Expert Discusses Bearing Isolators and Motor Failure in Recent Article

Electric motors are crucial assets in industrial processing. They generate the mechanical energy needed to keep operations going.

Recently, Design Engineer George Gillespie, discussed electric motors and pumps, as well as the benefits of bearing isolators in preventing motor failure, in a recent Plant Services magazine article.

In the piece, “How to protect bearings and extend motor life,” Gillespie explained that, while modern electrical motors are for the most part reliable, that level of comfort can be what puts your team in a bind.

“Most days, personnel do not even think about the motors doing the work. Some motors are automatically monitored. However, most personnel walk over to the motor control center, and without thinking, they press a button to start a motor. That action starts their day … until it doesn’t.”

Also, if a plant is operating under the run-to-failure mentality, what started out as a cheap, “throwaway” motor can turn into a big problem with expensive consequences. These include:

  • Downtime
  • Crisis-mode operations
  • Halted production

Ultimately, plants are left with two potentially expensive choices — repair the motor or replace it.

Primary causes of motor failure

Bearing problems frequently cause electric motor failures, and premature bearing failure can result from any number of factors.

“Many are lubrication-related; these include over- and under-lubrication and lubricant contamination,” Gillespie write in the Plant Services article. “Improper lubrication practices can often be addressed via training and focusing on maintenance procedures. Lubricant contamination can also be mitigated.”

Protect motors by eliminating lubricant contamination with bearing isolators

bearing isolatorA noncontact, compound labyrinth bearing isolator is the best equipment to protect the electric motor bearing lubricant from liquid or particulate contamination because they are specifically designed to keep the majority of contaminants out. Should contaminants enter the motor’s interior, the bearing’s design uses specific clearances, gap changes, and directional changes to control them.

“The technology directs the contaminants away from the bearing cavity using centrifugal force and gravity,” Gillespie explained. “It expels the contaminants outside the seal and away from the bearing. This prevents contamination of the bearing lubricant and greatly extends the life of the lubricant and the bearing.”

In addition, Bearing isolators also keep the bearing lubricant where it belongs — within the bearing cavity. As a result, the lubricant keeps the bearing components apart, thereby preventing premature failure.

Read the full article on to learn more about how to extend motor life by increasing bearing life.

HydraLoad Named ‘New and Noteworthy’ Product

A recent issue of Pumps & Systems magazine featured the HydraLoad packing system. The system was hand-picked by the editors as a new and noteworthy technology.


The HydraLoad system includes:

  • Shaft-stabilizing bearing block
  • Separate lantern ring
  • High-performance packing

Also, the bearing has a low coefficient of friction, which reduces power consumption. The system decreases product dilution and water use by 80% as well.

A separate lantern ring eliminates the need to replace the entire block if damage or clogging occurs. Downtime for cleaning, removal, or replacement is significantly decreased when compared to systems with a connected lantern ring and bearing.

Other technologies featured in this article include:

  • Remote terminal units
  • Pressure transducer
  • Liquid ring vacuum pump
  • Fusion dampener
  • Flow controller

Check out the full piece on pages 82-83 of the June 2019 issue of Pumps & Systems.

Experts Discuss Bearing Isolators in Podcast

SEPCO sets out to educate listeners on the benefits of bearing isolators in recent Rooted in Reliability podcast.

Bearing failure and prevention are hot topics among industry professionals. In a recent Rooted in Reliability podcast, Chris Tindell, SEPCO’s regional business manager, and Woody Nepa, an engineer for product development and reliability solutions for SEPCO, set out to educate listeners on the benefits of bearing isolators. During the podcast, James Kovacevic, an educator with Erudtio, interviewed the duo. Kovacevic is the long-time host of the Rooted in Reliability podcasts.

Machine operating conditions are one major cause of bearing failure.  This is why bearing isolators are used to separate the bearing from its external environment. A seal is what keeps the bearing and the oil free from contamination. It also keeps the lubrication from leaking where it shouldn’t.

Bearing isolators and asset health

Several different types of bearing isolators are available, but the two primary categories are:

  • Contacting, or mechanical, seals, which have been used for rotating equipment
  • Noncontacting seals, which are used for dynamic purposes and consistent performance

bearing isolatorsAlso, Tindell and Nepa mention that the use of a pure lubricant at the right time is crucial. This is because it directly effects asset health.

“You have to make sure that the samples that you are taking have consistent viscosity and other variables aren’t changing. It helps determine the condition of the oil. You can change it just at the right time before it results in a bearing failure. So, all these efforts are being made to keep the oil clean. It is worth it if you are achieving your goals for the equipment in your facilities.”

