Users at some point in their gasketing careers will have to consider alternative gaskets (styles and/or manufacturers) to replace those currently approved and installed at their facilities.
Before they can evaluate the gaskets, they must ask, “Why do I need or want to change my gaskets?” The answers will vary depending on the person, department, facility and corporate environment.
One individual’s specific “why” may be different from another’s within the same company, even if they have access to the same information. But only once the “why” has been established can the “what” to change be considered.
It has become clear in our industrial world that the outsourcing of many traditionally internal tasks is common practice. Facility maintenance and management professionals have been at the leading edge of this activity in order to conform to budget cuts and staffing freezes, and to improve upon overall productivity and effectiveness within their organization. It would be fair to say that there are a plethora of stories and case studies that exist regarding the effectiveness of such practices but this information is typically vague and almost definitely not focused on the sealing and containment devices category of maintenance products.
There are enormous benefits from outsourcing maintenance activity. Outsourcing in general allows for more flexibility with the overall maintenance budget as activities and services can be pieced out based on the value to the organization and the available internal expertise. Outsourcing also provides significant benefits for highly engineered products like controls valves, pumps, and heat exchangers where an OEM service contractor can step in and provide the detailed knowledge directly from the OEM and from other familiar applications.
Many associations, societies and regulatory agencies have rewritten and redeveloped emissions and leakage standards and controls year after year. When the process rules are changed, manufacturers of seals, packing and gaskets are forced to implement changes as well. The manufacturers either produce seals that are better suited to handle the new regulations or they drop out of the market. These changes affect the way end users must look at the quality of flexible graphite and its ability to seal. Click here to read more.
The purpose of surface finish is to allow a gasket to conform to and seal the flange face. Ensuring that the choice of gasket and surface finish work together to maintain the appropriate level of sealing stress on the gasket is important. Click here to read an article that identifies some of the typical damage that occurs to a flange face, what the effect is, and discusses a way to identify the practical limits for them.