Tips in Avoiding Problems in Gasket Installation

26 February 2018

Just recently, one of our posts talked about gasket impacting influences. Of particular interest, mention was made of UV radiation and the elements. Well, the other notable culprit in that posting was installation error. The seals we talk about here are manufactured according to a stringently imposed set of engineering specs, so they must be installed properly. To do otherwise would be to court disaster.

Alignment Errors 

Geometrically speaking, the two coupling surfaces must align perfectly. If they don’t, then the bolts holes won’t line up. With that said, the two faces could still meet at a slight angle. The holes line up, but now the flanges don’t evenly compress the gasket material. An imperceptible installation error has been introduced. The distance between any two points on the two faces must be consistent all the way around the flange surfaces.

Coupling Preparation Methods 

The flange surfaces must be clean and flat. No pitting can be allowed in the join site, nor can any uneven patches be allowed to exist. If they’re ignored, who’s to say how well the elastomer will compress against the metal faces? Even a seemingly insignificant patch of grime could introduce a narrow gap. Clean the joining surfaces, eliminate pitting and dirt, and inspect the surface finish for any remaining defects.

Managing Bolt Tensioning Issues 

Imagine someone who has no knowledge in this field. The unskilled technician tightens every bolt, one by one, all the way down. The work looks okay, but the poorly applied torque has warped the gasket. To do this job properly, the skilled worker partially bolts each fastener, moving from side to side so that the two faces receive equal compression force. Again and again, this action is repeated. This bolting pattern must be followed. After a predetermined number of hours, apply more torque. Bolts stretch when they’re tightened, so that rest period serves a very important purpose. If the gasket and flange application call upon a sealing compound, apply the paste as directed.

Non-parallelism errors hurt the uniform application of fastener torque. These axial and radial alignment problems must be corrected before the gasket is fitted. Next, and this point is important, the material ring has to fit its provided slot inside the flange zone. Raised flange faces are an essential part of this industry, so do know the required orientation method. Finally, use a torque wrench, a tool that will precisely apply the correct quantity of torque. Used with the aforementioned bolting pattern, the faces will compress that gasket as intended so that no gaps can exist.

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