There has always been a long-felt need for well service packing assemblies with extended longevity to increase the mean time between “reactive” maintenance and the preferred “predictive” maintenance. This need has been exacerbated as packing assembly longevity decreased in response to pump pressures that have increased from approximately 6,000 psi in the 1980’s to 14,000-16,000 psi today. Modern plunger-type well-service pumps used in hydraulic fracturing require high quality packing to survive the rigors of High Rate – High Pressure (HRHP) Fracturing operations in today’s market place. 

Current shale formations require extreme fracturing pressures in excess of 9,500 psi and flow rates in excess of 80 barrels per minute as a result of the formation being very compacted or “tight.”  Consequently, a very small proppant size commonly referred to as #100 mesh sand is required to be pumped downhole into the formation crevasses caused by the hydrostatic pressures.

The abrasive media being handled by the pumps must be prevented from leaking between the reciprocating plunger and the cylinder or housing (stuffing box bore) within which it reciprocates.  Leak prevention is typically accomplished using a sealing or packing assembly that includes one or more V-shaped rings and a header ring.  The conventional homogeneous rubber header rings suffer from nibbling (pieces of rubber detaching). 

Nibbling is the primary cause of header ring failure within the sealing assembly and leads to volume loss. Header rings that did not include a layer of reinforced elastomeric material had a useful life of only 24 hours of actual pumping in sever applications. When header rings lose volume, they lose their ability to hold the V-rings in a fixed or stationary position, causing the V-rings to shuffle within the stuffing box and wear grooves in the stuffing box bore. This Wash Boarding effect can require expensive weld repair or replacement of the entire Fluid End. Moreover, typical reactive maintenance for re-packing replacement parts in the field takes approximately two hours of equipment downtime at an average cost of US$1,000 per pump.  

Minimizing costly Fluid End replacements can be accomplished by the implementation of the Patented XLH® Header Ring*.  To prevent header ring failure within the sealing assembly and the associated equipment damage, conventional homogeneous rubber header rings are replaced with the Utex Industries XLH® Header Ring* component. As the only patented fabric reinforced header ring in the market today, operators can expect repeatable superior performance, enhanced abrasive and extrusion resistance, more effective plunger wiping, and reduced header ring volume loss.

The XLH® Header Ring* addresses the long-felt need to increase the longevity of packing assemblies by increasing the durability of the header ring component. This “value added” product provides the longest service life out of any well service packing and ultimately lowers the customers total cost of ownership.  Marketed and sold in complete and replacement assemblies, the Patented XLH® Header Ring* represents just another reason why Utex Industries Inc. is a global provider of innovation and excellence. 

To learn more about Utex’s other Fluid End Expendables, click here.

*Patent number 9,534,691

Content brought to you by Robert (Bob) Ash of Utex Industries Inc.