A strange headline for a gasket article, we know. However, it’s an important area and one, which in this sector is often overlooked.
When we think about most products or items in and around our homes and business, we will recognise that most come with manufacturing guidelines. Within these guidelines, you will often find an outline of how we should store such products/items for them to continue to work and operate as well as they do.
However, when it comes to metallic gaskets, we might not rate storage as one of the top priorities, or indeed know the perfect storage settings for such items.
In this post, we look at optimum gasket storage solutions, as well as ways to improve how gaskets are currently stored in order to maintain their high performance and integrity.
A gaskets shelf life
A gaskets shelf life is decided upon by the makeup of the gasket and the environment in which it is manufactured, distributed, and stored.
For metallic and semi-metallic materials, when it comes to storage, we must be aware of excessive dust settling as this can cause compatibility issues and affect overall sealability.
Also, excessive moisture and high humidity can cause oxidisation in metallic components, all affecting the overall performance of the gasket.
Ageing can also occur on the sheet and cut gaskets due to the elastomer bonded fibre materials which they use, so it’s important to be aware that the environment in which they are placed can in some cases increase the speed of this ageing process.
How gaskets are stored
The basic guideline and rule of thumb are to store gaskets and gasket materials in a dry location which is cool, free from excessive humidity, covered so doesn’t receive direct sunlight, is exposed only to low UV lighting, is away from any hazardous chemicals, and a place which attracts minimal dust!
Most gaskets will be kept close to receiving doors, have fluorescent bulbs to light the storage area and are always subject to changes in humidity and temperature.
You will often also find gaskets randomly stacked, with soft rubber gaskets usually stored on pegboards hanging from the wall.
Sheet materials will often be stored flat and left leaning against a wall somewhere or being rolled and left somewhere for long periods.
For gaskets to continue to work perfectly, as and when you need them, it is critical we look at better storage solutions. Ensuring gaskets don’t go to waste or indeed cause poor performance in the sealing of applications.
Best way to store gaskets
The most obvious, based on the information above, would be to minimise dust, fluctuations in temperatures, exposure to UV light, and chemical vapours.
But, we’re also realists. Below we’ve provided some of our solutions to help you get the best out of your gasket storage.
- Make sure gaskets are stored in a place that is covered, protected from all and any external elements.
- Minimise dust and temperature fluctuations where possible.
- If you store gaskets on a pegboard, don’t leave them there for extended (and we mean really extended) periods as they will stretch over time!
- Label and brand sheet and cut gaskets, making them clearly identifiable.
- Keep all sheet material flat, stacking them on top of each other with all identification stamps facing the same way.
- Use spacers between spiral wound gaskets.
- Don’t put too much weight on crates.
- Ensure a reasonable distance between where your gaskets are stored and any receiving doors.
- Prevent drafts where possible and cover the top of gaskets if they are exposed to direct sunlight.
- Track time/age spent in storage.
Making sure you put certain practices, and steps in place will help in the long run to maintain the high performance of your gaskets. Keeping their long-life span intact and minimising the risk of early deterioration. Ultimately making them more cost-effective!
For further help, information and advice, make sure to contact the gasket experts at Specialist Sealing Products.