To many facility supervisors and plant engineers downtime is an accepted practice of the manufacturing industry. These types of personnel aren't exactly fond of powering down production for mandatory machine maintenance and repair, but in many cases their hands are tied. The question should constantly arise though whenever a machine is down – “is this absolutely necessary?”
In some instances downtime for calibrating machinery to improve production and doing maintenance that extends equipment life span is a smart business practice. In many other cases though downtime is money, specifically in an application such as replacing or repairing an industrial seal, which doesn't have to be necessary.
There's no doubt, seals are important for controlling the flow of liquid, steam, and gases in an industrial setting. Seals are a seemingly inconspicuous part of an assembly, but they are mandatory components required for maximum machine performance, to prevent damage to the facility, and to keep employees safe.
The problem with traditional compression seals is that they are under almost constant pressure when holding back flow. The failure of a single valve or flange is the difference between control and catastrophe and despite backup safety measures, these seals must be monitored at all times. Swapping out compression seals or performing repairs involves tremendous down time because they are often embedded into equipment, requiring considerable disassembly, maintenance, and reassembly.
The cost of the replacement compression seal is one expense to consider, but when evaluating true financial repercussions it's important to take into account labor, the pulling of maintenance personnel from other jobs, and most importantly the effects of machinery not running. Evaluate these costs then consider the alternative – inflatable rubber seals.
Custom rubber seals essentially do the same job as the alternative, only with a different approach. Instead of creating a single line of defense that controls water, air, or gas flow, they inflate within the fittings and essentially produce a blockage. The material in thiese custom rubber products isn't an easily punctured bicycle tube, it's a fabric reinforced, fully molded, engineered barrier that is more durable and reliable than traditional sealing methods.
When evaluating costs of different sealing components, it's key to look at the entire return on investment. The purchasing department and procurement specialists may see the bottom line of upfront costs, in which compression seals have the advantage. An inflatable industrial rubber seal however will last longer, reduce maintenance cost and time, and most importantly reduce downtime. If an inflatable seal lasts 3X to 5X longer than its alternative, that adds up to some serious increased production.
Inflatable rubber seals also provide enhanced performance. Since the material expands and features flexibility, it can fill crevices and dips within the interior of pipes and tubes that would otherwise be a leak risk. Inflatable seals can be customized and made to order to fit a wide variety of applications in many industries. Please contact us for more specific information on how inflatable seals can be your alternative solution.