Tag Archives: FSA

FSA Publishes the 8th Edition of the Piping Expansion Joints Handbook

The Piping Expansion Joint Division of the FSA recently completed revisions for the 8th edition of the Piping Handbook, now called the Piping Expansion Joints Technical Handbook. The revised handbook includes a contemporary format with new three-dimensional graphics. The technical content has been expanded and revised to reflect a wider variety of expansion joints and to make the handbook more relevant to the user.

The handbook provides up-to-date compilations of construction standards and guides for specifying and purchasing non-metallic expansion joints and flexible pipe connectors. It is based on the latest information concerning research, design and application of rubber (elastomer) expansion joints by engineers associated with the FSA’s Non-Metallic Expansion Joint Division member companies.

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Compensating for Oxygen Concentration

The air we breathe contains by volume 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and approximately 1% argon. Oxygen concentrations as high as 23% are considered acceptable by OSHA. However, in many areas of industry and medicine where technical or high-purity oxygen is used, oxygen concentrations can exceed 23% and create what is known as “flammable atmosphere,” leading to serious accidents and the inability for workers to self-rescue from hazardous situations when proper care is not taken.

Oxygen is non-flammable, but it is a fire promoter and can accelerate combustion and thus is a hazardous substance. Ignition may be caused by sparking, welding or using electric tools when concentrations rise above 23%. Materials of construction, education and testing go far to prevent these hazards in industrial settings.

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Gasket Installation Best Practices

Gasket failures can be problematic, causing unwanted downtime, revenue loss and safety concerns. Failure analysis shows that up to 85% of all gasket failures are due to faulty user installation, though it is important to note that with proper training and installation procedures, most of these failures are preventable. ASME PCC-1 is a post-construction guideline for pressure boundary bolted flange joint assemblies, and the bulk of gasket manufacturers derive their installation procedures from this guideline. For the end user who does not have an installation procedure, it is a great resource to have; however, the book is more than 99 pages and is not suitable to carry around in the field.

To help with this, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA), in conjunction with the European Sealing Association (ESA), have created a Gasket Installation procedures pocket book (available in nine languages on the FSA and ESA websites (fluidsealing.com, europeansealing.com) to help installers focus on the key points of proper gasket installation. Following is a summary of the six principal areas of focus in sequential order.

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Overview of Multiple Lip Seals

Multiple lip seals are commonly used in centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps. There are many variations, but one version that has been particularly effective is a triple lip seal arrangement. The key feature is the third outboard lip seal element, which can be used for several functions.

Sealed media can be compartmentalized, providing the opportunity to apply any of the API piping plans based on the type of media being sealed. For instance, it can serve as an excluder or a secondary seal in a quench gland design for media that crystallizes or hardens with exposure to ambient temperature and pressure. Unlike a mechanical face seal, there are no rotating parts, and all internal components are not just replaceable, but replaceable on-site by in-house or field maintenance staff.

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FSA Enlightening Industry About Fluid Sealing

People don’t realize how often fluid seals are used in their everyday lives. For many of us, the first thing we do in the morning is brush our teeth. Water flows out of the faucet, which is controlled by a fluid seal. Today, the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) acts as the international trade association responsible for informing and educating the fluid sealing industry and its users.

Founded in 1933, FSA’s member companies are involved in the production and marketing of a wide range of fluid sealing devices primarily targeted to the industrial market. The association’s members account for a majority of the manufacturing capacity when it comes to fluid sealing devices in the Americas market.

Henri Azibert has been serving as FSA’s technical director for three years. With more than 30 years of sealing engineering experience, Azibert is focused on maintaining an association that is productive and vibrant, conducts numerous activities and involves all its members.

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Factors for Successful Emissions-Compliant Valve Stem Seals

Valve seal performance is an important issue with today’s restrictions on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from valves. Refineries and chemical processing plants, valve manufacturers, seal manufacturers, valve repair companies and outage service companies have a vested interest in ensuring that valves operate within emissions-compliance levels. Careful treatment from each of these parties is required to deliver successful, emissions-compliant valve performance.

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FSA Introduces the KnowledgeBase Technical Reference

A key element of the mission statement for the Mechanical Seal division of the FSA states that we intend to be “…the primary source of technical information for our products and their application.” For many years, this objective was partially met through the publication and regular updating of the FSA Mechanical Seal Handbook.

For many who have relied on this FSA handbook for technical guidance on mechanical seals and support systems, changes in technology and user behaviors have caused their preferred source of reference material to shift from printed hardcopy materials to searchable online content. Therefore, we have spent the last few years converting FSA’s mechanical seal technical documentation into a format that is conducive to self-instruction by online users. This content has been developed, reviewed and vetted by representatives of the leading mechanical seals manufacturers and is considered to be representative of generally accepted best design practices for the industry.

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Improper Gasketed Joints Can Be Deadly

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

Safety can be a case of values versus priorities. When it comes to sealing devices, perceived dangers sometimes are overlooked. The case of an explosion at a refinery in Anacortes, Washington, shows how deadly accidents can occur when safety risks are distorted.

A heat exchanger, known as E-6600E, catastrophically ruptured at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes on April 2, 2010. Highly flammable hydrogen and naphtha at more than 500 degrees F were released from the ruptured heat exchanger and ignited, causing an explosion and an intense fire that burned for more than three hours.

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Back to Basics: Expansion Joints

Many members of the Fluid Sealing Association (FSA) Non-Metallic Expansion Joint Division and of the Expansion Joint Manufacturers Association (EJMA) feel that expansion joints are the forgotten components of many piping systems. Other piping systems components – flanges, gaskets, strainers, valves, pumps and the pipe itself – seem to get most of the design time.

In many ways, expansion joints are the most important components of a well-designed piping system. They are the “living and breathing” dynamic part of the whole system.

Without well-designed and well-placed expansion joints, parts such as pump nozzles, valve bodies and pipe anchors could face excessive loading and vibrational fatigue. Without proper compensation, thermal growth at elevated temperatures can damage some pipes, reducing their operation life.

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Back to Basics: Semi-Metallic Gaskets

This is the second of two articles in this “Back to Basics” series that discusses gasketing. While the first article was on soft gaskets, this article will focus on semi-metallic gaskets.

Many variations of semi-metallic gaskets are available. In general, the combination of metal and a soft material merges the structural integrity of the metal with the sealing ability of the soft material. Common variations include corrugated, jacketed, kammprofile and spiral-wound gaskets.

Corrugated gaskets consist of a thin metal that is corrugated or embossed with concentric rings and faced with a soft material such as flexible graphite.

Corrugated gaskets use the substrate’s geometry to achieve conformability to flange irregularities and promote recovery over the life of the seal; they are essentially a line contact seal.

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