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The Importance Of The Pump Lantern Ring

Pump Lantern Ring | KB Delta

Despite its simplistic look, the lantern ring is an integral part of a pumps compressor unit. Situated in the stuffing box of an engine and often also found in gate valves, the pump lantern ring serves many purposes simultaneously, while the system is in operation.

To truly understand how important the pump lantern ring is, it’s necessary to know how the structure around it works too.

The Stuffing Box

The stuffing box is the name given to the whole section which houses the seal around the compressors piston rod, preserving the barrier between the inner and outer parts of the sealed compressor, while allowing the shaft to move through the casing. A common example of this is in the hull of a boat, whereby the engine needs to be connected to the propeller in a way that allows movement and prevents leakage.

Within the stuffing box, a lantern ring is the simple circular component, which moves along the compressor piston’s shaft to maintain the seal. By surrounding the lantern ring with the packing, a tight seal can be maintained within the compressor unit, and this collective part is commonly known as the gland.

As there are many different applications for compressors and pumps in general, there are also many variations within this design. The function of the stuffing box and the lantern ring within all of these designs remains the same throughout, to not only provide a more efficient output from the machine but also to prevent contaminants, abrasives and chemicals from entering the system.


What Is The Purpose Of A Pump Lantern Ring

Within the workings of a compressor pump, the ring lantern has one of the most important roles, as it simultaneously serves several different purposes. The importance of the pump lantern ring is also increased by the fact that the most common cause of pump failure is damage to the pump shaft and the shaft bearings. This means that the quality and efficiency of the lantern ring is integral to the overall functionality of the whole system.

Another main advantage is that the lantern ring is designed for to add lubrication into the contact points to reduce friction. This again helps to reduce the wear on the machine parts and also helps to protect against corrosion and reduces the amount of excess heat generated within the system.  Some lantern ring designs also distribute water into this part of the machine, which again further regulates the temperature by dispersing the heat created.

An equally important purpose of the lantern ring is the increased running time that it allows the system to be operational. The lantern ring not only provides greater durability, but the ease with which the mechanics can also be maintained means that servicing and repairs can be completed much quicker.


Protecting The Protection

Although the stuffing box provides the system with a more robust nature, it is, in essence, a part of the machine that needs to be taken particular care of. There are many factors which can disrupt the integrity of the seal, and like any moving parts within a machine, continual use will eventually have an affect on them. From ensuring that there’s a plentiful supply of lubrication running through the machine as well as the amount of coolant in the system, great care especially needs to be taken in setting up the equipment correctly. With a range of different packing solutions available on the market and a host of suppliers and manufacturers who can create bespoke designs to fit your needs, there’s a potential solution for any demand that you may have.  However, this counts for very little if the components are fitted incorrectly, something which not only reduces the effectiveness of the system but could cause a lot of harm to the whole machine.

Because of this, it’s imperative that the maintenance of these systems is carried out by trained engineers who understand the nature of what they’re working with. A small extra cost in this area can prevent a huge expense in the event of a critical failure being caused by negligence.

With the wealth of choices that are available for the components today, one factor is of particular importance to the functionality of the pumps ring lantern.

The Material Option

The type of material used in producing the component is arguably the single most important consideration within the choice of a lantern ring. With materials ranging from flexible PTFE plastic or Teflon as it’s commonly known, best suited for hygiene-critical applications such as food manufacture, graphite for its added lubrication characteristic, to non-reactive metals such as bronze chosen for their robust and high durability, there’s many different options available. Each of these materials has their own relative merits that make them suited for particular functions and tasks. Some factors that need to be taken into consideration when choosing the optimum material include:

  • If the system needs to operate in a water-tight or air-tight environment
  • The type of lubricant which will be used
  • Pressure demands of the system
  • Flexibility
  • Abrasiveness and hard-wearing qualities
  • Reactive nature of the materials in contact
  • Hygienic considerations
  • Operating temperatures
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Financial restrictions

With so many material options available and so many factors governing which material is best suited for the purpose, taking as much advice as possible from impartial experts within the industry is always recommended to keep up-to-date with the shifting trends and new materials on offer.

Further Design Features

With such a simple design, the pump lantern ring is unlikely to undergo any revolutionary design enhancements at any point in the near future. Likewise with the stuffing box, this may evolve some new variations that lend it to newer applications. The current design works to a high standard already.

The types of materials that are used within the components, such as the lantern ring, can potentially further extend the lifespan of the component and the system as a whole.

As the lantern ring represents the weakest point of the system, increased strength in this area will allow for further applications and increased financial benefits to businesses and individuals alike.


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