Determine Functioning Failure

Last, but certainly not least, the duo discuss why it’s vital to determine a functioning failure when using a shaft seal because the failure will only occur when the seal is no longer working.

“Seals are just a small device that helps you improve your reliability program. For these to really work and provide you real-time value, your baselines need to be good. If you are not doing everything else right that needs to be done. [Otherwise], investing in bearing isolators would be a waste of time and money.”

Read the full article on bearing isolators here. Listen to the complete Rooted in Reliability podcast with Tindell and Nepa here.

Empowering Pumps Explains Benefits of Water Utilization Study

To ensure that your water use is as efficient as possible, you need to understand your plant’s current water use. A water utilization study can help.

water utilization study

What’s one thing all industrial facilities have in common? Water. They all use water to operate efficiently. But do you know how much water they use. Better yet, how much water does your plant use? Knowing the answer can help your team conserve water and save money.

According to an article on the Empowering Pumps website, industrial water treatment systems treat water for many different plant applications, including:

  • Consumption
  • Manufacturing
  • Cooling
  • Dilution
  • Cleaning
  • Disposal

The technologies selected for these systems and the order that they are installed depend on the contaminants that must be removed.

Some of the most in-demand industrial water treatment systems include:

Why Should You Conduct a Water Use Study?

Because water treatment is costly and energy intensive, plants should strive for efficient and effective water use. If they don’t, money could literally go down the drain.

To ensure that your water use is as efficient as possible, you need to understand where and how it is used. Additionally, you should identify where your system is losing or leaking water.

A water utilization study can save millions of gallons per year. It also helps plants:

  • Decrease water use
  • Prolong equipment life
  • Reduce corrosion on equipment
  • Eliminate process dilution
  • Reduce evaporation costs
  • Minimize process costs
  • Reduce leakage to atmosphere
  • Decrease housekeeping issues

What Happens During This Study?

Experts use ultrasonic testing to audit a plant’s media, flush water, and leak rate. Experts provide a summary of your facility’s current water consumption during the water use study. They also develop a water reduction strategy for every stuffing box in the plant. The completion of water use studies usually takes between one and two weeks.

If you’re interested in having an expert conduct a water utilization study at your plant, please contact one of our experts.

Contact an Expert

Mark Your Calendars for Eruditio’s Upcoming Leading Reliability Event!

Join us Tuesday, October 22, at the Institute at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, for Eruditio LLC’s upcoming Leading Reliability event.


Join us on Tuesday, October 22, at the Institute at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, for Eruditio LLC’s upcoming Leading Reliability event. This video shows a summary of our June 2019 training.

This workshop will offer education and applied learning with some of the industry’s top leaders in reliability, preventive, and predictive maintenance aboard the USS Yorktown.

The event will kick off at 8 a.m. and close at 4 p.m., but not before providing attendees the chance to test their knowledge with simulations and hands-on applications. As a bonus, Eruditio will offer leadership training in F-35 flight simulators.

Presentations and Hands-On Learning

David Brewer, regional manager for the Atlantic region, SEPCO, will lead the morning session, “Stuffing Box Reliability: Proper packing installation and shaft stabilization prolong equipment and packing life,” to help end users ensure that their packing and bushing systems are properly installed and seated.

Compression packing is one of the most frequently used sealing technologies in any facility or plant where pumps and valves are present. Improperly installed or seated packing causes worn shafts or sleeves, excess heat, and abnormal leakage. Additionally, shaft deflection will also cause problems in pumps. The proper selection and installation of bushings help stabilize the shaft, again extending packing and equipment life.

Brewer will also lead a hands-on packing installation workshop during the event’s afternoon application sessions. This workshop offers attendees the opportunity to execute the proper installation of packing into translucent stuffing boxes and apply best practice guidelines for compression packing installation.

In addition, the event will feature a presentation and hands-on application session with LUDECA‘s applications engineer, Adam Stredel, who will discuss increasing bearing life through proper storage and installation tactics. Shon Isenhour, partner at Eruditio LLC, will also discuss problem solving with root cause analysis.

Visit Erudtio’s website to learn more and register for this can’t-miss industry event today!

Infographic on decreasing oil changes featured on magazine site

Check out this infographic on how to increase oil life by eliminating contamination, increasing lubrication reliability

Sometimes, it’s easier to show than to tell. That’s why SEPCO recently published a new infographic on how to increase oil life and decrease oil changes that was featured on the Pumps & Systems website.

