Always the same movement, step by step, for exactly 42,195 kilometers: the marathon is known as the ultimate challenge in long-distance running. Anyone who has completed a marathon as a hobby runner knows how much strain is placed on the knee and hip joints by the repetitive nature of the movements. In an industrial setting, too, components quickly wear out when they are subjected to the same high-load stress. This applies to pumps, for example. However, with innovative carbon-based materials from Schunk Carbon Technology, maintenance intervals and product life can be considerably extended.
According to legend, the first marathon runner ever fell over dead after delivering the news about the Greek victory at the battle of Marathon to the Athenians. Fortunately, most long-distance road races nowadays don’t end in such dramatic fashion. But the 42,000 or so steps are without question a major strain for the body. But parts that have to reliably and consistently function over a period of years have to perform far more than our bodies do. That’s why the selection of the right material is decisive for the service life of machines, equipment and systems. In pumps and seal rings in particular, ordinary materials quickly reach their load limits. For this reason, Schunk Carbon Technology develops and produces materials for seal rings, slide bearings and pump components using carbon and silicon carbide. These innovative materials especially excel when it comes to abrasion resistance, gliding properties, resilience to aggressive media, and temperature stability. Carbon in the form of graphite additionally has the characteristic property of being self-lubricating - an advantage that you may know from a stiff lock at home that becomes easily lockable again with a little graphite. All in all, these are exactly the properties that are required in a demanding industrial environment.
Marathon distances for pumps
The true marathon runners are the dry-running vacuum pumps and the carbon vanes used in them. They are used, for example, in chemical engineering, the paper processing industry and in automotive manufacturing. In our own vacuum-pump test benches, Schunk has been able to achieve vane product lives of up to 30,000 hours. The distance covered by a vane during this service life equals 20 trips around the world at the equator. Hence, the new material was given the project name „Marathon“. The Schunk experts have been successful in developing graphite materials which stand out for their significantly lower cratering and wear.
Pumps are truly power engines
It’s not just the dry-running vacuum pumps that keep running and running and running. Other kind of pumps such as boiler feed pumps in power plants also have reliably provide their services over a long service life. The seal rings used in them have a big effect on the overall longevity of the pumps and must withstand high rotational speeds and temperatures. The materials specially developed for seal rings by Schunk Carbon Technology stand up to the high demands and provide strength and resistance to wear and corrosion.
This also applies to the high mechanical loads such as in the petrochemical industry or in the field of drinking water treatment. The durable Schunk materials are the true long-distance runners; they perform for much longer than the marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers.
By the way: products are not the only thing at Schunk that are long-distance runners - the employees are as well. In March 2017, the group is planning to hold an exercise initiative entitled "Schunk Runs". The goal: to motivate as many employees as possible to exercise and keep fit. We have been successful: nearly 600 runners regularly lace up their running shoes worldwide whether alone, in a running group or as part of a team in a local fun run or competition. That helps employees to stay healthy and also serves a good purpose. Schunk will donate five Rupees to an Indian school for underprivileged children for every kilometer run.
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