Category Archives: gasket

The Lifespan of a Gasket

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.

Prognosis……gasket blowout.

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!

Gasket Lifespan

Picture of NSF Compliant GasketsIf 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.

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Fried Snack Foods and GYLON® Style 3504 Gasket

Fried Snack Foods and GYLON® Style 3504 Gasket

The GYLON Style 3504 gasket is made of PTFE with aluminosilicate microspheres. It is designed for use in moderate concentrations of acids, caustics, hydrocarbons, refrigerants, and more.

It provides a tight seal, improved performance over conventional PTFE, reduced product loss and emissions, reduced creep relaxtion, excellent bolt torque retention, it doesn’t burn, will not support bacterial growth, plus many more benefits.

INDUSTRY

Food Processing – Fried Snack Foods

CUSTOMER

A major diversified food & beverage manufacturer, with facilities located in all regions across the globe.

BACKGROUND

The customer had persistent problems when sealing hot oil applications on its bulk snack food fryers across several production sites. Build-up of polymerised vegetable oil on the flanges caused unsightly mess, maintenance complications, financial implications, and posed a significant fire risk.

CHALLENGES FACED

As well as ensuring that the sealing material was compliant to FDA and EN1935 standards, the challenge was to ensure that the gaskets would perform well under the difficult conditions presented by the high oil temperatures. Additionally, because the production line was also subject to regular and aggressive cleaning cycles, the gasket material was required to be compatible with other aggressive chemicals across a broad pH range.

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Water Regulations and NSF 61 Compliant Elastomers

Replacing Aging Water Infrastructure With NSF Compliant Materials

There are over 155,000 public water systems in the United States and more than 286 million Americans who rely on community water systems daily.  Since most of the infrastructure was built between the early 1900’s and 1960 using outdated technology/products and capabilities, nearly everything is approaching the natural end of it’s lifespan.

Some estimates put the repairs and replacement of thePicture of NSF Compliant Gaskets infrastructure between $250B and $500B over the next 20-30 years. Several applications will need to be updated or fully replaced for the safety of consumers and quality of delivery, including:

  • Joining and sealing materials
  • Mechanical devices
  • Pipes or related products
  • Process media
  • Plumbing devices
  • Non-metallic potable water materials
  • Hydrants
  • and Public drinking water distribution (tanks and reservoirs, maters, individual components)

Joining and Sealing Materials

When these systems were being constructed and assembled decades ago, there were limited regulations and requirements that needed to be met. Gaskets, at least the traditional ones, were often made in two different ways: (1) Red Rubber (ASTM D1330 Grade 1 &2) with compressed non-asbestos or (2) cloth-inserted rubber with compressed asbestos.

However, today’s acceptable gasket requirements for the potable water industry differ greatly from those in the past. Gaskets have strict guidelines to abide by and must be:

  • Chemically resistant
  • NSF compliant
  • Food grade compliant
  • Electrically isolating

Because of the need for health and safety, the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) was created in order to establish minimum requirements for the control of potential adverse human health effects from products that contact drinking water. In addition to gaskets, the NSF covers a variety of products and parts relevant to the water industry, including: pipes, hoses, fittings, cements, coatings, gaskets, adhesives, lubricants, media, water meters, valves, filters, faucets, fountains, and more.

So you might ask – why does the NSF require different materials and regulations for gaskets compared to years ago?

First things first – leaks are a major issue with the aging infrastructure. Improperly placed gaskets & seals or faulty products can cause leaks. This in turn could pose health risks to people drinking potable water or using products processed with potable water.

Additionally, the treatment process and chemicals utilized are Picture of NSF 61 Compliant Sealsdifferent from previous “standard” products. For example, research and testing over many years has concluded that traditional gaskets, which were used many years ago, could pose a safety threat to those drinking water processed with specific materials. This led to updated regulations for NSF 61’s drinking water system components.

Lastly, engineered sealing solutions are more important than ever. There’s a wide variety of custom engineered water systems throughout the U.S. – climate, geographic terrain, and the needs of the community are all reasons for why water infrastructure is so unique. Because of this, custom gaskets, seals, and other products are needed to supplement those systems.

Luckily there are many companies dedicated to providing the highest quality NSF 61 products. These trusted brands have proven materials to count-on when replacing or repairing water infrastructure:

Garlock’s NSF 61 Family of products

Parker’s NSF compliant products

Freudenberg’s new generation of NSF products

For more information on how Gallagher Fluid Seals’s engineers can help you with a custom solution, call us at 800.822.4063

FDA Standards Key to Proper Gasket Selection

Food and beverage producers rely on a wide array of equipment to ensure their products are safe and free of contamination. Sealing devices such as gaskets are key components in this equipment, yet do not receive the attention they warrant given the critical importance of their function.

