Solving maintenance challenges with Loctite Threadlockers

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Many of the most common maintenance issues in industry can be traced back to failures of threaded assemblies. There is most probably not a single piece of industrial machinery out there that doesn’t have something secured on it by screws or bolts, and those can fail in a few ways as I’ve already described in the previous articles. Two most common problems from maintenance perspective are vibrational loosening and corrosion and seizure. And both have the same root cause: unfilled gap between the threads which allows for side to side movement under vibrations and humidity penetration within the assembly.

When that happens outside of the maintenance cycle on industrial machinery, it means several things:

  • Stopping the entire manufacturing process & troubleshooting for failure
  • Most likely scrapping the batch of whatever items were being produced at the time
  • Disrupting other, related processes in manufacturing

All this means waste of time and ultimately money, which is why zero unplanned downtime hours is the holy Grail of every chief of maintenance everywhere.

And none of them want to compromise this goal by something as mundane and silly as a loose screw. And locking them by Loctite Threadlockers is countless times more reliable than using mechanical fastening devices, simply because the liquid threadlocker is the only solution that fills the gaps between threads and removes the root cause to the two main issues in maintenance.

And gap filling by Loctite anaerobics extends to more than just Threadlocking, all of it useful in proactive maintenance. Have a look:

If you would like to sample Loctite 243 you can now request one from your local Loctite team (select your country at the top navigation on the website).

Or if you’re not ready to sample yet, keep an eye on our webinars calendar and join us in one that suits your needs most to find out more about liquid threadlockers first.

Benefits of Loctite Threadlockers

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There are several different methods to address – and try to prevent – the issue of vibrational self-loosening of bolts.

Most of them include the use of additional mechanical devices, to lock the threaded assembly and maintain the desired clamp load.

Double nut increases contact through more thread interface.

Spring washer increases bolt tension through spring action.

Nylon insert creates interference between bolt threads and the nylon insert.

Toothed flanged bolt digs into the surface to provide interference fit.

However, none of these methods tackle the gap existing between the threads of the bolt and the threads of the nut. The gap appears tiny to the naked eye, but it’s still large enough to allow side to side movement of the bolt within the nut caused by operational vibrations. This movement will eventually cause the bolt to loosen, regardless of the mechanical device used to lock it.

gap between threads

The only way to address the issue of gap is to use a liquid Threadlocker which completely fills the gap between the threads, solidifies into a tough thermoset plastic between the two metal surfaces in the absence of air, and in that way prevents any side to side movement. While bolts secured with mechanical fasteners will gradually lose the clamp load after only a few cycles and much before they loosen completely, the bolts secured by Loctite Threadlockers maintain the clamp load throughout (Junkers vibration test).

Washers vs 243 on scale

Apart from being the only efficient way to lock your threaded assemblies (as permanently as you choose to), Loctite Threadlockers also prevent corrosion and galling, increase reliability of your machines, prevent unplanned downtime, increase service life of your end product (in case you’re building them into machinery or devices you’re manufacturing) and minimise costs and complexity of your inventory. For illustration, below picture shows the quantity of spring washers needed to secure 850 pcs of M10 bolts, as opposed to a 50 ml bottle of Loctite 243, which does exactly the same thing, only more efficiently.

Would you like to sample Loctite 243? You can request a sample from your local Loctite team (select your country at the top navigation on the website).

Or if you’re not ready to sample yet, keep an eye on our webinars calendar and join us in one that suits your needs most to find out more about liquid threadlockers first.

Mechanics of a threaded fastener & why threaded assemblies fail

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Being involved in any kind of engineering or mechanical assemblies in general, we often think of threaded fasteners, or as we would call them more colloquially – bolts & screws & nuts – as a rather basic thing and rarely think about how they work and what can make them fail.

Tightening the nut on a bolt stretches the bolt, much like a spring. In technical terms, we’d say it elongates it. Elongation is necessary for creating the clamp load, which results in friction between the two joined parts. More torque results in more elongation and, in turn produces more clamp load.

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There are three further points of friction that are responsible for the bolt to stay elongated:

  • Between the bolt head and the clamped part
  • Between the nut and the part
  • Between the threads of the nut and bolt

There are certain cases where threaded fasteners keep together static assemblies. And in those cases, they’ll hold just fine. But typically, they are also used on many assemblies subjected to load and vibration during the work cycles of the machine or device the assembly is a part of.

