In the oil, gas and process industry, engineers and technicians must face the problem of maintaining a hermetic seal for a variety of industrial equipment. An example is flanges, which are the most common attachment method of one pipe to another pipe or equipment. Since the parts to be jointed are both rigid, they both must be perfectly machined an aligned. They also must maintain this aligned position during changing service conditions in order to maintain a seal. This can be difficult to achieve given the nature of alloys used in equipment, the fluids to be contained, as well as process variables (such as vibration, temperature variations, wear and chemical compatibility) and cost constraints (man hour maintenance time, cost of products and downtimes).
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