Despite its standing as one of the oldest pump packing manufacturers in America, A.W. Chesterton is widely recognized for its past and current innovations. With a wealth of experience, a strong connection to end users, and a dedication to providing reliable solutions, Chesterton continues to enhance the fluid sealing industry as a knowledge provider.

Pump Engineer had the pleasure of speaking with Steven Bullen, Global Product Line Director for Mechanical Seals, about the importance of education within the industry, the company’s continued drive for improvement, and its interest in branching out into new industries.

By Angelica Pajkovic

History at a Glance

Chesterton began in 1884 when Arthur Chesterton founded the company to provide steamboat and engineering supplies to customers on the Boston, MA waterfront. The initial company focus, however, remains the same today – providing clients with the solutions based technology needed for their success.

In 1885, the company introduced its own line of pump packing and gasket technology. By 1905 Chesterton was offering its sealing products across America, and by 1950, the company was operating on a global scale. In the 1960s, Chesterton began manufacturing and selling mechanical seals, including the first-ever off-the-shelf single cartridge mounted seal, which launched in the mid-1980s. Today, the company is a comprehensive solutions provider for the manufacturing industry. It now has 500 sales and service locations around the world in over 100 countries.

“Any company looking to meet operational goals efficiently, effectively, and without fiscal irresponsibility, can trust A.W. Chesterton Company,” relayed Bullen.

A Center for Intelligence

Today, Chesterton strives to be a knowledge provider and partner for the industry that focuses on solving and helping customers meet the ever-increasingly stringent requirements associated with leak prevention and emission abatement. “Chesterton wants to solve the reliability goals of its customers in all industries by being able to provide a complete asset solution,” explained Bullen. “Rather than having several different sources of information, it is pertinent for the customer to have one knowledgeable provider they can rely on to take care of their assets.” This is where Chesterton comes in; using the experience it has gained, the company is able to look at each pump, and the type of service it will be used in, to devise a custom solution. “We want to not only efficiently address the needs of both the end user and their industry, we also want to uncover what unforeseen challenges the customer may have and how we can assist and guide them to a complete solution.”

Chesterton University Offers Reliability

A new method of ensuring its customers are able to gain from its wealth of knowledge came to fruition during the COVID-19 pandemic with Chesterton University. With an internal education platform already in place, Chesterton chose to elevate its offering by becoming the go-to source for education on equipment reliability solutions for end users, distributors, and retail partners.

During the pandemic, Chesterton University created an external platform where industry professionals from around the world could go, free of charge, to learn more about the applications they work with daily. “The programs and courses we offer provide the users, or students, with access to everything: product and solution-specific schools, industry-specific programs and guides, and training webinar content. It focuses not only on the products but also on solutions,” said Bullen.

“We are trying to look at different types of customers, and their challenges, to help guide them to the solution that is best for them. This can take several different paths.” Chesterton University allows customers to expand and explore their possible products and solutions.

Addressing Asset Management

One of the most prevalent focuses of the industry today is asset management, and by extension, condition monitoring. “The Internet of Things (IOT) and remote monitoring are big topics in the industrial sector in general, but especially in the pump industry,” stated Bullen. “This is why Chesterton has taken steps to provide essential information on this subject, through courses and programs offered at Chesterton University.”

Many individuals do not understand or fully appreciate how the conditions in a seal chamber differ from the conditions in a pump itself. With rotating equipment, the industry has taken a stance and made the vibration monitoring of bearings the key indicator of equipment health. However, many times equipment can vibrate significantly without a sealing issue being identified. Conversely, a sealing issue may manifest itself due to fluid properties that will not be identified by vibration monitoring alone.

To help combat this ongoing pain point, Chesterton introduced the Chesterton Connect; a specific vibration and chamber monitoring device solution that focuses on the vibration analysis as well as the fluid conditions that impact mechanical seals. This all allows for the ability to identify issues before failure.

Following the release of Chesterton Connect, the company launched Chesterton Connect Cloud, a web based dashboard and analytics platform for viewing, assessing, and managing data collected from equipment monitoring sensors. This Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) innovation provides 24/7 access to the process and operating conditions of pumps and other mechanisms. This allows engineers and technicians to identify and solve problems and emergencies before they occur.

