As we continue to discuss the pros and cons of industry-acceptable products and practices we'll take a look at plastic flange covers and challenge whether they are the best option.
Pros of Plastic Flange Protectors
There are many types of plastic flange protectors made by a host of manufacturers. Like plywood one pro is that they do an adequate job of protecting the flange face against mechanical damage and some keep debris out of the piping components. Most are easy to install with no tools required which makes them a go-to for many manufactures and fabricators.
This all sounds great, but are they the best solution for your specific applications?
Cons of Plastic Flange Protectors
A major con is that the plastic does not create an airtight seal, causing several models to fly off while being shipped at highway speeds. To keep this from happening many companies add tape in an X over the protector with a ring around the pipe. It works, BUT this task adds to the material and labor cost of using plastic protectors.
If the piping components are stored outside for several months, the plastic tabs will often crack and fall off because the ultraviolet light of the sun deteriorates the plastic, causing it to become brittle. When this happens, the flange protector is no longer protecting the flange face, and the internals of the asset become exposed to the elements.
Another sizable con is that most of these plastic protectors are not designed to seal the flange face and end up trapping moisture against the flange face accelerating rust and corrosion.
Most plastics melt at relatively low temperatures, so they are not a good option in many fabrication and welding environments.
Plastic Pipe Caps like the flange protectors mentioned have a good performance during short-term storage but seem to crack and fail after just a few months in outdoor applications allowing the moisture and debris access inside the pipe.
When taped into place to create a water-tight seal, many times the pressure from expanding air volume due to temperature rise will pop the cover of the pipe. Again, leaving the internal area exposed to the elements.
Be sure to join us next week as we continue looking at the pros and cons of more industry-acceptable products and practices with metal protectors.