Getting what you pay for in a mechanical seal 7-11
Any time you purchase a mechanical seal, or any other piece of hardware for that matter, you get to choose two of the following three features nobody gets them all:
- The lowest price for that seal.
- The highest quality materials and workmanship.
- The best service.
Why can’t you get all three? Sales people and advertising imply you can. The fact is that if you understand the following you’ll see it is impossible by definition.
Let’s start with a high quality seal. What would it look like?
- Hydraulically balanced for the lowest heat generation and the widest pressure operating range.
- Cartridge or split design for ease of installation.
- Best quality materials that are easily identifiable, for the widest range of application.
- A sensible shaft centering method to prevent “face run off”.
- A method of insuring squareness to the shaft to prevent excessive axial movement.
- Venting and flushing connections located in the right places.
- Logical packaging to prevent damage to the lapped seal faces.
- Easy parts disposal.
- The ability to reset the seal after an impeller adjustment or thermal growth of the shaft.
- A location close to the bearings to reduce the affect of shaft radial displacement.
- Springs out of the fluid.
Service comes next:
- Local stocks to save your high inventory cost.
- Help with material selection and application. You can’t always do it by phone or FAX.
- Troubleshooting assistance when you need it, and you will.
- Help with installation.
- Inplant training sessions.
- Plant surveys to reduce the number of spare parts and assist standardization.
- Spare parts in stock and/or rebuilding service.
- Modification data and prints for special applications.
- An inventory of latest models and the newest materials.
- A sensible return policy to keep your inventory current.
That leaves only the price:
The cost of any product is based on consumption. If the manufacturer can make a lot of anything the price can become attractive. He therefore tries a distribution system that will give him his greatest growth. Assuming that you’re dealing with a reputable manufacturer that has priced his product sensibly, he now pays for his sales cost by offering the product at a discount to:
- The pump or mixer company
- A large consumer.
- A direct operation (the company store).
- An industrial distributor that hopefully handle related lines
- A manufacturers representative.
He can’t give them all the discount, and if he gives several of them some of the discount, there is not enough incentive for any of them to get excited about the product to work hard to increase the distribution.
The manufacturer is looking for volume, and this may be in conflict with some of your needs. Think it through because there is no simple answer to the problem; it varies from location to location.
The only people that ever really have difficulties are those buyers that are looking for the reliable individual that will give him all three without over pricing the product to start with. That person never existed!