This week we will continue to discuss the pros and cons of industry-acceptable products and practices. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different types of mechanical flange protectors on the market today. Today, let's look at Plywood flange covers and challenge whether they are your best option.
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The Pros of Plywood
Like duct tape, plywood is readily available and relatively inexpensive. It has been a go-to in the industry for decades and offers great impact protection. It can be cut and drilled to the size and shape needed with relative ease. For short-term applications, plywood protects the flange face and keeps unwanted debris out of the piping component.
The Cons of Plywood
Plywood has limitations for long-term storage applications. Exposed to the elements it can warp, split, and even rot over time. This will leave the flange face exposed and allow debris access to the internal components of your piping assets. Treated plywood that is more resistant to the elements, will siphon moisture and hold it on the flange face accelerating rust and corrosion. When your piping assets are shipped into or out of the country, you must use plywood treated to kill insects or fungus and it must have the ISPM-15 stamp. A pallet of plywood will take up valuable space in your warehouse. If it is stored outside, treated, and untreated plywood can warp making it hard to work with. Also, when cutting round parts from a rectangular sheet, your waist on the material can be 30-50%. Another thing to consider is, the actual amount of time it takes to cut these by hand and what that craftsman is costing you. Many facilities are highly safety conscious and limit the use of saws and drills exclusively to highly skilled labor, making the labor the highest cost of plywood protectors.
Here is a quick wrap-up of the important pros and cons of utilizing plywood for your piping assets. It is an acceptable short-term solution but not for long-term storage or shipping and may cost you more than you realize to produce in-house. Be sure to join us next week as we continue looking at the pros and cons of more industry-acceptable products and practices with plastic protectors.