A Comprehensive Introduction to Seal and Valve Maintenance

Most businesses explore cost-cutting measures within the value stream when the times are tough. One area in which Kemet International has been able to help oil and gas companies to cut costs is the overhaul and repair of mechanical seals inside pumps and valves.

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Kemet — A Global Leader in Precision Lapping and Polishing Technology

Mechanical seals are available in a wide range of materials and design variations. When these fail, there are only two options: replacement or refurbishment. Failures are usually the result of wear, which can cause either leakage or, in the worst-case scenario, catastrophic failure. To combat wear, Kemet can supply the tools and know-how required for end users or their service teams to refurbish mechanical seals at a low cost and on-site.

Kemet also offers the necessary inspection tools like monochromatic lights and optical flats to guarantee that flatness and surface smoothness can be certified following refurbishment and before pressure testing.

Kemet's flat lapping systems can handle all mechanical seal materials, from silicon carbide to carbon, and several mechanical seal manufacturers employ Kemet consumables and machines throughout the manufacturing process. This means that a user can be certain that their sealing faces will be the same specification as if they were new. 

Incorrect lapping and using the wrong lapping tools and abrasives are the most common causes of leaking valves after repair, which lead to longer servicing turnaround times. For time-sensitive plant shutdowns, seals and seats must be repaired the first time correctly. Kemet has developed a lapping kit for Crosby, Tyco, and Anderson Greenwood pressure relief valves.

Kemet can also provide systems for lapping concave or convex seal faces, a requirement becoming increasingly prevalent each year. A Kemet 24 lapping and polishing machine is significantly less expensive than some silicon carbide seals, meaning Kemet International can support its clients during this turbulent period.

Materials including ceramic, silicon carbide, carbon, tungsten carbide, stainless steel, and stellite can be rapidly and easily processed in a one-step operation. A complete range of Hand Lapping and Polishing Kits are available for on-site work and portability. Also available is Kemet’s Lapping service, which has rapid turnaround times.

For field metallurgical replication procedures on parts that are too big to bring into the metallographic laboratory, the Kemet Portable Grinder Polisher & Etching unit allows clients to work in-situ for non-destructive replication techniques, ideal for both curved and flat surfaces. Power plants, natural gas, and petroleum pipelines are the PGP kit’s major application areas.


Kemet International Ltd is an internationally recognized leader in precision Lapping and Polishing technology. With over 85 years of experience in the field, Kemet International has been involved in developing most of the surface finishing processes utilized by modern mechanical seal and valve manufacturers.

Kemet Lapping Systems are used in Service Centers all around the world. Kemet is uniquely equipped to supply the complete package of Lapping Machines and consumables for the precise finishing of mechanical seal and valve faces in refineries, petrochemical plants, power stations, and oil platforms.

Kemet has a complete program of Lapping Machines for the maintenance workshop, which are capable of duplicating the processes used by valve and seal manufacturers. The biggest standard model machine can finish gate valves up to 1 m in length. The Kemet 15 Machine is the framework for more compact, portable systems. This bench-mounted model can successfully seal faces with a diameter of up to 5”.

This information has been sourced, reviewed, and adapted from materials provided by Kemet International Ltd.

For more information on this source, please visit Kemet International Ltd.


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