Gasket Selection - PTFE
PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) Molecule

PTFE-based and elastomeric seals have for decades been the products of choice for food and beverage applications. The two most commonly referenced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for sealing products are found in the Code of Federal Regulations under Title 21 (Food and Drugs), part 177 (Indirect Food Additives: Polymers). Section 177.1550 focuses on perfluorocarbons such as PTFE- based products, and Section 177.2600 deals with rubber articles intended for repeated use.

These two standards specify which ingredients used in the production of sealing products are acceptable for applications where contact with food products can occur, as well as how much of the approved ingredients can be released from the polymer/elastomer when extracted with specific media — i.e. water, hexane, etc. — under specified testing conditions.

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S.T.A.M.P. Gasket Selection Criteria

GasketWe recently updated our Gasketing webpages to provide our customers with much more robust product information, to help you along your journey of finding the right gasket for your application.  Visit our Non-Asbestos, Metal, Elastomeric, or ePTFE Gasket Tape pages to learn more.


S.T.A.M.P.

When you’re specifying a gasket for even the simplest application, it is important that the gasket supplier know all the operating parameters.

There are five major pieces of information needed to select the appropriate gasket, known by the acronym S.T.A.M.P.:

Gasket - Raised Face FlangeSize:

While gaskets are most often used in standard ANSI flange connections, non-standard flanges can also be found throughout a plant.  In dealing with non-standard flanges, it is VERY important to obtain as much detail as possible about the contact dimensions (the portion of the gasket actually being compressed) and the fasteners or bolts being used (size, grade, quantity). This information is used to calculate the contact area and available assembly stress – a key factor in the selection process, as an improperly loaded gasket could result in premature equipment failure.

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Ultra Low Emissions with the FLEXSEAL® ULE

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low EmissionsGarlock has expanded their Ultra Low Emissions family of products to include a spiral wound gasket. The FLEXSEAL® ULE is designed for use where leakage control is critical and the aggressive application requires a spiral wound design. It’s manufactured using high performance graphite, and offers maximum protection against oxidation. The standard design includes an inner ring and outer ring, as well as preformed metal wire to enhance compressibility and sealability. The FLEXSEAL® ULE spiral wound is another product born from Garlock’s customer driven innovation.

Values & Benefits

  • API 6FB
    • Average leak rate recorded of 1.4 ml/min
  • Low Emissions (CFET)
    • Provides average leakage rates of 10 PPM (parts per million)
  • Oxidation Resistance
    • Offers maximum protection against oxidation for greater reliability and longer service life
    • No aging or fatigue under dynamic load, even at elevated
      temperatures
  • Manufacturability
    • Available in standard lead-time

Garlock FLEXSEAL® ULE - Ultra Low Emissions

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GYLON EPIX™ Distributes Load Evenly

GYLON EPIX™ is a newly developed family of PTFE gaskets. It is manufactured using a patented, profiled surface based on our proven Fawn, Off-White, and Blue GYLON® to create highly conformable materials for optimum sealing performance.

THE EPIX™ DIFFERENCE

GYLON EPIX™ and a traditional full face gasket were installed in a 3”-150# flat face flange at 120 ft.lbs. with pressure sensitive film.  The film revealed that the traditional material saw heavier loading-near and around the bolts, and lighter loading at the points furthest from the bolts. The GYLON EPIX™ was able to distribute the load more evenly and prevent the low loading phenomenon.

GYLON EPIX™ with Pressure Sensitive Film

The pressure sensitive film was then analyzed with special software that translate the various shades of red into a full color spectrum that provides a better visualization of the stresses that were developed on each of the gaskets. Again, while the traditional gasket saw areas of lower stress (green and blue areas), the hexagonal pattern in the GYLON EPIX™ concentrated and distributed the stress more evenly across the entire gasket.

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Case Study: Copper Mining Leakage Issues

GYLON EPIX™ 3504 EPXGYLON EPIX™ is a family of gaskets that effectively seals a broader range of applications and is more forgiving during the installation process.  It allows the end user to save valuable turn-around time, reduce re-work, and lower costs, helping them to finish ahead of schedule and under budget.

GYLON EPIX™ features a hexagonal surface profile that provides the torque retention and blowout resistance of a thin gasket and the conformability of a thicker gasket.  GYLON EPIX™ Style 3504 EPX is a high performance, aluminosilicate microsphere filled PTFE sheet material designed for use in moderate concentrations of acids, and caustics, as well as hydrocarbons, refrigerants, and more.


INDUSTRY

Mining

CUSTOMER

Copper Mine

BACKGROUND

Customer reported problems with continuous leaks that required ongoing maintenance and attention taking manpower and resources away from other critical operations for the plant.

Continue reading Case Study: Copper Mining Leakage Issues