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Gland Packing (Compression Packing / Stuffing Box Packing)

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Many companies sell gland packing, but do they really understand what it is and the reason for it? Textile Technologies help engineers and maintenance personnel choose the correct size and type of gland packing including advice on installation.

Textile Technologies Gland packing is also known as stuffing box packing or compression packing. It is used to seal the gap between a moving part and a stationary part in various types of machinery, such as pumps, valves, and marine propeller shafts. The primary purpose of gland packing is to prevent fluid leakage along the shaft or stem while allowing for the necessary movement of these components.


Key Functions and Characteristics of Textile Technologies Gland Packing:

  1. Sealing: Gland packing provides a seal to prevent the escape of fluids (liquids or gases) from the equipment. It is used in scenarios where there is relative motion between parts, such as rotating or reciprocating shafts.
  2. Lubrication: It can help in providing lubrication to reduce friction between the moving parts, which in turn can extend the life of the equipment.
  3. Temperature and Pressure Resistance: Gland packing is designed to withstand various temperatures and pressures depending on the material composition, making it suitable for a wide range of industrial applications.
  4. Adjustability: The packing can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the gland follower, which compresses the packing material to maintain an effective seal as it wears over time.

Components of Gland Packing:

  • Packing Material: This is typically a braided or woven material such as graphite, PTFE (Teflon®), or aramid fibres. The choice of material depends on the operating environment, including temperature, pressure, and the type of fluid being sealed.
  • Gland Follower: This is a mechanical component that compresses the packing material against the shaft or stem to create the seal.
  • Stuffing Box: This is the chamber where the packing is placed. It is designed to hold the packing material around the shaft or stem.

Applications of Gland Packings:

  • Pumps: To prevent leakage around pump shafts.
  • Valves: To seal valve stems and prevent leakage when the valve is open or closed.
  • Propeller Shafts: In marine applications, to seal the shaft where it exits the hull of a vessel.
  • Mixers and Agitators: In industrial processes where rotating shafts enter a sealed environment.

Advantages:

  • Cost-Effective: Generally less expensive compared to mechanical seals.
  • Simple to Maintain: Easy to adjust and replace without requiring disassembly of the entire equipment.
  • Versatile: Suitable for a wide range of applications and environments.

Disadvantages:

  • Potential for Leakage: Over time, gland packing can wear and may require periodic adjustments or replacement to maintain an effective seal.
  • Friction and Wear: Can cause friction and wear on the shaft or stem, potentially leading to increased maintenance.

In summary, gland packing is a widely used sealing method in various industries due to its effectiveness, simplicity, and versatility. However, it requires regular maintenance to ensure continued performance and prevent leakage.


Types of Textile Technologies Gland Packing Materials:

  1. Graphite Packing:
    • Characteristics: High temperature resistance, excellent chemical resistance, good thermal conductivity.
    • Applications: High-temperature and high-pressure environments, such as steam valves, boilers, and chemical plants.
  2. PTFE (Teflon®) Packing:
    • Characteristics: Excellent chemical resistance, low friction, non-contaminating, suitable for food and pharmaceutical applications.
    • Applications: Chemical processing, food and beverage industry, pharmaceuticals, water treatment.
  3. Aramid (Kevlar®) Packing:
    • Characteristics: High strength, abrasion resistance, good chemical resistance.
    • Applications: Slurry pumps, abrasive media, mining applications, and pulp and paper industry.
  4. Carbon Fibre Packing:
    • Characteristics: High strength, good thermal conductivity, excellent chemical resistance.
    • Applications: High-temperature applications, chemical industries, and environments with abrasive media.
  5. Asbestos Packing: (historically used but now largely replaced due to health hazards):
    • Characteristics: Good heat resistance, durable.
    • Applications: High-temperature applications (now replaced by safer alternatives).
  6. Natural and Synthetic Fibre Packing:
    • Characteristics: Includes materials like flax, jute, or acrylic fibres, often treated with lubricants or coatings.
    • Applications: General-purpose sealing, water pumps, and low-pressure applications.

Types of Gland Packing Configurations:

  1. Braided Packing:
    • Description: Made by braiding strands of material into a square or rectangular cross-section.
    • Types: Can be square-braided, round-braided, or interlock braided.
    • Advantages: Good flexibility and easy to install.
  2. Laminated Packing:
    • Description: Constructed by laminating layers of material, usually PTFE or graphite, and compressing them into a solid structure.
    • Advantages: High-density and durable.
  3. Extruded Packing:
    • Description: Made by extruding packing material through a die to form a specific shape.
    • Advantages: Consistent quality and dimensional accuracy.
  4. Die-Formed Packing:
    • Description: Pre-compressed and shaped using dies to fit specific stuffing box dimensions.
    • Advantages: Ensures precise fit and ease of installation.
  5. Foil Inserted Packing:
    • Description: Incorporates metal or graphite foil to enhance strength and thermal conductivity.
    • Advantages: Improved performance in high-pressure and high-temperature applications.
  6. Lubricated Packing:
    • Description: Packing material impregnated with lubricants to reduce friction and wear.
    • Advantages: Reduced shaft wear and lower friction.

Specialty Gland Packing:

  1. Food-Grade Packing:
    • Materials: Made from materials approved for use in food and beverage industries, such as PTFE.
    • Characteristics: Non-contaminating, resistant to cleaning chemicals.
  2. High-Temperature Packing:
    • Materials: Typically made from graphite, carbon fibre, or other high-temperature resistant materials.
    • Characteristics: Can withstand extreme temperatures and aggressive environments.
  3. Low-Emission Packing:
    • Materials: Designed to meet stringent environmental regulations for fugitive emissions.
    • Characteristics: Provides superior sealing with minimal leakage.

Key Considerations when selecting your packing:

  • Operating Temperature: Choose a material that can withstand the specific temperature range.
  • Chemical Compatibility: Ensure the packing material is resistant to the chemicals in the application.
  • Pressure Requirements: Select packing that can handle the system pressure.
  • Abrasiveness of the Media: For abrasive media, opt for durable materials like aramid or carbon fibre.
  • Regulatory Compliance: For food, pharmaceutical, or environmental applications, ensure the packing meets relevant standards.

By understanding the different types of gland packing, you can choose the appropriate one for your specific application, ensuring optimal performance and longevity. Whilst we have tried to help give some insight in to the world of gland packing, please contact Textile Technologies for further expert advice, insight and help with product selection.

Please click here to access Textile Technologies extensive range of gland packing.


KEVLAR® is a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
TEFLON® is a registered trademark of The Chemours Company.

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