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Advances in gasket designs making progress

08.01.2014  |  Bloch, H. P.,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, 

Keywords: [gasket] [heat exchanger] [maintenance] [gaskets] [metallic gasket] [spiral wound gasket]

Long service life and maintenance cost avoidance for equipment are of great interest to reliability professionals in the hydrocarbon processing industry. These goals are supported by a renowned gasket manufacturer with over 100 years of industrial experience. Fig. 1 illustrates the many available gasket cross-sections and recommended flange finishes now available.

  Fig. 1. Gasket cross-sections and
  recommended flange finishes.
  Source: Flexitallic LP, Deer Park, Texas.

Innovations from 2014 AFPM Maintenance conference

This manufacturer’s recent innovation, the “Change Gasket,” which probably is a play on the terms Heat Exchanger and Change of Design, caught considerable attention in the wider context of advancing technology improvements. The company’s metal-wound Change Heat Exchanger Gasket uses an unusually thick metal spiral and full-penetration laser-welding processes. Extensive and rigorous testing shows that its useful life exceeds that of virtually any other heat-exchanger gasket. This gasket requires no inner and outer ring. More important, it is as easy to handle and install as a double-jacketed gasket. Fig. 2 illustrates the performance under pressure/thermal cycle testing for various gaskets.

  Fig. 2. Across a 24-day, 24-repeats 
  pressure/thermal cycle test replicating severe
  industrial conditions, the Change Gasket
  outperformed every other gasket in the
  remaining available cycles.
  Source: Flexitallic LP, Deer Park, Texas.

The physical properties and performance of a gasket will vary extensively, depending on the type of gasket selected and the material from which it is manufactured. In all instances, staying abreast of new developments and working closely with experienced gasket manufacturers will pay rich dividends in failure avoidance and maintenance cost reductions.

Beware of false economy

Quality products are generally priced a little higher than inferior products. Components and machines cannot both be less expensive and technically superior to all competitors. Selection criteria include a number of features and attributes such as service and warranties—all are of interest to serious reliability professionals. A “cheap and superior” supplier would corner the market and have no competition. This is a fact that we should not forget. Also, consider a recent law case involving hydrogen sulfide leaking from a reciprocating compressor distance piece. While the legal wrangling centered on the packing ring finish and rod straightness, we were certain that a re-used packing gland gasket was the real cause for the leak. So, to a reliability professional, least-risk practices always win over low-initial cost. HP

The author
Heinz P. Bloch resides in Westminster, Colorado. His professional career commenced in 1962 and included long-term assignments as Exxon Chemical’s regional machinery specialist for the US. He has authored over 600 publications, among them 18 comprehensive books on practical machinery management, failure analysis, failure avoidance, compressors, steam turbines, pumps, oil-mist lubrication and practical lubrication for industry. Mr. Bloch holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering. He is an ASME Life Fellow and maintains registration as a professional engineer in New Jersey and Texas. 


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We used the new change gasket on a exchanger but also used a 8 tool system with this application in the Chicago area. Seems to be doing ok waiting to see it come down to get a good look.

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