Gaskets are a critical part of any program for reducing unplanned equipment downtime and extending equipment life. Unplanned downtime and shortened equipment life are the main drivers of higher maintenance and capital equipment costs within companies. Unplanned downtime results in reduced equipment availability, leading to lost throughput and increased consumption of maintenance resources. At the same time, higher wear and tear on equipment reduces its lifespan, leading to more frequent replacement of capital assets. Addressing the root causes of unplanned downtime and shortened equipment life can significantly reduce costs and increase profitability.

Gaskets, Unplanned Downtime and Equipment Life Expectancy

A major cause of unplanned equipment downtime is lack of lubrication. Often, this is due to losing lubricating fluids through faulty gaskets and seals. Choosing the right gasket for equipment lubricating systems, and then ensuring that seal integrity is preserved through regular and frequent inspections, can drastically reduce unplanned downtime due to loss of lubricating fluids.

When lubricating fluids are lost, equipment is also subjected to higher wear and tear. Reduced lubrication results in greater friction and stresses on moving parts, wearing them out before the end of their expected useful life. Once again, choosing the right gasket and ensuring seal integrity can help prevent premature wear and tear.

An often overlooked function of gaskets is that they protect equipment from their operating environment. Gaskets not only contain the media moving through equipment, they also serve to protect equipment from wash down contaminants, dust, vibration and shock, and electrostatic discharge and interference. These factors have important consequences for both equipment designers and equipment users.

Gaskets: Considerations for Equipment Designers and Users

Equipment designers should consider the application, expected operating environment, and mechanical factors (such as housing rigidity, gasket thickness and compression limits, and fastener patterns) when selecting gaskets and seals for designed equipment. This will help ensure that the right sealing materials are chosen, and that the gaskets and seals are manufactured to specifications which will allow the equipment to perform optimally once in service.

Equipment users should ensure that replacement gaskets and seals installed onto equipment follows the recommended specifications provided by the OEM. This will help to reduce and prevent the occurrence of equipment failures due to faulty gaskets and seals, thereby extending the useful life of the equipment.

Canada Rubber Group Inc. works with both equipment designers and users to provide high-quality gasket and sealing solutions. We stock a wide range of materials with which to produce both standard and custom fabricated gaskets and seals, including the Teadit line of gasket materials and compression packing for industrial fluid sealing applications. To find out more about how we can help you with your gasket and sealing needs, contact our sales department at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

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