Empowering Pumps recently began inviting people to Nominate an Industry Professional, and today’s Person of the Week is Ron Frisard, Global Field Product Manager and Technical Trainer at A. W. Chesterton Company. Here is what he has to share!
Q. How did you get started working in the Industry?
Ron: When I was in college, I worked at GE’s famous Gear plant in Lynn, Massachusetts. It made the large drive shaft gears for Naval ship propulsion going back before WWII. I really enjoyed the work and dealt with our customers of the US Navy and shipbuilders. After graduation, I went to work for the largest shipbuilder in the world: Newport News in Virginia at my old department of E64 – New Aircraft Carrier Construction group. On a Naval ship there are many valves, pipes, and pumps! I was only there a few years and then wanted to move back to the Boston area where I was lucky enough to find a job working at A.W. Chesterton Company dealing with the same types of equipment. That was 28 years ago, and I have split my time in three areas here at Chesterton: Engineering (both Applications and Research and Development), Global Training, and Marketing.
Q. What is your favorite part of your job? What are you most proud of?
Ron: I would say my favorite part of my job is helping solve problems for people. Some of my most gratifying moments is when I showed a customer that there is technology that can solve a problem they are having. I’m quite proud of my work done in the Nuclear Industry. I have presented at over 20 Nuclear conferences on valve and flange sealing over the years, and I have helped make the industry safer and more reliable.
Q. What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
Ron: My advice would be that you are lucky to be working in an industry that is always moving forward and improving with technology. The world is made of pumps, valves, and flanges. Making them more reliable and safer is a great career choice! The industry is always willing to listen to new ideas and technology – be empowered to make that change!
Q. Can you tell us about a cool project you worked on?
Ron: I would say the work I had on pump packing performance testing was one of my favorites. Back when I was in R&D, I modernized our test lab with data acquisition equipment and highlighted many insights into how modern day pump packing performs with analyzing data. Before this testing, people would say “pump packing is like driving with your emergency brake on” – meaning that it was a serious power drain because of high friction. We proved in the lab that with the right modern fiber, lubrication, and installation, pump packing can have the opposite effect and have power draw the same as mechanical seals. That work has changed the industry and pump packing solutions are now not looked at as ‘old’ technology.
Q. What are your top 3 questions you get asked by customers and how do you answer them?
Ron: 1) Why is valve packing installation so important? The most crucial factor in long term valve sealing is how the packing is installed. Details like measuring, cutting, tamping, and consolidating rings can make all the difference.
2) How do I seal Fugitive Emissions in valves? When I started working in this industry, 10,000 ppm was what was considered a leak. Today it is 100 ppm (and even 50 ppm in some areas)! This change has happened with great technology changes in packing (both fibers and manufacturing) but also in a change in processes from industry.
3) How does a flush system work in a packed pump? One of the most misunderstood technologies used in pumps is the lantern ring and the flushing process. With today’s packing technology, a flushing system is only needed for slurry services that result in solid embedment into the packing, resulting in uncontrollable leakage. Misalignment of the lantern ring is a serious issue and can starve off the system resulting in premature packing failure. There are innovative technologies that can change performance drastically by modernizing the system.
Thank you, Ron, for being our Industry Person of the Week! We look forward to keeping up with you through the #PumpTalk Community!
You can engage with Ron Frisard on Twitter at @frisard.