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The Consequences of Under, Uneven, Over-Torque: Gasket Failure

Gaskets working properly is crucial in protecting equipment from becoming damaged.

A gasket in a joint is only as good as the force holding it in place.  And when a gasket fails, the consequences can be as severe as the utter failure of a machine or system, leading to lost productivity, equipment damage, and compromised workplace safety.

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Failed Gaskets, Under, Uneven, Over-Torque Consequences

Why ISO 17025 Accreditation is Important for Torque Tool Calibration

The properly calibrated torque equipment for Installing wind turbines.

Even after all these years in business, there’s something that never fails to amaze us: The lack of understanding some professionals have when it comes to proper torque equipment calibration certification. We’re talking about customers who build ships, install wind turbines, and work on oil refineries, pipelines and other critical industries.

There are far too many contractors at major industrial operations who are willing to accept anyone who puts a sticker on their torque tools and equipment. This is like getting legal advice from your mechanic or going to your barber for an eye-exam: They might get it right, but how do you know? Where’s the accountability?

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ISO 17025

Checking Your Bolt Torque

Knowing how to check bolt torque is a key ingredient in making sure fasteners don’t fail. There are several ways to determine bolt torque, including torque auditing.

Bolt Torque

As Bill Eccles of Bolt Science writes, there are three ways this can be achieved:

  1. The on-torque method – This is the most commonly used form of torque auditing, measuring the torque required to turn the bolt/nut by a small angle (usually two to 10 degrees) in the tightening direction.

  2. The off-torque method – This method involves measuring the torque needed to rotate the bolt/nut in the untightening direction (this is usually less than the tightening torque).

  3. The marked fastener method – This requires you to mark the position of the bolt and nut relative to the joint, loosening it by an angle of approximately 30 degrees, then measuring the torque needed to get the bolt back to the marked position.

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industrial bolting, bolt tightening

How to Avoid Bolt Failure

“We sometimes underestimate the importance of little things,” wrote Charles W. Chestnutt in 1901.

Why is a torque wrench company opening a blog post about bolt failure with a quote by a turn-of-the-century author?

Because bolts are often the smallest elements of a design, but that does not make them unimportant. When bolts fail, they can do so in ways that are very catastrophic, and very public. Just ask the commuters who saw the steel rods on Oakland, California’s Bay Bridge snap in 2013.

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bolt tightening