Versuvius USA, Champaign, IL. Manufacturer of ceramic slide gate valves for Steel mill ladles
For over twenty years Versuvius USA faced a problem common to most users of dry bulk materials—raw material loss through faulty seals and frequent shaft repair. Leaky seals and shaft repair is a universal problem in the bulk handling industry. Vesuvius has the challenge of maintaining a batching area where it mixes sand-fused aluminum oxide with other foundry materials. Aluminum Oxide is a nasty, granular and highly abrasive material that provides high wear-resistance to the company’s slide gate valves.
Versuvius valves are well known and respected for their success in the steel industry and in other highly aggressive mechanical and chemical wear applications. Unfortunately, the characteristics of the materials that make Vesuvius valves so resistant to abrasion tend to eat any shaft packing and shafts that the materials come in contact with during production. Shafts and seals on their screw augers required regular re-sleeving or replacement; often monthly. And, when the packing and shafts deteriorated, powdered alumina and other valuable materials ended up leaking on the floor and becoming contaminated and useless. Versuvius tried a variety of seals and packing, but all would be quickly destroyed by the Aluminum Oxide.
CinchSeal of Pennsauken, NJ manufactures a problem solving shaft seal that promised to eliminate Vesuvius’ shaft abrasion and material leakage. As a plus, CinchSeal also promised reduced power consumption due to the fact that the elastomer gland spins with the shaft and isn’t static like packing. Within the CinchSeals’ Aluminum housing a driving elastomer boot grips the shaft, protecting it from damage and blocking material from migrating along the shaft. The Elastomer turns with the shaft and drives a pair of either PTFE or Hard Coated Aluminum Rotor cups against two stationary stator plates; forming a seal interface. The only wear that occurs is between the rotor cups and the softer or sacrificial stator plates. As the stator plates wear, the seal can be externally adjusted by turning four bolts a quarter turn to keep the optimum face pressure. The seals are purged with air to help cool the seal as well as create positive pressure in the seal to keep faces closed and material out of the seal and in the equipment.
Since installing the first CinchSeal, Vesuvius has had no shaft failures, zero leakage, and no seal failures. The CinchSeal is now standard on all Vesuvius rotating equipment that comes in contact with high abrasive materials. Material loss has been completely eliminated, as has been frequent and costly emergency maintenance. Vesuvius is thrilled with its reduced maintenance time, maintenance costs, and the elimination of lost material which directly affects the bottom line.