Vibration will cause side to side movement of the nut and bolt, which is possible because the threads don’t adhere tightly enough to entirely fill the space between them (no matter how tightly pressed together they seem to the naked eye). Once vibrational stress becomes higher than friction holding the pieces together, the bolt will loosen. It usually takes 50-100 cycles for the threaded assembly to completely fail.

You can see in a very simplified, visual way, what exactly happens in the following animated video.

Apart from vibration, there are several factors that can affect the reliability of a threaded assembly. For example, relaxation in bolt tension can occur due to settling of the nut head and creeping of the gasket. In case of different substrates being joined, variable service temperatures can cause different thermal expansion of the materials, which will affect the fastener performance negatively, too. Finally, the good old corrosion, a well-known enemy of metal assemblies will inevitably happen due to humidity and elevated temperatures. And we all know corrosion is no good whether it’s from the perspective of affecting the functionality of the assembly or making a disassembly harder when repair or maintenance is needed.

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Luckily enough, a lot of these issues can be eliminated by simply making sure the gaps between the threads are fully filled. And liquid Threadlockers are a solution that has been around for almost 70 years now – Loctite being the original among them. Have a look:

As you can see, it extends beyond Threadlocking, but if you want to learn more about Loctite as technology, feel free to visit Loctite online (you can access content in different languages from there).

How energy efficient is your pump?

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In a world of countless ingenious innovations, if there’s one thing we all largely depend on, it’s got to be pumps. Just think about it, our planet is being hit by some nasty weather conditions recently, we’ve had our share of storms, floods, and fires, and water pumps have been our helping hands in all these alarming situations.  If we translate pump usage into industrial environment, you’ll find that the chemical industry alone hugely relies on pumps, averaging 1.25 pumps per employee. So making sure the pump system is a cost-efficient investment, is kind of like taking care that your employees are healthy and safe –  in the long run, it will pay off greatly.

Apart from the importance of the pump longevity itself (in terms of cost of repairs and replacements) another interesting and important fact to have in mind is how the energy-efficient pumps can help reduce the electricity consumption by amazing 4%. Something to have in mind for your pump system if you’re thinking of cutting your carbon footprint.

Studies collected by Europump & Hydraulic Institute show that 85% of each industrial pump costs are due to energy consumption while maintenance costs are only 10%.

There are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of an industrial pump and coating is one of the easiest and most effective ways. The time consumed is much lower versus methods like installation overhaul, impeller trimming etc. and you will also achieve the shortest return on investment (4-12 months) if coating is the selected solution.

Below examples are real business cases where Loctite protective coatings have been used.

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Customer Testimonial 1 – 19,9% energy efficiency increase, 4.55 months payback time

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Customer Testimonial 2 – 12,68% energy efficiency increase, 5.11 months payback time

If you want to find more information on specific protective coating products, feel free to visit our website (select your local language content in the navigation top of the screen).

Partnering with leading global pipeline repair specialist, to combat asset failures

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MRO stands for Maintenance Repair & Overhaul. Repair being the least desired of the three. The usual goal of people looking after maintenance of plants and equipment is to achieve such level of reliability where needs for repair don’t actually occur and all servicing is happening in the pre-scheduled overhaul. And Loctite Adhesives and sealants are often a part of maintenance engineers’ toolboxes in almost every industry you can think of. Their proactive use can reduce & eliminate chronic equipment failures, decrease repetitive daily maintenance activities or increase equipment up-time.

In this continuous quest to prevent chronic failures, Loctite partners with top global maintenance service providers to help industries around the world decrease expenses in their down time.

Recently, such a partnership was established with Hydratight, a global leader in bolted joint solutions and pipeline repairs. For one of their contracts, a repair of a large petrol vessel, Hydratight proposed Loctite Composite-System Pipe Repair as the solution to reduce costs and avoid a plant shutdown. The project was completed within the required schedule and the plant could remain in operation.

The video below shows how this repair works under burst test.

