Insidious leaks in fluid handling systems can bedevil process engineering, production and safety testing applications.
They can arrive slowly and mysteriously, increasing gradually over time to the point where systems ultimately may need to be shut down to trace the cause that can affect accuracy, repeatability and traceability. Or issues can happen suddenly, with maximum disruption and safety hazards.
“Sometimes leakage problems with process fluids, oils, vapours and gases can be traced to the weakest points of systems, such as the composition of seals and gaskets used in them,” says seal and gasket engineering specialist Vinh Lam, General Manager of CSGtech.
“Seal and gasket material improvement is a fast-moving field, which is constantly moving forward to keep up with increased requirements for new technologies, new operating pressure, and new process fluids.”
“Older seal and gasket solutions may fail under the impact of new operating requirements – or contact with new fluids with which they are no longer ideally compatible. Sometimes too the old solution may do the job passably for a defined period, but there may be a new material available that will do it for longer and better.”
“For the sake of safety and production efficiencies, it is very timely to make the inquiry as industry adapts to the changes of Industry 4.0,” said Mr Lam.
The right questions
“Obviously, the best approach is proactive rather than reactive. We suggest you pose yourself some simple questions so you can clearly brief specialist suppliers in this specialist field,” he says. Preliminary questions to be addressed in briefing a seal or gasket supplier include:
- What range of applications are we looking at?
- What range of materials do we need to seal?
- What are the operating conditions, including temperatures, chemicals and pressure loads?
- What are the particular traceability, compliance, safety and Standards criteria you must meet or exceed?
- What are the seal/flange conditions? Is there sufficient engineering/load capacity/space available?
- What do you like/not like about solutions currently being used/proposed?
- What is the design life of the joint?
- What is the target price range? Are we basing on price or performance?
“The better you brief a seals and gaskets specialist, be better, quicker and cost-efficiently are the options they can find. It is in the interests of all concerned – the manufacturer, equipment user and safety compliance staff – to have this happen at the outset of production or problem-solving initiatives. Delay typically costs money, lost time and market opportunity – and possibly needless hazard.
CSGtech partners with clients in diverse industries throughout Australia to customise high performance solutions for complex problems where seals and interfacing components must achieve durability, reliability and precision.
It specialises in bespoke rubber, plastic and metal products addressing fabrication, assembly, production and in-service requirements as well as conformity to local and global quality and traceability Standards.
Its remit includes understanding of design, production, hazard and specified harsh working environments and ambient conditions. CSGtech’s key strengths include the ability to quickly stage customer designs from prototype to product in a short time frame and at very reasonable cost. CSGtech is an ISO9001:2015 certified company with a national technical support network conducted through our industry leader parent company, Air Springs Supply, which is a long-established Australian leader in actuation, isolation and ride technologies.
CSGtech has expanded into larger national headquarters in Rydalmere, where Mr Lam heads a team that brings together under one roof decades of experience in process engineering, problem solving, product development, proving and production. The team also provides expertise to CSGtech sister company Thomson Rubber Products.