o-rings and seals

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Home > Industries > Chemical Processing > O-ring Material Sourcing

Chemical Processing Industry

O-Ring Seal Material Sourcing

The chemical process industry is regulated and policed by OSHA. A relatively new regulation, OSHA 1910, has made it a requirement that spare parts and maintenance materials, including o-ring seal elastomers, be appropriate for the application. This places a new burden on plant personnel to learn about and specify the correct elastomers and compounds. An additional burden is placed at the OEM and tier supplier level. Their process equipment and the elastomers used for each authorized replacement o-ring and seal must also be appropriate for the application.

It is more important than ever to document the elastomers used and the source where the distributor manufactures or buys the o-ring seal. It is also critical that the specified manufacturer identifies the country of origination for each o-ring seal elastomer and does not source the production to alternate countries using alternate elastomers.

If an o-ring seal varies in composition, it is extremely difficult to assure suitability in an application.

Chemical process industry maintenance and engineering departments must satisfy the "assurance" clause in OSHA 1910. This requires a new commitment to working with and understanding o-ring seal elastomers.

Education on O-ring Seal Material Sourcing:

  • Institute a working knowledge of elastomers used in each o-ring and seal
  • Identify plant stream and process specific correlation to the grades of elastomers
  • Learn about o-ring seal manufacturers, understand their compounds, learn how to specify the compound of choice
  • Broadly communicate across maintenance and engineering about each o-ring seal
  • Specification:
  • Upgrade the specifications for elastomers by application
  • Utilize o-ring seal manufacturers with only the highest standards for excellence
  • Understand sourcing procedures and eliminate deviations
  • Tell your o-ring seal distributor of your specification and request adherence to "no changes unless notified"
  • Alert your original equipment manufacturer of your o-ring seal requirements, as well as the need for the OEM and their tier suppliers to adhere to OSHA 1910 requirements
  • Documentation:
  • Require written identification of elastomers and family types
  • Require continuous certification of each o-ring and seal, including the elastomers, manufacturing source, and production location
  • Conduct routine audits of the distributor and manufacturer to verify quality and consistency of materials
  • Document the education, specification, and documentation improvements for your own company records for each incoming o-ring seal
  • Document conformance for all incoming OEM equipment
  • Document conformance for all contracted or outsourced work or equipment
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