“Typically, pump reliability engineers and equipment engineers will monitor the bearing condition of a pump,” explained Bullen. “So, they monitor the vibration and temperature as an indicator of equipment health. What we have done with all our knowledge in seals is brought to the market a device that not only takes continuous readings of the vibration and temperature of the bearing housing, but we also added a system that is able to measure the pressure and temperature directly in the seal chamber,” he said.

By using Chesterton’s Connect Cloud, clients can view the overall performance of their pumps, assess variances and trends, add notes, and focus on the most effective maintenance efforts. This piece of technology also tracks rotating equipment in real time, creates instant reports, overlays and compares measurements for multiple sensors, and presents vibration trends for vibration velocity and acceleration in accessible, color coded reports.

Without this kind of technology present, Bullen said technicians may be missing operational problems. “When users do not understand the relationship between the sealed chamber pressure, the temperature, and how it affects the seal, they can inadvertently cause seal failures,” he explained. That is why, he continued, the Chesterton Connect Cloud technology is so vital – it not only protects the seal and process health, but it also ensures optimal seal effectiveness.

Innovative Nature

Chesterton Connect is just one of several ongoing services that Chesterton offers to keep the industry moving forward. “Our innovation is driven by a collection of customers’ voices as well as the research collected from the pump and reliability specialists that represent Chesterton out in the field,” said Bullen.

Chesterton is dedicated to consulting with customers and gathering information to derive the most suitable solutions. Before beginning a project, the MVP Foundry, a group of senior engineers, assesses current pump pain points and determines what processes and products could be beneficial for the industry.

“The goal of this foundry is to develop that minimum viable product and engage directly with users during that process,” explained Bullen. “Our customers, users, and target industries have a direct connection with our engineering teams. This way we are able to make our products meet the exact specifications that are required.”

From listening to the end user and planning the initial concepts, to field testing and introducing a new product, Chesterton places importance on being the name of reliability.

New Solutions

Chesterton is committed to providing customers with less demanding applications. “We have a mechanical seal that can be implemented easily, with the best reliability that one can receive in an extremely condensed package,” explained Bullen.

The new platform is designed to use years of Chesterton’s mechanical seal knowledge and reliability know-how to provide a way for even the most cost conscious operator to realize reliability gains for modest out lay. The solution is also ideal for OEMs where start up success and reliability through warranty agreements is paramount.

Named the 1510, the single mechanical seal platform can seal pressures upto 300psi (20 bar), in a wide range of process media thanks to the wide availability of seal face and o-rings materials. As with all Chesterton mechanical seals, cost effective spare parts kits are available to users so that they can return the seal back to factory new condition without it ever leaving their premises.

Gathering Momentum in New Industries

On top of new innovative products, Chesterton has continuedto expand its manufacturing footprint globally. “Last year, significant investments were made in a manufacturing center in Chile to support mining and ore processing in Latin America,” divulged Bullen. “This has allowed Chesterton to provide solutions in markets that were previously inaccessible. We want to regionalize manufacturing centers to better serve the key industries in the region they are located.”

While Groveland, MA will still be the mothership of manufacturing, the company has taken steps to ensure it is spreading out in other areas. “Europe has just begun manufacturing not only the heavy-duty modular cartridge seal lines of Chesterton, but also the 1510 entry level mechanical seal with a state of the art production facility,” said Bullen.

Regionalizing manufacturing also comes into play within North America. “Historically, some components and materials have migrated overseas for most of the pump and mechanical seal industry. However, we are now insourcing – developing suppliers in North America and educating them on the needs of the industry and manufacturers like Chesterton.”

Looking Ahead

Moving forward, Bullen hopes for Chesterton to continue its place as a center of knowledge and education for both consumers and members of the industry. “We want to continue sharing our expertise and actively reaching out to customers, as well as expanding our manufacturing footprints globally,” said Bullen. “Our unique connections to customers and the continued effort to produce innovative content and products will undoubtedly allow Chesterton to remain an authority on pump packing and mechanical seals for the foreseeable future.”

Previous articleUnderstanding the Basics of Lifecycle Cost Analysis: An Interview with Soheil Samanipoor, Worley Canada
Next articleLandia’s New Water & Wastewater Treatment Plant in China
Shopia Ketheeswararajah is a feature editor contributing to Pump Engineer, Stainless steel World Americas, Hose and Coupling World, and other related print & online media.