Contributor: EGC Engineered Solutions
“Years ago, I was searching for a metal pressure seal replacement for the APS Palo Verde Nuclear Plant,” said Linda Stenzel, of Stenzel Sealing Solutions. “I initiated a research project and found that EGC was at the forefront of replacing metal with high-density, graphite pressure seals. EGC was among the first to use flexible graphite that was as easy to install as it was to remove.”
After serving many years with previous employers, Linda began her business in 2012 with her daughter, Mistie. “I wanted to have some control over my destiny in the future. More importantly, I wanted to focus our passion on the power generation industry.” Stenzel Sealing Solutions is a “fluid power specialist” providing gaskets, seals, pump and valve packing, fittings, flanges, steam traps and everything in between to nuclear, solar, hydro, coal, gas and wind generation power plants.They’re also technology-driven. “We support our customers with training, troubleshooting and reverse engineering,” says Linda “and often we hear that they couldn’t meet their schedule without us. That’s probably the highest compliment we get. We have a motto, ‘your success is our mission.’ Around here, everyone has a total understanding of the meaning of that goal.”
But before a graphite pressure seal can be engineered, the installer must document all the critical dimensions for the existing valve. Everything from the “manufacturer” to the bonnet neck ID to the seal OD to the system operating pressure must be known to make sure that the seal conforms to the bonnet and is leak free. According to Rob Garlock, an EGC Engineer for VSG Pressure Seals, “if the dimensions are wrong, our seal will not fit, OR it could lead to a catastrophic failure. Flexible graphite is very forgiving but if you’re off by a ¼ inch, you’re setting the stage for a potential problem.”
“Rob has an in-depth understanding of the way a valve works and the methodology of sealing a bonnet’, says Linda. “He’s also got a ton of experience in which data is right or wrong, and he’ll call you if he perceives there’s a problem.”
“We have our project managers work directly with the in-plant personnel and have the VSG Data Sheet on our phones and tablets,” said Linda. “The sheets can be printed out, and the installer can catalog the measurements immediately. Even though the process can be challenging, we’ve never had a pressure seal that didn’t fit or had failed, ever!”
Stenzel is a 24/7 service partner to its power generation customers. According to Linda, “EGC is part of our successful Stenzel team, and they make sure that the customers’ expectations are exceeded time after time. They’ve never let us down.”
The VSG is a direct replacement for any metal pressure seal. It is made to cycle over-and-over again without leakage. It will not fuse to valve components and can save up to 75% in installation costs. It’s compressible and conformable and can work in oversize, out of round, steam-cut and pitted bonnet cavities without the need for welding, grinding or re-machining. The VSG Pro Graphite Pressure Seal is engineered, manufactured and shipped within 48 hours as a standard, or can be shipped the same day, after hours or even on weekends and holidays through our Fast-Track expedite program.
EGC is a recognized world leader in the engineering and manufacturing of graphite composites for high-temperature applications in sealing or thermal systems management. The EGC website can be accessed at https://egcgraphite.com/.