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    Gaskets & Socks

    Paul Murphy, founder of Pure Transfer, gives some thought to two surprisingly similar items.

    Paul Murphy - Job Role

    I like a good analogy.

    I don’t know if what follows is a ‘good’ or not, I’ll leave that for the reader to decide. What I do know is while most people aren’t familiar with gaskets, everyone knows about socks. So, let’s all think socks for a moment. What do they do?

    • They keep our feet warm.
    • They help keep us clean.
    • They stop abrasion from damaging our feet.
    • They help us to display our unique personalities.

    Believe it or not, socks are a big part of our lives. From sports socks to business socks, we have socks for every occasion. I was on a flight recently where I received a pair of “happy socks” – wearing them certainly put a smile on my face. Wearing the right socks at the correct moment is important. You’ll never see professional sports people wearing the incorrect socks for their activity. It simply isn’t done. Take a look at the world of professional cycling, correct sock length is now a legal requirement! Yet in my work, that of high purity process systems, I’m constantly seeing machinery dressed in the wrong socks.

    Of course, by ‘the wrong socks’ I mean that I frequently see the wrong gasket being used within a system. Apologies in advance to those who are tiring of the ‘sock’ metaphor, but let’s continue with it for a moment. Gaskets, like socks, are required to go through many cleaning cycles within their lifespan – while retaining their functionality. The problem is, during this cleaning, gaskets can be damaged or lost so that it’s tempting to replace the problem gasket with another that looks roughly the same (as we do with socks).

    Before you know it, a process system is filled with incorrectly fitted gaskets that nobody remembers purchasing, which are completely inappropriate for the job they’re doing. In short, your high purity machinery has become the equivalent of a drawer full of mismatched and holey socks. This is, definitely, not good. For those who don’t know, a failed gasket is a real problem. Why?

    A gasket’s main purpose is, through pressure, to create a seal between two surfaces, often piping. If that seal is faulty, the product within the pipes can become contaminated. The financial implications of a faulty gasket, both in terms of manufacturing downtime and product loss, are huge. Thankfully, in 99.9999% of cases, the same can’t be said of badly chosen or maintained socks.

    So, here’s one last hurrah for my sock analogy. Choosing gaskets should be approached with a similar sense of purpose as picking the right pair of socks… go with me on this one. A wise person might ask:

    • What task do I want them for?
    • How often will they be used?
    • How frequently will I need to clean them?
    • How will I know when they are no longer useful?
    • When is it recommended that I completely replace them?

    Thanks for sticking with me on this (strained) sock and gasket metaphor journey. What I hope you’ll take from this is the importance of attention to detail. At Pure Transfer we pride ourselves on focusing on the details, it’s why our customers come back to us time and again. They know that our gasket knowledge is second to none.

    And our socks? They’re pretty impressive too.

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