Tag Archives: gasketing

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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Creating Durable Seals in Glass-Lined Steel Equipment with Gore

A newly developed gasket tape made by Gore – of expanded polytetrafluorethylene (ePTFE) is specifically designed to address the challenges of creating reliable seals in large glass-lined steel equipment.

Equipment made of glass-lined steel is used picture of lining glasswhen manufacturing  or processing aggressive chemicals such as aniline derivatives and sulphuric or hydrochloric acid. The Achilles heel of such systems is the gaskets needed to seal the joints between components. Exposure to aggressive media causes the seals to degrade overtime, resulting in damage to equipment and posing a health risk to operators. Replacing the seals costs a great deal of time and effort, with a corresponding drop in production output.

A newly developed gasket tape made of ePTFE (expanded polytetrafluorethylene) is specifically designed to address the challenges of creating reliable seals in large glass-lined steel equipment.

Operators of chemical plants choose sealing materials according to a wide range of criteria such as process medium, flange type, sealing performance, pressure and heat resistance, cost and longevity. Other important selection criteria include time required for installation and inventory management. And, of course, a plant operations prior gasket experience weighs in as well. Gaskets for glass-lined-steel equipment are safety-relevant parts because their failure can endanger human lives and/or harm the environment, but they are often treated for administrative purposes as C-class items, that is, parts of minor significance.

This classification doesn’t reflect the true importance of these sealants. There is a need for more explicit regulations to supplement the general legislation pertaining to occupational health and safety and the handling of hazardous substances. The introduction of a European-wide regulatory basis for establishing detailed, standard processes would be welcome, for instance with respect to approval procedures and safety. As things stand today, companies are obliged to find their own compromise between varying sets of requirements. These include compliance with EU-wide and national directives concerning environmental protection and occupational health and safety. At the same time, companies are making efforts to augment the reliability of their products, simplify inventory management and installation processes, and reduce downtime and overall costs. An added factor in both cases is specific process requirements with respect to temperature, pressure and media.

SEALING CHALLENGES

One particular challenge is that of choosing the right sealant for glass-lined steel systems, because these involve the use of aggressive media such as aniline derivatives and sulphuric or hydrochloric acid under demanding conditions. Glass-lined steel presents the advantage of being highly resistant to corrosive and/or abrasive media. Other characteristic features of this material are its smooth surface, which is easy to clean due to its low adhesion properties, and its biologic and catalytic inert behaviour. Nonetheless, it can be difficult to achieve reliable seals in glass-lined steel equipment. This is because the glass lining is more brittle than the metal, and can therefore split or splinter if handled incorrectly. As a result, the gasket load that can be applied to the seal is lower than that for an all-steel flange. Consequently, care must be taken to limit the pressure applied when installing gaskets between interconnecting parts of the system.

Another problem is that of achieving a reliable seal if the flange surface is uneven or has surface deviations. Once the glass lining has fused, its surface cannot be reworked. The challenges posed by these characteristics of glass-lined steel, combined with the exposure to aggressive chemicals and high temperatures, must be met by the chosen sealant. In practice, these difficult conditions often lead to premature sealing failure and a greater risk of corrosion. The further consequences of sealing failure include leaks and uncontrolled emissions, damage to equipment, high replacement and repair costs, production losses, unplanned maintenance and downtime, and potential risks to employees’ health and safety.

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Ring-Type vs. Full-Face Gaskets

When sealing raised or flat face flanges, there are two choices of gasket shape: ring-type or full-face.  Each has its own advantages, so you should know which will best suit your application before ordering and installing. First, let’s discuss the types of flanges in which gaskets are installed.

Flange Faces

Different types of flange faces are used as the contact surface to seat the sealing gasket materials.  ASME B16.5 and B16.47 define various types of flange facings, including the raised face, the large male and female facings which have identical dimensions to provide a relatively large contact area.

Raised Face (RF) Flanges

Raised Face FlangesThe Raised Face flange is the most common type used in process plant applications, and is easily to identify. It is referred to as a raised face because the gasket surfaces are raised above the bolting circle face. This face type allows the use of a wide combination of gasket designs, including flat ring sheet types and metallic composites such as spiral wound and double jacketed types.

The purpose of a RF flange is to concentrate more pressure on a smaller gasket area and thereby increase the pressure containment capability of the joint. Diameter and height are in ASME B16.5 defined, by pressure class and diameter. Pressure rating of the flange determines the height of the raised face.

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Gasket Installation Procedures: Best Practices

Brought to you by Thermoseal®

Gasket InstallationThis blog provides guidance to maintenance operators, engineers and fitters to ensure successful gasket installation and assembly of bolted flange connections. However always check plant-approved installation procedures first.

