Decommissioning our first high pressure rotary seal test fixture

We like to take the time to celebrate life’s milestones when circumstances provide an opportunity. Today we are posting pictures to celebrate the decommissioning of our first high pressure rotary seal tester, after a long and useful service life of 37 years. Although still operational in 2018, this versatile old belt-driven fixture is being replaced with a more compact fixture that utilizes a right-angle drive. The pictures below show a few of the many different adaptations of the fixture over the years.

The replacement fixture is similar to the fixture for testing full-scale RCD seals that is described in our June 20, 2016 blog. These two test fixtures will enable us to perform tests of high pressure rotary shaft seals that are directed at improving RCD, hydraulic swivel, washpipe, and high pressure swivel performance.

Kalsi Engineering’s first high-pressure rotary seal test fixture
Kalsi Engineering’s first high-pressure rotary seal test fixture, after being retired and rolled into the yard for recycling in the spring of 2018. The original fixture was designed by Daniel Alvarez (left) and Dr. M.S. Kalsi (right) in 1980, and it was assembled in 1981. Since its original configuration (shown below), it has been reincarnated in many different forms, with each re-incarnation being belt driven by the original 1981 electric motor. The frame has been used right-side up, upside-down, on stilts, and with various adapters and gadgets bolted to it over the years. We estimate that this basic fixture has been used as the frame and prime mover for over 30 different test configurations. In its most recent configuration, the belt driven vertical drive shaft shown here rotated a high-pressure seal test fixture (not shown) that mounted on the horizontal plate.


High-pressure rotary seal tester drawing
This is Mr. Alvarez’s February 28, 1980 drawing of the frame for our first high-pressure rotary seal tester.


High-pressure rotary seal tester assembly
Our first high-pressure rotary seal tester became operational in 1981. Here, Daniel Alvarez (left) and Dr. M.S. Kalsi (right) have completed assembly of the drive mechanism, and are just beginning to assemble the driven part of the fixture. The laboratory was a rented storefront that was located across the parking lot from our office building.


Kalsi Engineering original high-pressure vessel
In this 1981 photo, the original high-pressure vessel is mounted on the test frame. In this initial configuration, the fixture was used to verify the high-pressure performance of an antecedent to the Kalsi-brand rotary shaft seal product line. During the 1980s, the pressure vessel was adapted to a wide range of seal test configurations and operating conditions. The knowledge gained during this intense period of R&D testing eventually led to the first commercially successful Kalsi Seal product lines.


High-pressure vessel testing radial and thrust bearings
In this photo, the fixture has been temporarily converted to test radial and thrust bearings. The drive arrangement and mounting platform for the green bearing tester would later be used to support and drive an extreme high-pressure rotary seal tester.


Extreme high-pressure rotary seal test fixture
In this 2014 photo, the platform and vertical drive mechanism that was developed to be used with a radial bearing test fixture is being used with an extreme high-pressure rotary seal test fixture incorporating an early version of our patented floating backup rings. We used this arrangement to test our Plastic Lined Seals™ at 7,500 psi for 1,000 hours.