Expansion joints are crucial components of pipelines, managing the stress caused by fluctuations in temperature, vibration, and more. Failing to maintain and install these essential parts properly can lead to catastrophic consequences for businesses, such as leaks, production downtime, and even structural damage. Read on to learn five ways you can avoid expansion joint failure to keep your workers safe and your operations running smoothly.
Check Them for Damage When They Arrive
Before installing new expansion joints, inspecting them for any signs of damage or defects is critical. This can be as simple as visually examining each component to ensure they’re in pristine condition. If the joint was damaged during manufacturing or shipping, it could spell disaster for you if it goes unchecked.
Check the packaging and accompanying documentation to confirm that manufacturers securely handled and transported the joints. By investing time in quality assurance at this stage, you’re one step closer to avoiding potential expansion joint failures down the line.
Put Them in Dry Areas Before Installation
You can also avoid expansion joint failure by storing these components in a dry area before installation. Proper pre-installation storage will help ensure that each component remains in optimal condition.
Ensure You Have Adequate Pipe Supports
Pipe supports play a key role in maintaining the structural integrity of your pipeline and reducing the risk of expansion joint failure. By providing adequate support for your pipes, you will better ensure that you will keep the bellows in the right position and prevent the joint from moving. Review your pipe support configuration and adjust as necessary to avoid possible expansion joint damage.
Properly Align Them During Installation
Aligning joints properly is one of the most important best practices when installing expansion joints. Misalignment can impact usefulness or cause leaks or even complete failure. To ensure proper alignment, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines closely and use appropriate equipment to position each joint precisely.
Don’t Overpressure Them During Hydrotesting
Hydrotesting is a vital step in confirming the integrity of your pipeline. Still, it can also be a potential source of expansion joint failure if you do not manage it carefully. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for pressure limits throughout the hydrotesting procedure and monitor pressure levels closely to protect your expansion joints from overpressure.
Following these tips will allow you to mitigate the risk of expansion joint failure and ensure the continued operation of your pipeline systems. Use these strategies to develop a proactive approach for expansion joint maintenance and installation to save your business time and resources in the long run.