Keeping flanges locked tight

Keeping flanges locked tight

When two metal flanges meet, imperfections in the metal to metal contact allows liquids to leak. These imperfections can be caused by a number of factors, including temperature causing expansion and contraction or vibration and constant movement of components.

For a water or wastewater plant, this presents a number of serious issues that must be addressed. Leaking fluids have the potential to create occupational health and safety hazards from slips and burns. To make matters worse, in wastewater plants, leaking fluid can contaminate the surrounding environment.

Michael Rowe, BSC Product Manager for Adhesives and Sealants, says that from an economic perspective, leaks also mean less fluid is making the journey from point A to B, reducing overall productivity and puts stress on other areas of the plant.

“Mechanical gaskets can assist with this, but over time they can lose their elastic properties and become less resilient. Keeping a number of spare gaskets in inventory can also get expensive, while finding replacements for older machinery can be impossible,” he says.

To solve these issues, LOCTITE has created LOCTITE 518, an anaerobic liquid gasket. The product is designed for rigid iron, aluminium and steel flanged mating surfaces and is applied directly onto flanges where it fills all voids and gaps to prevent leaks and weeping.

Stress is distributed evenly, and it will not crack or tear. The product requires no retorquing, prevents corrosion and has high chemical resistance. LOCTITE 518 provides improved flexibility for thinner, lighter weight flanges, better gap cure seals for flanges with reduced machining tolerances and performs well on inactive metals without an activator.

Thanks to the LOCTITE anaerobic technology, the product begins to cure when laced between two metal components and when oxygen is removed. Because it is applied as a liquid, it can fit into the imperfections of the steelwork and bring the flanges together, providing a 100 per cent seal. The application enables scratched surfaces to be sealed without the need to rework the damaged surface.

“A gasket failure can be a time consuming and expensive repair,” Rowe says. “Cut gaskets don’t always store well, which means waiting for an order to be delivered.”

“But with liquid gaskets, repair is fast, easy, inexpensive and reliable.”

In 2019, LOCTITE introduced a new member of the gasketing solution range – LOCTITE 518 Sealant Pen – a pen shaped packaging with an application roller on the top. The LOCTITE 518 pen can be applied to both horizontal and vertical flange surfaces. Unlike solid gaskets, LOCTITE 518 pen does not require any additional help to maintain its position on vertical flange surfaces and can fill gaps of up to 0.125mm. Importantly, the LOCTITE 518 Sealant Pen can also help end users reduce process costs by minimising any waste or excess on application by using a convenient roller.

BSC plays an important role as a distributor for LOCTITE in the Australian market. The two companies have been supporting each other in Australia for more than 40 years and working closely together to find new opportunities and to support end users.

Rowe speaks from experience when he says the connection between the two companies is strong. Prior to working for BSC, he worked with LOCTITE for 11 years.

“The BSC teams have worked with LOCTITE representatives for years and are trained in the same knowledge to help solve problems for clients.”

Richard Hoe, LOCTITE State Manager for Victoria and Tasmania, agrees and says BSC’s large footprint in every state across Australia, along with its extensive network and lots of boots on the ground, benefits both companies.

“LOCTITE has a premium partnership with BSC in which we work closely to support end users and ensure they can get the most value possible,” he says.

This could come as either application support or technical training, helping customers learn how to use the product or to further improve upon its implementation. BSC staff also undergo cross-training from LOCTITE experts, which gives them the product knowledge they need to provide an exceptional service.

Hoe adds that the two companies take a unique approach to customer outreach, as a representative of each will meet end users in person together.

“Customers feel more comfortable knowing that when they purchase a product, they have someone that can physically visit them and that they can call when needed. They’re not left in the lurch,” he says.

“Our customers want to see the full circle, from supply to support, and they want the product on time and in full. BSC is vital to deliver that.”