Any industrial or commercial installation that features piping, ducting, or pumping will almost invariably include expansion joints, as they are an essential safety component that mitigates thermal expansion, vibration-induced movement, and various external factors. Given that these industrial components now come in a wide range of materials and designs, proper part selection and installation are more important than ever to ensure the safety and reliability of a given application. As such, we go over in more detail how proper fit and alignment translate to optimal expansion joint performance.
Why proper fit and alignment matters for expansion joints
1. Hazard mitigation
Even the best products can be prone to failure when installed incorrectly. Conversely, following the right installation procedures can extend their service life and that of the entire system they are part of. Hence, proper piping alignment is high on the priority list when installing expansion joints.
This is because even the slightest offset automatically puts expansion joints in a precarious situation since they are generally not made to compensate for inaccuracies in pipe installations. Also, having sufficient pipe support is vital since expansion joints must not be used to carry the weight of other adjacent equipment. Neglecting this, more often than not, prevents expansion joints from working correctly and may reduce their performance.
2. Service longevity
Expansion joints can typically perform well with little to no maintenance, provided they are sized and installed correctly. But even though correctly sized and properly installed expansion joints generally do not require as much maintenance, that does not mean they no longer benefit from it, particularly in keeping issues in check before they become a bigger problem.
Accessibility plays a significant role in conducting such maintenance procedures, so expansion joint placement must also be considered to allow for convenient inspections and repairs should leaks or failures occur. With consistent and proper maintenance, organisations can typically expect an application’s expansion joints to last on average for seven to ten years.
3. Optimal vibration mitigation
When used correctly, expansion joints perform as advertised and are highly effective at managing temperature-induced cyclic motions and vibrations. Their effects become all the more important as they relieve the thermal stresses brought forth by the different seasons, which can cause expansion and contraction in buildings and make them more vulnerable to damage.
In addition to neutralising this warping effect, expansion joints can also prevent piping systems from buckling due to heavy loads and extensive deterioration. Last, placing expansion joints as close to their anchors or control rods as possible is vital to maximise their anti-vibration performance.
Although expansion joints are indispensable to bridging warping and shifting dimensions due to temperature changes, knowing why getting the proper fit and alignment right before and during the installation is just as important.
For high-quality expansion joints that meet your requirements and expectations, look no further than Pharmchem Engineering. As an established expansion joint supplier, we guarantee that our stainless steel, rubber, and fabric expansion joint solutions are rigorously tested and guaranteed to deliver the performance you need for your applications. For custom solutions or to view our extensive catalogue of industrial equipment, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.