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Stuffing Box Packing

Section B -- Pump Application Data

B-4A Stuffing Box Packing
A typical packed stuffing box arrangement is shown in Fig. 5. It consists of: A) Five rings of packing, B) A lantern ring used for the injection of a lubricating and/or flushing liquid, and C) A gland to hold the packing and maintain the desired compression for a proper seal.

Fig. 5 Typical Stuffing Arrangement (description of parts)

The function of packing is to control leakage and not to eliminate it completely. The packing must be lubricated, and a flow from 40 to 60 drops per minute out of the stuffing box must be maintained for proper lubrication.

The method of lubricating the packing depends on the nature of the liquid being pumped as well as on the pressure in the stuffing box. When the pump stuffing box pressure is above atmospheric pressure and the liquid is clean and nonabrasive, the pumped liquid itself will lubricate the packing (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6 Typical Stuffing Arrangement when Stuffing Box Pressure is Above Atmospheric Pressure

When the stuffing box pressure is below atmospheric pressure, a lantern ring is employed and lubrication is injected into the stuffing box (Fig. 7). A bypass line from the pump discharge to the lantern ring connection is normally used providing the pumped liquid is dean.

Fig. 7 Typical Stuffing Box Arrangement when Stuffing Box Pressure is Below Atmospheric Pressure

When pumping slurries or abrasive liquids, it is necessary to inject a dean lubricating liquid from an external source into the lantern ring (Fig. 8). A flow of from .2 to .5 gpm is desirable and a valve and flowmeter should be used for accurate control. The seal water pressure should be from 10 to 15 psi above the stuffing box pressure, and anything above this will only add to packing wear. The lantern ring Is normally located In the center of the stuffing box. However, for extremely thick slurries like paper stock, it is recommended that the lantern ring be located at the stuffing box throat to prevent stock from contaminating the packing.

Fig. 8 Typical Stuffing Box Arrangement when Pumping Slurries

The gland shown in Figures 5 through 8 is a quench type gland. Water, oil, or other fluids can be injected into the gland to remove heat from the shaft, thus limiting heat transfer to the bearing frame. This permits the operating temperature of the pump to be higher than the limits of the bearing and lubricant design. The same quench gland can be used to prevent the escape of a toxic or volatile liquid into the air around the pump. This is called a smothering gland, with an external liquid simply flushing away the undesirable leakage to a sewer or waste receiver.

Today, however, stringent emission standards limit use of packing to non-hazardous water based liquids. This, plus a desire to reduce maintenance costs, has increased preference for mechanical seals.

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