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Killer Apps: Diaphragm Abuse

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Used for 18 months

Over Compression

“Never leave anything to chance; make sure all your crimes are premeditated.”

In the first part of two, we are going to show you how to shorten the life of your diaphragm when you really want to do it right. It’s surprisingly simple, here are the most common ways we’ve seen diaphragm life shortened (in the next newsletter we’ll show you ways to avoid these problems):

  1. Change out your diaphragm less than once a year.
    If you change out your diaphragm every 16 to 18 months, you could save tens, maybe even a couple hundred dollars a year – if you are using a large valve. Think of the kudos you could get. (Of course, if the diaphragm fails, it might cost you tens of thousands of dollars or more.) Because this is simple to do, it can be tempting to keep using a diaphragm beyond its useful life. Think of your car tire as an analogy. You get new tires installed and the dealer tells you they will last 70,000 miles. Now let’s say you do all the right things: maintain your tire pressure, regularly rotate the tires, and you don’t drive like Tony Stewart or Michael Schumacher. You reach 70,000 miles and the tires still look like they could go further. Should you tempt fate? Do you really want to find out what happens when you blow a tire at 70 mph?
  1. When installing the diaphragm on an actuator, don’t put it all the way on.
    This is a great way to quickly destroy a diaphragm. If a diaphragm isn’t installed properly on an actuator, it will wear prematurely, sometimes very prematurely. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” The same applies to installing a diaphragm in a valve assembly.
  2. Use the diaphragm at a higher temperature then it is rated for, say using a silicone diaphragm at over 135°C.
    Sure, things go wrong and maybe a diaphragm is accidentally exposed to an elevated temperature for a brief period and it may still work, but prolonged exposure can significantly reduce diaphragm life. Have you ever put a plastic food container in the bottom rack of the dishwasher? It doesn’t look very pretty when it comes out and it generally is no longer usable.
  3. Don’t ever service your pneumatic actuator.
    Never servicing your pneumatic actuator can lead to a catastrophic diaphragm failure. To go back to the tire analogy, and imagine putting on new tires and then never checking the air pressure and never adding air pressure when the tires are low.

Actuator Seal Unmaintained

Chemical Incompatibility

  1. And my personal favorite, use your diaphragm with process fluids it can’t handle.
    We’ve actually seen customers melt diaphragms with their process fluids. It can be like pouring boiling water over ice cream: sure it’s still ice cream, but it’s not the same.

Now that you know some of the ways to shorten diaphragm life, wouldn’t it be nice to know how to avoid them too? In our next installment, we’ll show you some of the ways customers like you have eliminated some of these problems.

For more info about ASPECO diaphragms, visit our Diaphragms web page.

Give us a chance to save you time and money.

Best wishes, Mark

ASEPCO – Thinking Ahead – Saving You Time, Saving You Money, and Improving Your Products.

Phone: 800.882.3886


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