Can Hydraulic Flange Misalignment Cause Leakage?

Blog | September 26th, 2018

Across two dimensions, a hydraulic flange misalignment error is causing trouble. The two collars are fastened evenly. All the way around, the bolts clamp the two faces together, with a seal or compound-jointed gasket adding integrity to the joint. Rotationally, however, the “twist” introduced by a rotational misalignment error is causing problems. Worse still, there’s a lateral disparity between the faces, so the flanges aren’t lining up properly.

Lateral Flange Misalignments 

A precisely aligned joint looks almost like a single flange. The two collars are mated so accurately, so precisely, that the edges have almost welded together, well, that’s how they look to the naked eye. Lateral errors destroy this perception. The flat faces don’t concentrically line up. Then, should there be any geometry inside the faces, not a flat surface, then that hydraulic flange misalignment problem will devolve into a leakage seam. The twinned surfaces, even with a gasket and sealing compound, will leak pressurized fluid.

Introducing Rotational Errors 

From an installer’s point of view, this is an unforgivable blunder. The bolt holes aren’t lining up, so the job needs some realigning skill. If that skill level is missing, the installer introduces rotational misalignment stress. The bolts slip in, they tighten, but now the fitting is applying torsional strain to the flange welds and surrounding system tubing. Again, and these stress should be self-evident, it’s the flange fitting procedure that acts as a key causative factor, a reason for a developing joint leak. Remember, on top of the above angular and twist related stresses, the oil in the system is generating copious quantities of heat. Along with the high-pressure operational conditions, strong vibrations propagate along poorly aligned flanges. Although vibration-propagating system assets, including omnidirectional armoured hoses, do reduce such undesirable fluid and mechanical associated forces.

Correcting Hydraulic Flange Misalignment 

Since this problem does obviously produce leaks and other system-critical issues, there are tools available for realigning the flanges. They prevent twists, correct bolt hole placements, and stop lateral flaws from developing. To reinforce this detail-oriented principle, where flange correction acts as a leakage prevention procedure, do also take care of the third dimension in this surface aligning technique. Do this by using an approved bolt tensioning pattern, one that assures an absolutely parallel surface mating effect.

To answer the original question, yes, flange misalignment problems cannot be tolerated, not in hydraulic equipment. Even an indiscernible surface lineup problem can and probably will cause problems. Worsening those issues, the heat, vibrations, and pressure innately propagating within the tubes, hoses and valves will work at the misaligned zone until it leaks.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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