It is a fact of life that in many facilities sealing costs are higher than they need to be due to the plethora of materials and products used. Standardizing the gasket material used in a facility is one way to reduce costs by simplifying the processes related to the procurement, maintenance, and inventorying of gaskets and seals.

Mechanical seals, gaskets, O-rings, and packing can constitute a significant portion of a facility’s spend on sealing products. With respect to gaskets, the proliferation of different materials and the applications they serve has led to complexity in the gasket selection and procurement process. These costs involve the costs of gasket testing, evaluation and selection, procurement, inventory carrying and management, and installation.

It is important to note that gasket standardization reduces the total lifetime cost for sealing a joint, and not just the initial acquisition cost. It is this focus on reducing the total lifetime cost across a wide variety of material types that produces the significant annual savings achievable through gasket standardization.

Reducing sealing costs requires reducing complexity by standardizing on a small set of gasket materials. The focus of gasket standardization should not be to reduce the amount of materials used, but rather should concentrate on identifying and adopting the smallest possible set of materials that will cover the majority of a facility’s sealing needs. While there is no single material that will likely meet all of a facility’s sealing needs, the variety of materials used can often be reduced significantly.

An area where many facilities can most readily pursue gasket standardization is with the piping network used to transfer fluids and gases throughout a production system. The piping network used throughout a facility’s production system often comprises the majority of that facility’s gasket needs. It is usually easier to standardize the gasket materials used for piping than to standardize the materials used for process equipment. This is because pipe flanges are much more standardized in size than equipment flanges, and equipment applications themselves are much more variable and less uniform than piping networks and systems.

To begin applying gasket standardization to a piping network, first conduct a review of the types of piping present in your facility. Determine the types of piping present (i.e., steel piping, fibreglass reinforced, etc.) in the network and the number of flanges present. Then, for each type of piping, identify the gasket materials currently being used. From there, identify opportunities for reducing the number of materials that are used. The key is to select the preferred type of material for each type of piping within the network and to seek opportunities where common materials may be used across different types. This may require a consideration of critical process variables, such as temperatures and pressures, using suitable cut-off points.

Finally, seek and enlist the wisdom and guidance of an experienced gasket supplier such as CRG. With their extensive knowledge of materials and applications, an experienced supplier can help identify opportunities for gasket standardization and expedite the process, resulting in accelerated cost savings.

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can reduce your costs through gasket standardization, or find out more about CRG sealing products and services, our sales team will be pleased to speak with you. To find out more, please contact CRG at crg@canadarubbergroup.com.

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