Background

Non-contacting labyrinth seals deliver leakage reduction in centrifugal applications, restricting flow through a sequence of chambers formed between the rotating element and the teeth to control the passage of media. Traditional metallic labyrinth seals require large clearances to avoid potential heat generation, deformation, and galling that reduce efficiency and component life. Metallic labyrinth seals also suffer from corrosion and erosion damage in high acid or Mercury and high velocity environments.   

To learn how we helped MAN Energy Solutions improve their efficiency in compressor operations, download the case study here.

Proven Material and Engineered Design

Greene Tweed’s labyrinth seals deliver superior performance by combining custom-engineered tooth designs and high-performance thermoplastic materials.

Our proprietary Arlon® 4020, a PEEK thermoplastic, provides excellent tribological properties, reduces friction and wear during contact, and eliminates galling to extend seal life and lower maintenance costs. Its enhanced corrosion and erosion resistance make it ideally suited to severe sealing applications, including high acid or Mercury content and high-velocity media.

The superior thermal expansion of Arlon® 4020 allows for tight clearances at operating temperatures while maintaining the generous clearances of conventional metallic seals during ambient installation. This facilitates retrofit and like-for-like replacement using the same assembly techniques.

The unique engineered tooth profile of Greene Tweed’s labyrinth seal provides outstanding dimensional stability, enabling a cyclic flex-and-return motion that withstands contact during critical speeds, and tighter clearances, dramatically increasing efficiency and reliability for longer run times.

Test Results Show 1% Efficiency Gain = Cost Savings

During customer testing, Greene Tweed’s labyrinth tooth design achieved maximum efficiency gain of approximately 1 to 1.5 percent overall compared to traditional seals, showing very good correlation between field test results and predicted values from the FEA analysis.

For a typical new booster air compressor with four closed impellers and 3-MW average power per stage would be $300,000, based on an average power cost evaluation of 0.025 $/kWh).

Features and Benefits

  • Enhanced corrosion and erosion resistance deliver exceptional performance in severe sealing applications, including high Mercury or high-velocity media
  • Flexible tooth profile delivers tight running clearances for increased efficiency and reduces the flow rate to enhance seal performance
  • Tight running clearances deliver increased efficiency and energy savings, decreasing the compressor footprint for dramatic cost savings and environmental benefits
  • Optimized thermal expansion allows for retrofit and like-for-like replacement of conventional metallic designs
  • Creates an aggressive seal geometry to reduce the rotor-to-stator clearance gap without compromising reliability
  • Reduces friction and wear during contact, eliminating permanent deformation and gall to extend seal life and reduce maintenance costs and the likelihood of catastrophic damage occurrences

Applications

Greene Tweed’s Arlon® 4020 labyrinth seals are ideal for centrifugal compressors and dry gas seals in the following applications:

  • Oil and gas production and transportation
  • Refineries and petrochemical plants
  • Air separation units
  • Chemical industry
  • Fertilizer plants
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Industrial applications

To learn how we helped MAN Energy Solutions improve their efficiency in compressor operations, download the case study here.