Felipe Mues
President and Managing Director
View from the Top

Sealing Solutions Are the Dedrock of Succesful Operations

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:28

Q: What companies is Garlock working with and what opportunities are you excited about?
A: We have renewed our contracts with some of the country’s main mining groups, along with other important clients. We want to focus on power transmission products, which are critical in mining. Likewise, we have developed technology to increase the life of bearings in mines. We are actively promoting these new products.
Mining environments are full of aggressive elements, like dust slurries and chemicals. Our focus is on delivering solutions for bearing protection in dynamic equipment, sealing pumps and flange sealing control; additionally, we specialize in protection for equipment like VFD Driven motors and jukeless trucks.
We want to increase awareness among our customers about the benefits of bearing isolators known as noncontact seals over older products like lip seals, as the new bearing isolators products improve cycle time, reliability and energy savings.
Q: What benefits do noncontact seals provide?
A: Lip seals are static, so the machine’s shaft, as it rotates, produces friction against the rubber lip seal  and, consequently, heats them; as temperature increases, the rubber material hardens, this hardness damages the shaft, and if there is dust or water in the environment, a door is opened to pollutants in critical parts of the machine. Remember a single drop of water in the bearing house can decrease the life of bearings by 40 percent. Noncontact bearing isolator seals such ISO Gard® and Guardian® eliminate this and other hazards. Also, they save power because friction is eliminated. This technology is named zero contact, since the rotor of the seal turns with the shaft connected to the ID Oring of the seal. In fact, we have the capacity to conduct analyses based on our clients’ needs and let them know how much money, in kilowatts per hour, they would save if they implement the new technology we offer.
Q: You mentioned last year you were working on introducing GPA seals more thoroughly in the Mexican market. Is that still a focus?
A: These seals are good because they do not require a flush and minimize the overall operating cost. They are designed to eliminate the risk of clogging, which leads to seal failure. But this year, we have seen investment contraction. The implementation of GPA seals requires a period of time for it to bear fruits. We have seen hesitancy in the mining industry, especially concerning big projects. At the moment, we are focusing on generating short-term benefits for our customers. The Mexican industry is experiencing a period of economic uncertainty and companies are reluctant to go for new solutions in the short term.
Q: Is there a particular product in Garlock’s portfolio that is more in demand than before?
A: Our most popular products are gaskets and compression packing. We are now focusing more on metal and elastomeric expansion joints. These products have seen an increase in demand lately. Other products that traditionally are needed in the mining industry are static sealing, Garlock has patented a new technology called multi-swell® 3760, a gasket material focused on seal highly effective oil and water applications. This technology is able to produce its own compression load and may alleviate issues found in some equipment where there is not enough clamping force to create the proper gasket compression, thus resulting in oil leaks.
Q: In a time of uncertainty and lower investments, how does Garlock maintain the highest quality?
A: From all the gaskets Garlock provides worldwide, 70 percent are proudly produced in Mexico. This country is known for its manufacturing capacities, based on skilled labor and competitive costs. Being in Mexico allows us to deliver in the shortest possible time. In addition, our rapid response capacity is due to the alliances we have built with distributors within the mine and with mining companies.