If you would like to see more about this specific Hydratight application itself, please see Timely Vessel Repair at a Petrochem Plant by Hydratight | English | Hydratight

Additionally, the LOCTITE composite repair has been used by major Oil & Gas companies to provide a high performance maintenance solution to pipelines with defects and wall thinning, to avoid the need for full replacement of the steel pipe. The Loctite Composite System Pipe Repair is used at temperatures up to + 130 °C in industries like upstream, downstream Oil & Gas production, refineries and chemical processing plants etc. This proactive maintenance measure allows plant operators to avoid downtime due to leaks and minimize economic losses in conjunction with their ongoing inspection for asset integrity.

To write about the pandemic, or not to write about the pandemic

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Honestly, I’m still in two minds as I type… Everyone’s talking about it, everyone’s tired of it, everyone wants to hear just one single piece of news related to it – that it’s finally over. But it’s unfortunately not.

And while, normally, in these articles I get very technical, at this point I feel the need to get very human about it all. This situation is new to everybody and everyone is just trying to find the balance between staying safe and healthy, protecting their families and loved ones, keeping their businesses (or businesses that employ them) healthy & running – and staying sane in the midst of it all.

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In our line of work, we are used to being available to our customers with advice, technical support, turning up on site in their production plants, dealing with their technical issues as if they were our own, feeling a part of their maintenance or design engineering teams, frowning together upon attempts that don’t work out and high-five-ing each other in triumph over the ones that do.

Evidently, we are currently not able to do that in the same old way we were used to. And that puts us in front of so many questions. How much do we call and stay in touch? How much is too much? Are our customers aware we are there for them even if we are not physically present? Which digital tools to make available for them to feel as comfortable as possible in our long distance cooperation?

 

Sounds a bit like that early stage of dating, doesn’t it, when you watch carefully who called / texted last and how badly misconstrued it may be if one person insists on contact more than the other. 😊

Clearly, as I’ve gotten this far, I must have resolved my dilemma from the title, as it’s pretty obvious I am writing about this. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that at the end of the day the communication tools don’t matter (whatever technically works and is available is just fine), the frequency of contact is likely to matter some. But both only matter if there is substance behind the exchanged content. And much like in dating, in business too, only those relationships will survive that had substance and quality before all hell broke loose.

To conclude, before I get too soppy and poetic: we are here for you! If we can help and support in any way that is within our expertise, don’t hesitate at all to reach out to us. Meanwhile, we will check in once in a while, sometimes to see if there’s anything we can do, sometimes just to hear – that all’s good and you’re doing fine.

Bonding instead of drilling

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Might not sound like a logical dilemma but bear with me.

Let’s say you’re manufacturing something out of metal. To make sure this metal stays rust-free and protected from different external influences, it’s most likely going to be mechanically and chemically treated, before it’s finally painted with either powder or liquid paints – for protection and aesthetic reasons.

Out of such metal parts, you may manufacture different things: washing machines, fridges, coat hangers, or like in our video – electrical cabinets.

In many cases, like in the video example, you may need to attach something to the metal parts and that something can be made of different materials. Composite materials and plastics are two of the most common materials that turn up in many industries, although it can also be another metal or the same type of metal as the original parts.

The usual method to do this is to drill holes in the metal part and attach other materials using bolts. The problem with drilling is that it’s loud and messy, leaving behind the debris that needs to be cleaned up, which makes it very time consuming, too.

When we’re talking about electrical cabinets specifically, the metal debris is a double problem – the already mentioned mess it makes is one thing, but even more importantly, tiny metal pieces can easily stay behind somewhere, escaping the cleaning and later on cause short circuits (being metal and electrically conductive) and with that various malfunctions. And that’s certainly not something you want on electrical equipment, both: from functionality and safety aspect.

Additionally, with every hole you drill, you’re risking paint damage around the drilling point and with each and every drilling point you are creating a potential starting point for rust.

Alternatively, you can choose to bond your parts. Loctite HY 4070 or Loctite HY 4090 do (depending on the application requirements) the trick with just a few drops. They are applied quickly, no clean-up is necessary afterwards and already within maximum 2 – 6 minutes (less if there’s no gap filling between the parts) they will fixture and you can proceed with your manufacturing process.

Have a look at the video to see the two methods compared.