Three key steps to follow for preventing gasket failures

How proactive is your company in preventing gasket failures? Is the emphasis on understanding why a gasket failed, or is it on finding someone or something to blame?

When we experience a gasket failure, we tend to blame something or someone far too often. Whenever a gasket fails unexpectedly, that something or someone tends to be the manufacturer from whom the gasket was purchased.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While manufacturing errors can happen, they are usually not the main cause of gasket failures. Studies have been done which show that over 80 per cent of all gasket failures are due to improper installation of the gasket. These studies covered a diverse range of industries, pipe systems, installation procedures, flange conditions, media, and other factors. In the other 20 per cent of failures studied, 12 per cent of these failures were due to the incorrect type of gasket being recommended for the application at hand.  The conclusion is inescapable: improving the gasket installation process can help in preventing gasket failures.

Preventing gasket failures means following three simple steps. They are:

  1. Always install a gasket using a properly calibrated torque wrench. All good gasket manufacturers can provide a torque table showing the optimal torque values for each style of gasket. Each type of gasket material has its own unique torque values, and the specified torque value should be implemented equally, in increments of one-third at a time. You can find more information on how to correctly install and torque a new gasket in our blog The Correct Procedure for Gasket Installation.
  2. Always use high-quality bolts and washers. Investing in high-quality bolts and washers can greatly help in preventing gasket failures. Bolts of high-grade quality are made from alloys which posses a high-yield and tensile strength. This allows the bolt to stretch sufficiently, so as to allow for gasket relaxation. In addition, high-quality bolts and washers are better able to maintain their integrity under the stresses of operating conditions. For most applications, the material of the stud should comply with ASTM specification A193-B7.
  3. Purchase and use a high-grade lubricant for all fasteners. Typically, a higher-grade of anti-seize lubricating compound which contains a high volume of copper or nickel is most suitable. Ensure the lubricant is applied liberally and evenly on both the bolt and nut threads, taking care not to contaminate the gasket being installed.

By following these three steps you can dramatically reduce the incidence of gasket failures by about 80 per cent. Equally important, you can move your organization to become much more proactive about preventing gasket failures.

Purchasing high-quality gaskets from a reliable manufacturer that has the experience and the expertise to recommend the correct gasket for your application is another major step you can take in preventing gasket failures. Therefore, by purchasing the right gasket and installing it correctly, you can reduce the incidence of gasket failures in your facility by about 92 per cent.

The key to preventing gasket failures lies within every facility or equipment managers’ hands. The next time a gasket fails, take time to think about whether you have successfully followed the points outlined in this blog!

CRGI fabricates precision cut, high-quality, gaskets from premium sheet materials. We can custom manufacture gaskets from prototype and no order is too big or too small – we are equipped to handle mass production runs or small-lot orders equally well, and can provide rapid turnaround on urgent needs or emergency service. To find out how we can service your gasket needs, contact our sales department today at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

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