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Swagelok Chicago

Your Authorized Swagelok Sales and Service Center

Case Study - Mechanical Seal Support Systems


In this business climate customers have fewer resources and less expertise than in the past. At the same time the complexity of work increases as does the risk.

For one PetroChemical customer, all these challenges came to a head. They experienced budget and manpower cuts, and understood these pressures meant they needed to change their thinking away from, “This is the way we have always done it.” The way they always had done it was building seal support systems in-house.


The customer had to react to their company’s objectives, including a requirement to considerably shave overhead and still continue with the same maintenance schedules. As a consequence of this company-wide mandate their maintenance department had fewer laborers to do the same amount of required work.

One essential initiative they were looking to improve was building seal support systems. In discussions about the project the customer provided a simple sketch of their seal support system on a piece of paper. We converted their concept into a three-dimensional CAD drawing so they could visualize how a solution could fit their unique system.

Another challenge was standardizing seal support systems in their plant. The way they had done it in the past was that they allowed each area to interpret the P&ID as they wished. The lack of standardization meant each one was operated differently, and training instructions were different on each. There was more opportunity for error, meaning a less safe work environment.


The results of this engagement was that we saved the customer $25,000. These savings came from not having to pay an engineering firm for design work, assembly costs, and by not purchasing a non-conforming skid from a bulk chemical supplier. What is more, they have a recurring 20% savings with each seal support system reorder because our solution costs less than their prior way of doing business. One way we helped solve the complexity of the project was through offering the solution as one part number, saving the customer time and effort during their procurement process. Within their business system, the customer simply assigned and added a part number. This number included the entire system along with an attachment of the CAD drawing for future purchasing reference. Previously, the customer would have to:

  • Order the parts individually
  • Wait for the parts to arrive
  • Assemble the panel and then install it

Another way we helped reduce the complexity was that there were no longer several interpretations of their P&ID. We gave them one solution that allowed them to standardize their entire plant, reducing the risk of confusion around having many different solutions all through the plant. This one solution also was clearly labeled, significantly decreasing any opportunity for operator error, making it a safer work environment. This one part number, one purchase order, and one delivery solution was assembled, tested, warranted and ready for installation upon receipt. Being able to take on the complexity of all these challenges reduced their risk significantly. The customer thought differently about their problem, and took on the challenge proactively, resulting in a better business outcome for them.

Email or call 866.901.0151 to learn how we can reduce the complexity and help eliminate the risk with your project