Manways — what is it? As the name suggests, it allows someone to go somewhere. “A hole or duct giving access to a utility area for maintenance purposes.” Well, that is how the wiktionary.org defines it. Anyway, here we talk about a specific topic — Manways we refer to here is the one that gives access to the interior of a vessel or a tank. So, it is a hardware piece. What is the purpose of going into a vessel? Why is Manways are essential for industrial applications today? We cover many topics in this article to explain everything to you in detail. Shall we get started?
Access ports, manholes, and hatches — well, it goes by many names. So, don’t get confused when someone calls it by another name; they refer to the same product. A vessel or a tank is a structure that holds/stores liquids and gases. Most gases are stored under pressure, hence we call it a high-pressure application. As a result, we cannot use an ordinary tank or a vessel for high-pressure applications. Which means ordinary Manholes aren’t suitable for high-pressure applications.
How can you clean and maintain a vessel? Well, a spray ball is an invention that lets you clean the tank without being in it. Anyway, for maintenance purposes; being in the tank or the vessel is a must. Hence, getting into the tank via an access point is necessary, and Manways let you do it easily. Getting into a vessel is a risky task, and many safety precautions are there to consider before attempting it. Engineers and technicians follow a specific routine when doing it.
Any opening or an access point on a vessel is a weak point. The rigidity of the structure is reduced by every opening or access points on the structure. To minimize this negative effect, Manways are designed in such a way to offer the same rigidity as other sections of the vessel. So, the quality of access points should vary depending on the application. Chemical, food, dairy, beverage, and pharmaceutical are the industries where tanks and vessels being used today. Vessels that store chemicals need inspections for safety concerns. Failing to perform necessary inspections can lead to a sudden failure, which can lead to a disaster.
An important component in all the Manways. As for plumbing and hydraulic applications, sealing materials offer a tight seal, hence liquids and gases won’t leak though Manways. Remember, every opening in a tank or a vessel is a weak point. Now, you can understand the importance of sealing materials for high-pressure applications. When gases are stored in a vessel under pressure; the gases tend to escape somehow. Every opening in the vessel can contribute to this possible leakage of liquids and gases.
Well, certain tanks and vessels store liquids in high-temperature. For example, big boilers. So, the sealing material should able to withstand high-temperature. Don’t worry! Depending on your application’s temperature, the sealing materials are available today. Below is a list of sealing materials for Manways:
* Natural Rubber
This material can withstand temperatures between -50 to +90ºC. Ideal for applications in the food and beverage industries. Anyway, natural rubber isn’t the best material option for industrial applications such as chemical vessel Manways.
A reliable material when compared to natural rubber. Widely used for robust applications such as high-temperature industrial. Can withstand temperatures between -50 to 200ºC. Silicone comes with unique properties such as chemical-resistance.
Another sealing material option for Manways. Can withstand temperatures between -45 to 110ºC. So, a better alternative to natural rubber. Widely used in the food and beverage industry.
A branded sealing material that can be used for high-temperature applications. Can withstand temperatures between -20 to +200ºC.
Qualities of Manways
Stainless steel is the widely used metal alloy for these access ports. Stainless steel is a metal alloy that comes with many unique properties such as corrosion-resistance, chemical-resistance, high strength to weight ratio, and affordable price. User-practicality, efficiency, value for money, and aesthetic appeal are the other qualities to highlight here. Which means you should buy your product from a reputable Manways supplier in your city. Also, you should choose the right product type that suits your application the most as choosing the wrong type can lead to sudden failure. Disasters can happen when a pressure vessel or a chemical tank fails. You may need to contact a professional in the industry, technician, or an engineer who can recommend you the right product.
We can further categorize Manways as low-pressure, cross-arm, high-pressure, and mid-pressure. The diameter of Manways is another factor to consider when shopping for a one. Round, rectangular, oval, and conical are the widely available shapes today.
What else to consider?
Well, stainless steel comes in various grades and qualities. So, make sure the manufacturer uses quality stainless steel for producing their Manways. Low-quality metal alloys can cause sudden failure. Which means you should not look for cheap alternatives in the market for serious applications such as chemical, gases, high-pressure, and high-temperature. The number of hinges or bolts with the metal alloy/sealing materials determine how strong the access point is. So, you can judge the robustness of the manway by how it looks (it is not a practical measure though.) Take a look at this picture to understand the structure of a robust access port (http://www.stirlingsaustralia.com.au/application/images/stirlings/lightbox/manway/manway1.jpg.)
The sum of its all
While the spray ball is there for making the cleaning process of vessels and tank easy; it cannot help you with day-to-day maintenance. So, entering the vessel is a must-do to perform inspections and maintenance. Manways are the access ports of vessels and tanks that lets technicians and engineers enter and perform inspections and maintenance. Anyway, opening points of a pressure vessel are its weak points. So, gases or liquids can leak through the opening. To prevent possible leakage, the Manways are designed in such a way to offer 100% sealing. The sealing material is the part that makes it possible.
Natural rubber is widely used for Manways sealing applications, but natural rubber has limitations in terms of temperature and chemical-resistance that it can withstand. Contact us today for questions and concerns about this versatile and useful product. Make sure you choose the right product that suits your application the most and buy it from a reputable manufacturer or a supplier in your city.