The impact of rotary lobe blower seal upgrades at INCO's Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 93, No. 1044, 2000

C. Corless and J. Costigan, Copper Cliff Nickel Refinery, INCO, Copper Cliff, Ontario

In 1997, damage as a result of Castrol R40 entering the INCO pressure carbonyl plant carrier gas stream was becoming increasingly severe. The oil in the gas stream was adversely affecting both equipment availability and process control resulting in rising unit costs. The main source of the Castrol R40 was determined to be the carrier gas and low pressure gas blowers. Plant personnel initiated a plan to prevent the Castrol R40 from entering the carrier gas stream by replacing the mechanical shaft seals with Ferrofluidics seals on these blowers. The following paper details a brief case history of the Castrol R40 in the carrier gas including impact on the plant. This will be followed by a technical discussion of the new sealing arrangement that was developed by plant personnel, Roots Blower and Ferrofluidics. Lastly, this paper will update the status of the blower upgrade project and document the results to date.
Keywords: Castroll R40, INCO, Gas blowers, Sealants, Lubricants.