Piping systems rely on flanges to maintain an efficient flow of gas or liquid, but these components are susceptible to break down. This can result in a system failure that requires costly repairs or replacement. There are several common issues found in flanges, whether it be in a lap joint flange, threaded, blind, or socket weld flange.
1. Stress Shocks or Excessive Load Response
Piping installation can be exposed to excessive forces that place stress on the flanges. Poor flexibility and loose-fitting connections in a system often create too much give and take in the piping and change the way a flange is aligned. Poor restraints and configurations also distort pipe fittings, and any protrusions, scratches or warping can create a path where liquid leaks out of the pipe.
2. Fatigue and Reduced Durability
At some point, a flange may succumb to fatigue. This occurs more quickly when there are excessive vibrations throughout the assembly of the piping system that inhibit optimum functioning. The machine will deteriorate in direct proportion to the consistent size of the load. Periodical testing of flanges and assemblies can reveal potential weaknesses and premature fatigue. High-pressure applications require more frequent changes of the flanges to keep a machine at peak performance.
Industrial environments often rely on chemicals for production or operational processes, but these chemicals can cause corrosion. Stress cracking is usually a result of corrosion, and the material continues to break down under applied tension. Using coatings like a zinc alloy or aluminum can be applied to the weld fitting in order to reduce the rate of corrosion. Temperature conditions can accelerate the development of stress cracking, as well.
These issues can compromise the performance of a flange and the corresponding piping system. Following recommended handling and operating guidelines can extend the life of your system components, but proactive maintenance also reduces the risk of failure.