improvement but did not reach the end users expectation. When there was an incident Roplan engineers were in the end-user’s facility within a matter of hours of analyse the failures, gather additional information, discuss potential application problems and install replacement seals to keep the plant running. They then communicated with Roplan Ltd. Based on this design modifications were made and additional samples were installed. The 2nd trial did reach the end users expectation and they plan to standardize one solution throughout their facility.

By utilizing Roplan’s expertise and global support the pump builder was able increase the capabilities of its team in China while satisfying and strengthen the relationship with a key customer.

Competence partner in customer unique Pod propulsion system

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Due to changes is environmental regulations and performance expectations the customer needed to quickly develop a new Pod propulsion system. In additional to design changes many of the existing components, including the labyrinth lip seal with support system, were not adequate. To face the challenge managing multiple variables under time constraints the customer needed a knowledgeable partner that could integrate into their team to co-develop the sealing solution as part of the complete system.

Roplan’s approach to develop a customer unique solution was welcomed as opposed to supplying a catalog item the customer needed to design their system around but did raise concerns as the time line was very short and cost of failure very high. A local engineering team working with proven technology and global resources was vital for the customer to enjoy the benefits while avoiding the risk. Roplan Ningbo’s engineers met with the customer to review the project requirements and application parameters. Multiple approaches were discussed with the pros and cons of each weighed to outline the basics of the system including the sealing solution. With the system outline defined Roplan Ningbo worked this RDC to develop the concept. Approximately 90% of the concept was based on known field proven technology and 10% had not yet been proven. Maximizing the use of proven technology was key due to the time constraint and risk. Once the concept was approved Roplan’s internal and external suppliers were brought on board allowing them to provide to optimize the components in line the solution design.  The customer was updated and provided new inputs multiple times during this phase of the project. With the solution design in hand Roplan Ningbo’s’ engineers met with the customer to review the design, DFMEA, test plan to prove the 10% and product validation plan. Based on inputs and changes in some interfacing components the design was modified and the test plan for the 10% was agreed. The 10% was tested with positive results, reports shared with the customer. The design signed off and sample order issued.

Time from initial meeting to design sign off was 10 month. Samples were available in 6 weeks.

Roplan was the perfect fit:

  • 30 plus years for experience developing and supplying sealing systems for the world’s most demanding applications.
  • Globally aligned engineering including experienced team in Ningbo that liaise between RDC in Sweden, the customers engineering team, production and supply chain.
  • Core philosophy of using proven technology to develop unique optimized solutions to meet the customer’s specific requirements.
  • World Class production and supplier management capabilities in Ningbo.

Custom floating static Mechanical Seal solve problem with axial movement


The customer had an end-user experiencing repetitive failures of the mechanical seal being used on a screw conveyor for mashed wood and steam feeding the refiner in a thermo-mechanical pulp application.

Roplan was invited to find a solution to solve the problem, and after studying the equipment and application a unique shaft seal with floating static arrangement was especially designed for the application, capable of handling the established ±13 mm of axial movement present due to the thermal effects on the equipment. The customer has chosen to use this design on all equipment supplied used in this type of application on several thermo-mechanical pulp sites.

Custom Mechanical Seal required due to propulsion vibrations

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Vibration levels in propulsion units can be extreme and the mechanical seals needs to be designed to handle these. A customer had end-users facing extensive wear of seal parts and as such premature failure occurred.

The application was analysed with regards to vibration levels and frequencies which in turn was forming a part of the design criteria for the new design. Before being put in use, the performance of the new design was verified on a shaking table ensuring the capability of the design in the application having no coinciding of the excited frequencies and the natural frequency of the mechanical seal.