John Crane’s spin test rig in Slough, UK utilises gas flows to spin seal components up to high speeds to validate that they can cope with the significant forces they are likely to experience during service.
To complete a comprehensive test, certain seal components are required to be spun at higher speeds, and these could not be achieved with the existing rig capability. This resulted in components having to be shipped to external sub-contractors for spin testing, adding cost and increasing product lead times.
To enable spin testing to move in-house, the John Crane team designed and manufactured a new 3D-printed casing which improves the air flow around the impeller driving the spinning process, enabling higher speeds to be achieved on the rig. Two design iterations were created, manufactured and tested over just a one-week period.
The internal shape and flow distribution are difficult and expensive to achieve with conventional machining and the single 3D-printed piece replaces an assembly of 22 components and is cheaper to manufacture.
The upgraded rig can now be used for testing all seal components, reducing test costs and lead time for customers compared to contractor spin testing.