The successful operation of a gasket depends upon a multiplicity of factors including the style and quality of the gasket material, but also the medium being sealed, the flange design, the amount of pressure applied to the gasket by the bolts and how the gasket is assembled onto the flanges and tightened. Very basic causes often lead to leakage in bolted joints, and in most cases, it is not just the gasket but also the human element. Users should evaluate all conditions to validate the products are suitable for the intended process.

Tools Needed

Specific tools are required for cleaning the flange and tensioning the bolts. Always use standard safety equipment and follow good safety practices. The following tools are required for removal of the old gasket and installation of the new gasket:

  • Calibrated torque wrench or hydraulic tensioner
  • Brass wire brush
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Lubricants for the bolts (if specified)
  • Other plant-specified equipment

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Improper Gasketed Joints Can Be Deadly

Gasket FabricationGallagher Fluid Seals is the trusted supplier of MRO sealing materials – including gasketing, packing, expansion joints, etc. – to all kinds of plants and manufacturers throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic.  At Gallagher, we take the time to specify the right gasket for every application, and we do our best to keep our customers well-informed about industry best practices and sealing safety.

The following is an article recently published in Pumps & Systems Magazine, which discusses why you should NEVER reuse a gasket.


Sealing Sense

by Jim Drago & Ron Frisard

Safety is a concern at any industrial site. An Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance specialist has stated that safety should be more than a priority: “Priorities in an organization can and usually do change. Safety and health need to be a core value of the organization.”1

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VIDEO: Installing GORE® Gasket Tape Series 500

A spool of GORE® Gasket Tape Series 500 provides an immediate, cost-effective solution to sealing challenges that demand reliable performance and extended durability. This advanced product, with Gasket Tape Series 500its industry-leading creep resistance, is designed to maximize the operational reliability of large steel-flanged applications, especially those with thermal cycling.

It eliminates the lag time, costs and complexities associated with engineering, specifying, procuring, shipping, storing and installing traditional one-piece prefabricated gaskets.  It also delivers exceptionally reliable sealing performance, while making multiple gasketing installations faster, more cost-effective and simpler.

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How To Choose The Right Semi-Metallic Gasket

semi-metallic gasketThere are many variations of semi-metallic gasket available in today’s market.  The combination of metal and a soft gasket material merges the sealing ability of the soft material with the structural integrity of the metal.

The most common styles of semi-metallic gasket include spiral wound gaskets, corrugated, jacketed, and kammprofile gaskets.

Pumps & Systems magazine outlined the proper way to select a semi-metallic gasket. Read on to learn more:

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GORE® Gasket Tape Gets an Upgrade

GORE® Gasket Tape is a 100% ePTFE form-in-place gasket that delivers worry-free sealing performance for large steel flanges (Series 500) and large glass-lined steel equipment (Series 1000). While this product has a number of advantages, GORE® has now made their gasket tape line even easier to use.


Improved installation-aid adhesive.

GORE® Gasket Tape - New Backer vs. Old BackerGORE® has upgraded the removable adhesive backer on GORE® Gasket Tape Series 500 and Series 1000 to a new higher strength material. This ensures that when the backer is removed at installation, it peels away in one easy-to-remove piece.

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New Video: Environmentally Designed Static Seal Gaskets


 

Gallagher Fluid Seals is proud to present its latest video, on the subject of environmentally designed static seal gaskets.

In the clip below, Brian Gallagher, our key accounts manager, discusses the value of using these gaskets and explains how Gallagher can help customers understand the benefits of using them.

Watch the clip above to learn more about environmentally designed static seal gaskets, and feel free to contact Gallagher Fluid Seals if you have any questions. We’ll be happy to hear from you.

Garlock Sealing Integrity for Chemical Processing Industries

Garlock sealing solutionsPersonal safety is important in every industry, but when sensitive, hazardous or unstable chemicals are involved, the need to protect employees from exposure becomes paramount. The Garlock® family of companies creates sealing solutions that resist the extreme temperatures and corrosive materials of chemical processing environments to deliver unparalleled safety, performance and reliability.

Garlock sealing solutions excel in a variety of chemical processing applications — including pumps, valves, reactors, flange joints, heat exchangers and more — through their tireless dedication to understanding their customers’ specific needs and designing highly engineered products that exceed their expectations.

Never content to rest on past achievements, Garlock’s scientists and engineers are constantly developing new and innovative sealing technologies that change the way the chemical processing industry meets its sealing requirements. By combining advanced technology products with exceptional service and environmental stewardship, Garlock delivers sealing solutions that improve personal safety and plant productivity, reduce costs and comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

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