Despite all of the changes to the economy which occur through modernization, some backbone components of industry never change.
Successful manufacturing requires a secure work environment with reliable equipment, and if that goal is going to be achieved, then it can only be done through proper maintenance.
In work spaces which rely on pressure vessels, then that means keeping an eye on the state of your stainless steel pipe fittings.
While they may be the most important part of many setups, stainless steel fittings are too often taken for granted.
They’re generally installed because managers are counting on them to last for a long period of time, but it’s vital to make sure that that reliance is sustainable.
Otherwise, you might find yourself scrambling to recover from a sudden rupture that leaves you dealing with expensive downtime that, unfortunately, can also come with pricey cleanup expenses.
A strong fitting could dodge all of those concerns.
Below, you’ll find suggestions that should help guarantee that you’re able to maintain your stainless steel pipe fittings.
If you’re in the crowd of people who installed the fittings expecting them to be permanent and maintenance-free, then it’s vital for you to open your eyes to the concerns that you may be facing.
Rather than allowing yourself to simply capitulate to the inevitability of failure, take the time to learn about the steps you can take to prevent it.
Not only will that help guarantee more satisfaction with your equipment, but it will also put you in a position to be noticed as a more responsible manager of your workplace.
Too often, adequacy is substituted for being exceptional.
That drive to be exceptional could spill over into other areas of your life and represent a sincere opportunity for professional advancement that you may not have previously considered.
Scheduling Regular Inspections
It’s impossible to head off a problem at the path unless you know the problem is developing.
As mentioned above, too often people have the idea that their stainless steel fittings are designed to last for the full lifespan of their setup.
As a result, the idea of establishing an inspection schedule may not have ever crossed your mind.
Rather than correctly anticipating a failure rate and looking to head it off, any inspections that are done are often undertaken out of sheer dumb luck.
That sort of luck very rarely stands up to scrutiny and makes an appearance in the clutch, and if you’re in charge of an established industrial setup, you need to take every step possible to avoid counting on it.
Good luck breeds bad habits, and instead, consider working on an inspection schedule that will allow you to be fully prepared.
Take the time to consult with the makers of your fittings to establish when the proper time is to start being concerned about their lifespan.
Remember too that even though stainless steel will resist some corrosion, you still run the risk of damage occurring over time in high stress environments.
Make sure you take that into account when drawing up your inspection schedule. In most cases, you’re best served to fold the inspections into other safety tasks.
That can guarantee that they aren’t accidentally passed over and can also put you in a position where your employees feel fully trained and prepared to evaluate the totality of your setup.
As with other issues, pipe fitting problems can be secondary to underlying issues that you should be working hard to detect and correct.
Just because you’ve found a fault in a fitting doesn’t mean you’ve fixed the problem, and you should be prepared to respond accordingly.
Installing Proper Fittings
Inspecting your fittings for trouble is an important task, but that importance can be mitigated if you make smart choices when you establish your work environment.
In fact, in many cases, choosing the right material is an important first step in maintaining workplace safety.
Stainless steel fittings come in a wide variety of options beyond just being mated to the thickness of your pipe.
The density of threads chosen for a particular job can go a long way in making sure that a connection stays secure, as can the hardness of the chosen steel.
If you have any concerns that the materials being installed in your work space may be insufficient for the regular job load, then it’s incumbent upon you from a management perspective to speak up and seek clarification.
A communicative workplace is a safe workplace.
As has been mentioned, even the correctly chosen fittings aren’t guaranteed to last in perpetuity.
However, rather allowing yourself to be surprised by sudden failings, fittings which are appropriately chosen are far more likely to go through a regular usage life.
This means that you should be able to adequately prepare for shifts in the materials and failing components as necessary and have replacements scheduled just in case.
In addition, in the event that a fitting fails without warning, it’s vital that you replace it on a like-for-like basis.
Any risk that a replacement part isn’t up to the original standards can create a damaging flaw in the system that risks a total collapse in the event of system failure.
Rather than putting your workplace under that kind of risk, it’s important that you take steps to mitigate it by guaranteeing that you’re maintaining a consistent flow.
Develop strong relationships with your firm’s engineers to stay comfortably on that path.
Expanding Your Operation
Successful firms will no doubt go through a period of growth.
When your business finds itself dealing with a larger than expected volume of orders, then expanding capacity of your facility is an important next step.
When you take that step, it’s vital that you don’t rush the expansion process simply to get up to capacity as quickly as possible.
Getting up to capacity doesn’t have nearly as much value as staying there and staying safe, and once again your pipe fittings will represent the backbone of that expansion.
Make sure that you go through the same process with your new equipment that you did with your old equipment, up to and including all of the stress and calibration tests.
This represents an excellent opportunity for a safety net which could catch any potentially serious underlying mistakes.
An expansion is also an excellent opportunity to perform yet another safety check.
In most cases, when an industrial firm expands, the line will be forced to idle for at least a short period of time in order to establish a new work flow.
When your firm finds itself in that situation, it’s important that you seize the opportunity to re-inspect all of your existing fittings.
This will allow you to one again cut off any potential issues before they grow and become serious and it also will open up the possibility of conducting more thorough stress tests.
Materials may not always perform in working conditions the same way that they do in laboratory conditions, so by examining those fittings which have already been working in your facility, you can develop a much better idea of the potential for trouble.
That also will help assure that your stress testing services are functioning correctly.
Removing Potential Irritants
There’s no doubt that your stainless fittings will be under stress even with regular usage.
The next step, then, is to do everything possible to remove unnecessary stressors from the environment.
Indeed, modern technological solutions do exist that should be able to mitigate all but the most serious environmental concerns.
Corrosion, vibrations, lack of lubrication, and a large number of other worries may creep in to any industrial firm, but they can all be turned back if you take the time to properly prepare yourself.
Taking that time is a huge positive from a financial standpoint as well, as yet again you’ll be sure to allow your company to avoid the massive financial risk that comes with an extended down period.
If customers can’t have orders filled because your pipe fittings were improperly maintained, then you may not have been doing a sufficient job at overseeing your operation.
Make sure to liberally apply industrial grease that’s designed to react correctly with stainless steel.
When your setup is being designed, install as much additional space as possible to minimize vibrations and maximize access for inspections.
Keep a clean work floor that focuses on removing particulate matter or, at least, keeping it as far away from joints as possible.
This might also require multiple layers of wearable materials protection from your employees.
While some of these steps may seem cumbersome, they’re all far preferable to being in a position where you’re forced to deal with a failed pipe fitting.
If those situations can at all be avoided, then they should be.
While accidents happen and can challenge even the most professional management, an honest risk assessment can be a huge relief.
Taking time to stop and think can stop you from acting.