What's the big deal about the quality of your fittings

by Advanced Piping Systems
on August 12, 2019
in

News

 Know-Your-Stuff_JPEGWhat's the big deal about the quality of your fittings?

The quality of your fittings isn’t something you’ll be thinking about when you’re fixing a break- down: Your concern is just to get the job done, get the flow back up and going again. It’s only when it comes to maintenance that you can afford to consider quality.

Depending on what your pipeline is transporting, the quality of your fittings is a big deal. This isn’t just about whether you buy Chinese- or European-manufactured parts. It’s also about whether or not you have the skills to assess the quality of what you deploy.

 

This article explains why quality is important, tells you how you can assess the quality of your components, and explains how to make sure you’re consistently getting the best from your supplier.

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The difference is in the reinforcing and testing

A mark of quality in fittings is in how often the manufacturers test the products. You might say, ‘Oh they’re all tested’, and you’d be right! But what is the testing program, in reality?

If you have a Chinese-manufactured fitting in your left hand, and a European-manufactured fitting in your right hand, they will initially look the same. The difference you feel at this point is that the European-manufactured fitting cost you significantly more.

The truth is, you can’t beat the prices on Chinese-manufactured fittings. That’s just a fact.

But if you were to look closely, you’d notice that the European fitting has a lot more reinforcing than the Chinese-manufactured fitting. You can spot it by noticing that the Chinese-manufactured fittings have very shallow reinforcing; it’s more like a pimple-effect on the surface.

 

The reinforcing matters; in some industries, particularly where your pipeline is carrying dangerous or hazardous substances, it’s critical.

The thing you can’t see is the testing.

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It only takes one failure to put you out of business

Stay with me a moment, I’ll tell you a story.

One day I went to visit a customer of ours. While I was there, he took me through his warehouse and showed me the stock of his Chinese-manufactured products.

It looked ok. In fact, the product was probably sufficient for irrigation, and even some mining.

Picking one up, I asked him, ‘What happens now, if you use this to transport sulphuric acid, and it fails?’

He looked at me, unconcerned. ‘We wouldn’t do that very often.’

Putting the part down, I replied: ‘You only need it to happen once.’ The implication is that if you know that you can prevent splits in situations of hazardous substances, and you don’t, then the legal issues afterwards could be enough to shut your business down.

We have had Chinese fittings split—I’ve seen them personally. This is where the testing programs of the manufacturers become so critical.

Assess quality based on testing and recall

Your supplier will be able to explain to you how their manufacturers test—and, worst-case, recall

—their products. But here’s a quick (and very general) overview.

Chinese manufacturers will do some initial testing on their products. Their production is powered by volume. They don’t do regular batch testing, because it would slow down their manufacturing rate, and lift the price of the product. You have no guarantee about how each batch performs.

European manufacturers test every batch. Their production volume is slower, and the product prices are higher, and you do have a guarantee about how each batch performs.

Here at Advanced Piping Solutions, we’ve had European manufacturers recall product that we had already received. In some cases, they have been so pedantic about the recall that they wouldn’t provide refunds until we gave them evidence that the products had been destroyed.

The fact that we have never received a recall from a Chinese manufacturer does mean that their product is better. It means that their testing is worse.

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Work with your supplier to better understand the quality of your fittings

Your supplier ought to be able to give you many more stories and examples of the differences in quality, and should be able to teach you how to spot the quality yourself.

Ultimately, the quality of your fittings contributes to the safety and longevity of your pipeline.

Is that something you want to risk?

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The effectiveness and safety of your pipeline relies not just on your maintenance program, but on the fittings that you use to maintain it. Make sure that you are ahead of everyone else by staying educated about how your program may be impacted by the parts you use, with our regular newsletter: Join our mailing list today.

When you need focused help fast, get it from a supplier whose success is keeping your plant moving. Call Advanced Piping Systems now on 1300 792 879.