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Packing Selection Guidance at Your Fingertips

Pumps & Operations

Packing Selection Guidance at Your Fingertips

By Chuck Tanner, SEPCO

Compression packing is the oldest and most common sealing device used to prevent product leakage and to extend the life of pumps, valves, and other rotating equipment. Following the passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act), along with more stringent requirements on plant water usage and effluent discharge, expectations about packing’s role in leak prevention and water conservation changed. The packing industry responded by experimenting with exotic fiber materials such as:

  • PTFE
  • Graphite
  • Carbon
  • GFO® (a registered trademark of W.L. Gore)

These new materials allowed suppliers to create packing that complied with the more stringent water usage standards. However, much of the packing was also able to withstand higher temperatures, faster shaft speeds, and wider pH ranges.


This carbon fiber compression packing, for pump stuffing boxes, is treated with a PTFE blocking agent for increased sealing and to help prevent color contamination and filament migration.

The diverse availability of fibers and fiber treatments were beneficial to the industries served by packing suppliers. However, even today, the many choices often overwhelm end users who must make the best choice for the industry and the application.

While our experts are always willing to help and discuss the options, they have also developed the Compression Packing Selection Guide to answer some of the questions. This booklet provides guidance on selection criteria:

  • pH level
  • Shaft speed
  • Operating temperature

Other variables to consider will also be discussed. These include:

  • The equipment’s condition
  • Availability of flush water
  • Budget

In addition, the common packing styles that are used in the process industries are detailed. Then a quick fiber guide is included that allows end users to see a side-by-side comparison of organic and synthetic packing fibers.

SEPCOFor more on compression packing selection, download your copy of the Compression Packing Selection Guide today.

Chuck Tanner is director of market development for Sealing Equipment Products Co., Inc. (SEPCO). He has more than 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry and has been with SEPCO for 27 years. For more information, visit


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