How to Install Compression Packing

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 using best practices (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)
About the Author
Lori Ditoro joined SEPCO in November 2018 as content marketing manager. Before that, she was content marketing strategist for Fluke Accelix; editorial director of the Process Flow Network, publishers of Water Technology, Processing, and Flow Control; editor of Pumps & Systems; and editor of Upstream Pumping. In her roles, Ditoro has learned about the process and manufacturing industries and the equipment and technology that keep plants and other facilities operating. She also developed a passion for telling the operators' and technicians' stories. She may be reached at