October 26, 2018
Pressure vessels are built to deliver incredible amounts of material resistant strength. The sheet steel may bulge slightly, but it's thick enough and so alloy-toughened that it'll never fracture. Meticulously conducted inspections check and recheck that primary feature. It's the same with weld seams, which are applied by experts and inspected by professionals. Sealing mechanism damage is the one design flaw that can undermine those arduously addressed checks-and-balances.
In this context, where pressure vessels are exposed to high pressures and dynamic fluid forces, sealing mechanisms are used to contain those energies. Acting as the walls and containing surfaces, the pressure vessel is like an armoured chamber. To exit that sealed chamber, sealing mechanisms open and close. Unlike the static surfaces of a containment chamber, the forces acting upon those moveable surfaces can impact their functional components. A material load could retard a moving gate valve, could bend a sealing plate and jam a solenoid-actuated sealing device in its tracks, thus leaving the processing network dangerously incapacitated.
A transient spike in the pressure, a subsequent jump in processing temperature, these and other factors stymy system designers, but only for the briefest of moments. There are moving parts here, so a momentary bulge or cavity effect, experienced by the sealing plate, just cannot be afforded. Fortunately, since there are no rib-reinforced sheet bends or welds to deal with here, there are fewer design factors to influence this adjustable system asset. Hence, we can move from a workable 304L steel to a harder, more rigid 316L alloy or even a super-hardened metal, one that won't corrode, won't flex, and will never experience a concavity defect, as caused by a sudden pressure change. In short, sealing plate damage becomes a non-issue when the component parts are fabricated out of tougher than average sections of plate steel.
Fine tolerance vessel designs are commonplace here, but that one desirable engineering advantage can actually turn back and hurt the fluid network if the equipment utilizes a poorly installed sealing mechanism. Alignment problems cause trouble. And that issue will only worsen over time. Sealing plate problems are less common, with modern alloys using the latest and greatest heat treatment techniques, plus milled steel families that are designed to handle narrow-diameter fluid forces. Finally, pressure vessels do have an advantage; they're built to use their wide surface areas to spread high-pressure fluids. Narrow-diameter sealing mechanisms are therefore equipped with more design overhead. The gate valves are tougher, so they resist sealing plate damage, corrosion, alignment issues, and dynamic fluid events.
Fusion - Weld Engineering Pty Ltd
ABN 98 068 987619
1865 Frankston Flinders Road,
Hastings, VIC 3915
Ph: (03) 5909 8218
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