How to increase oil life with bearing isolators

Oil life can be long and prosperous if contamination is eliminated, but often, that’s easier said than done. This infographic (also featured on Seal Connect) depicts the challenges of foreign particles that contaminate oil by blocking contaminants’ ingress, including:

  • 82 percent of rotating failures are caused by particles in the oil.
  • Foreign particulates create wear particles that cause more wear and more wear particles; essentially a vicious cycle.
  • Even with just 0.1 percent of water contamination, lubricants may lose 75 percent of their life.
  • 63 percent of bearing failure is lubrication-related.

It also illustrates how to increase oil life. Traditional seals experience wear brought about by contaminants that were introduced because of a degraded lip seal. Contamination and moisture in the lubrication because of improper sealing during static conditions, another issue with traditional labyrinth technology, is also possible.

As shown in the infographic, some compound labyrinth seals, also known as bearing isolators, can eliminate contaminant ingress.

“Two static coalescing O-rings break down vapor and direct it into the expeller chamber. The condensate chamber becomes a trap for moisture. During dynamic operation, centrifugal force adds energy to contaminants and expels them from the internal environment.”

IIoT Big Topic at EASA 2019 Convention

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a buzzword among industry professionals, so it’s no surprise that it was a key topic at the 2019 Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) Convention in Las Vegas.

According to Pumps & Systems magazine, more than 3,000 industry members were in attendance for this year’s convention, and many companies from the motor industry conducted business from their booths on the show floor. As a solutions provider for the fluid sealing industry, SEPCO stood out.

SEPCO hosting a live packing demonstration at EASA 2019.

In the article by Pumps & Systems Managing Editor Drew Champlin, SEPCO’s regional business manager Chris Tindell, CMRP, discussed how the motor industry traditionally has not been aware that are alternatives to horizontal labyrinth technology. This is where SEPCO can help.

“We have expeller seals that are used in motor applications […],” Tindell told Pumps and Systems. “We’ve done a lot of work with motor shops and had customers pointing us toward the motor shops, realizing there’s not only benefits to pump and steam turbines, but also to the electric motors.”

Additionally, EASA’s Gene Vogel, pump and vibration specialist, hosted a presentation on the IIoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.

“We don’t know what [the next step] is, but it’s coming, and we better be ready for it,” Vogel told Champlin. “I think people have accepted the internet — not because of anything in our industry, but because of its ubiquitous impact on society at large. You can’t escape it and be alive in this world.”

Vogel also discussed how long industry members should be prepared to wait before AI and machine learning mature to the point that it is possible to predict machine conditioning without a technician needing to inspect it.

“My comment was that I thought it would take a decade,” Vogel said in the article. “It’s here to stay. People are not averse to it. They think it’s going to go much faster than I think it’s going to go. People assume technology can solve all problems. It can’t. We can with technology. Technology is a tool to solve the problem […]”

Listen to Vogel’s discussion of IIoT in this podcast from Pumps & Systems.

The 2020 EASA convention will take place June 14-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information on the role IIoT played at EASA 2019, check out the full article.


MaximoWorld 2019: Packed with Education & Fun

Keynotes, RAP Talks, presentations, hospitality events, cocktail hours in the expo, and MaxStock make this a must attend event.

MaximoWorld 2019 funIf you’ve never attended MaximoWorld, you may think the headline suggesting that the show is packed with fun is an exaggeration. It isn’t. From fun food and drinks to karaoke with a LIVE band, this show is a blast. Beyond the fun, you leave with your brain full of knowledge as well. To see all the fun from our perspective, visit our Facebook page and view our photo album.

SEPCO Presentation

On Day 3, Sealing Equipment Products Company (SEPCO) presented on how to track mechanical seals in Maximo and why you should. In this talk, Chris Tindell, CMRP, discussed the value of tracking mechanical seals to keep a record of when they were installed, if they were rebuilt, and the length of their lives. To do this, mechanical seals are not treated like a consumable part. They are entered into the Maximo Item Master as a rotating asset and tracked that way.
The benefits are numerous and include:

  • Managing the spare parts (gland, stator, rotor, secondary seals, and loading mechanism or spring) of each mechanical seal
  • Keeping up with how and why a seal failed by studying the wear patterns
  • Understanding where the system defects come from by entering the reason(s) for seal failure

MaximoWorld by the Numbers

The official press release from Reliability Web stated that more than 1,100 people attended the conference. These attendees hailed from 25 countries, and spent three days absorbed in all things Maximo and reliability.

In addition, exhibitors from around the world added to the educational nature with live demonstrations and experts on hand to discuss Maximo as well as the Industrial Internet of Things  and data integration. Many of these experts also presented during the numerous educational presentations across the three-day event.

