The Dreaded Gasket Blowout Call
Have you ever received the dreaded 2 a.m. call from plant staff saying that things are at a standstill – production is down?
You arrive at the plant, walk through the parking lot, coffee in hand, and head to the locker room. When you come out on to the plant floor, there are several people staring at you with a look of panic on their faces as steam or process chemical sprays from a pipe flange.
You think to yourself “didn’t we just replace that gasket?”, or perhaps “we should have replaced it during the last shutdown but chose not to because of time constraints or cost cutting.”
If this scenario is new to you, you are lucky and you can go back to sleep… the 2 a.m. call was a wrong number. If it’s not new to you, this means you are most likely a Plant Supervisor, Maintenance Manager or Plant Personnel in some capacity.
Roll up your sleeves, grab your torque wrench and let’s get to work!
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, “How long will my gasket last?” I would be a rich man. As you can probably guess, “How long will my gasket last?” is a loaded question to which the practical, factual, and political answer is… an Application Engineer’s nightmare!
A gasket may last 5 years, or it could last 20 years. I cannot give you an exact date or lifespan of a gasket; however I can give you some insight into factors that will give your gasket the best chance at a long and prosperous life between the flanges.