Standout Keynotes & Speakers

As usual, Terrence O’Hanlon did not disappoint in his Reliability and Asset Performance (RAP) Talk or any of his presentations throughout the general sessions.MaximoWorld 2019 fun Introduced by a representative from Prometheus Group, the ever-inspirational Ben Pring opened the final day with his keynote, “The Coming Battle of Professions.” His point was that, as professionals react to the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) with excitement and fear, they ultimately feel that their livelihoods are threatened. A primary example is taxi drivers’ jobs after the rise of Uber and Lyft. Always great for quotable material, two statements that stood out were:

  • “AI is the great story of our time.”
  • “The robots aren’t coming … they’re here.”

The Fun

On Day 1, the fun activity was poolside at the Cohesive hospitality event. With a live band and delicious food and beverages, our team excitedly joined in the activities with our friends from Fluke Accelix. We all enjoyed their generosity and friendliness.
MaximoWorld 2019 funMaxStock, held on Night 2, is an event during MaximoWorld that has its own T-shirt, and attendees look forward to it all year. Brave attendee after brave attendee took the stage with the live band to perform. Every year, I am surprised by the talented people we have in the reliability world!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again next year in Orlando, August 4 – 6, 2020!

How to Install Compression Packing

This infographic gives you the five steps to extend packing life and reduce downtime.

As one of the most frequently used sealing technologies, compression packing is present in any facility or plant with pumps and valves. Improperly installed or seated packing causes worn shafts or sleeves, excess heat, and abnormal leakage. Teams must ensure they know how to install compression packing and follow the best practice steps carefully. This begins with ensuring that the correct fiber type is selected.

Fiber Selection

Selecting the wrong packing fiber may cause premature wear and packing failure. Many variables go into this selection. These include understanding the different fiber. Packing fibers to consider are:

How to install compression packing: Pump and valve

  • Flax
  • Acrylic fiber
  • Carbon
  • Aramid
  • PTFE
  • Graphite
  • Combinations of more than one fiber

Braid Types

Different braid types are also available and include:

  • Multi-Lok
  • Square braid
  • Braid over core
  • Braid over braid
  • Twisted

Also, packing can be used on any rotating equipment, such as pumps; valves; doors; and other equipment.

New Infographic: How to Install Compression Packing

A recently posted infographic, “5 Steps for Reliable Packing Performance,” details the steps to take for properly seated and installed packing.  Packing infographic

By adhering to the five best practices described in this infographic, plant teams can all but eliminate excessive leakage caused by improper packing installation, and they will reduce equipment downtime. These best practices include:

  • Make the right fiber choice.
  • Install the packing correctly (employ a tool that ensures ideal seating).
  • Follow proper maintenance recommendations.
  • If your operating parameters change, rethink your packing fiber and maintenance routine.
  • Replace the packing when it is exhausted.

Prolong Packing and Asset Life

Following these guidelines on how to install compression packing will help you prolong your packing life and the life of your rotating asset. Remember, if any of the parameters below change, you need to reconsider your packing fibers and lubrication:

  • Flow volume
  • Hours of operation
  • Operating temperature and pressure
  • Material being pumped (particularly the pH)

EXP Bearing Isolator featured in Plant Services magazine

Innovative EXP Bearing Isolator was recently included on the Plant Services website as a featured product for 2019. EXP Bearning Isolator

The hybrid design of the EXP Bearing Isolator merges labyrinth technology with a new expeller technology. This makes it ideal for lubricant reliability. The vertical, expeller technology empowers end users to achieve high levels of sealing performance.

According to the Plant Services product listing, “the EXP maximizes bearing and lubricant life by expelling contaminants, eliminating lubrication leakage and protecting against water contamination.”

No Worn Shafts

Additionally, as a true noncontact bearing isolator, the EXP mitigates worn shafts and sleeves for ensured reliability. Also, it uses a dual expeller to create centrifugal force and drive away contamination. Statically, the EXP dual vertical oriented chambers form the most effective labyrinth on the market.


The EXP Bearing Isolator is available in different configurations, including versions for the following applications:

  • Steam turbines: EXP-TB is designed for steam turbines. The design coalesces and expels steam before it reaches the bearing housing.
  • Gearboxes: EXP-GB is designed for applications where a positive seal is required because of flooded conditions. With this asset, a positive seal is created within the isolator with no parts to wear on the shaft. Common applications are input shafts on gearboxes. Lubrication protection is ensured.
  • Flange-mounted applications: EXP-FL includes all the benefits of a standard EXP with the adaptation for flange mounted applications where pressing the stator is not recommended or possible.
  • Pillow block housings: EXP-PB includes all the benefits of a standard EXP with an adaptation to mount within the existing LER/LOR ring grooves of split pillow blocks.

From the Blog