St Marys Carbon Knowledge Base

Choosing & Replacing Carbon Graphite Component Parts

Finding a comparable material for existing components isn’t a straightforward process, especially if the material in question is carbon graphite. Carbon graphite comes in a substantial variety of grades, each with their own unique properties.

Even if datasheets are available, if you’re switching to a competitor, that sort of information isn’t always going to be publicly available. Finding a comparable carbon graphite grade often requires extensive testing to determine the chemical composition, and an overall review by materials engineers may even be necessary for certain applications.

This process may be lengthy, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure you select a carbon graphite grade that meets your needs.


Types of Carbon Graphite Component Parts

Carbon graphite’s durability and versatility make it the ideal material for a variety of components, including:

  • Mechanical Seals: A mechanical seal is a device used in industrial machinery to create a secure and effective sealing mechanism between two components, often involving a rotating part and a stationary part. Its primary purpose is to prevent the leakage of liquids or gases.
  • Bearings and Bushings: These are mechanical components used to reduce friction and enable smooth movement between two surfaces. They play a crucial role in various machines and equipment where relative motion between parts is involved.
  • Rotors and Vanes: These are components commonly used in various mechanical systems, especially in machines that involve fluid flow, such as pumps, compressors, turbines, and engines.
  • Wear Plates: Wear plates are specialized components used to protect surfaces from abrasion, impact, corrosion, and other forms of wear and damage. They are commonly employed in industrial equipment and machinery where the surfaces are subject to friction, contact with abrasive materials, or other forms of wear over time.
  • Turbine and Compressor Rings: These are components used in gas and steam turbines and compressors to create a seal between different sections of the machinery, prevent leakage, and optimize the efficiency of the systems. These rings play a critical role in maintaining the proper functioning of these high-performance machines.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Replacement Carbon Graphite Component Parts

If you are looking for a replacement carbon graphite component, you’re likely either looking for a better material or you’re looking for an equivalent material. If your current product is failing, a better material is in order. However, if you are simply switching manufacturers for one reason or another, you just need something that is comparable.


Regardless of your needs, make sure to consider these factors when choosing a replacement:

Material Quality

1. Material Quality

If your existing carbon graphite grade is causing your product to fail, material quality is a problem. The good news is that carbon graphite is versatile enough that there’s likely an existing grade that will fulfill your needs.

For example, St. Marys Carbon has over 400 proprietary grades to choose from, so you can always find a grade that satisfies any regulatory or application-specific requirements.

Even if you’re merely looking for an equivalent carbon graphite grade, material quality is still something to pay attention to. Working with a carbon graphite manufacturer that develops and mixes their own grades is one of the best ways to ensure you have access to quality materials.


Customer Service

2. Customer Service

When looking for a replacement carbon graphite grade, choosing a manufacturer that offers good customer service is paramount. First and foremost, excellent customer service ensures clear communication and responsiveness throughout the manufacturing process. It helps in addressing questions, concerns, and potential issues promptly, leading to smoother collaborations and a more efficient production timeline.

Additionally, a manufacturer with total customer service is more likely to understand your specific needs, preferences, and constraints. They can provide personalized solutions and guidance tailored to your requirements, ultimately leading to a product that aligns better with your expectations.


Coating and Impregnation

3. Coating and Impregnation Options

If your existing carbon graphite component is failing frequently or running into issues, you may want to consider coating and impregnation options when looking for a replacement manufacturer.

The porosity of carbon graphite means it can be impregnated to either adjust said porosity or enhance certain characteristics like strength or oxidation resistance. Additionally, coatings can be applied to alter or improve a carbon graphite component.

Instead of continuing to put up with performance issues, work with your new manufacturer to find a new material that works specifically for you.


Lead Times

4. Lead Times

If you find the ideal replacement for your carbon graphite component, what good does it do if the manufacturer can’t deliver the parts on time? Finding a manufacturer with agreeable lead times is crucial for efficient project management and meeting deadlines. Predictable lead times allow for better planning, reducing uncertainties and delays in production schedules. This ensures that your products are manufactured and delivered within the expected timeframe.


Sourcing Replacement Carbon Graphite Component Parts

Selecting the right carbon graphite manufacturer for your replacement product involves understanding how they fit your needs and asking pertinent questions. The manufacturer's role in transforming designs into finished products significantly impacts your business success. While what defines a good partnership varies, finding a manufacturer aligned with your business is crucial.

Here are several things to keep in mind when sourcing replacement carbon graphite parts:

1 Experience and Materials:

Assess if they have experience in your application and offer essential materials.

2 Carbon Graphite Grades:

Inquire if they develop and mix their own grades for customization.

3 Customization Options:

Ensure they offer diverse carbon graphite customization options.

4 Communication:

Understand their communication process and collaboration strategies.

5 Dedicated Account Manager:

Check if they provide a dedicated contact for personalized support.

6 Lead Time:

Discuss typical lead times and handling of rush orders.

7 Alternative Manufacturing:

Ask about alternative manufacturing methods to reduce costs.

8 Scalability:

Determine if they can accommodate your business growth.

9 Innovation:

Seek manufacturers committed to innovation and improvement.

Identify your requirements and preferences, then evaluate potential manufacturers based on the above factors. Thorough vetting enhances the likelihood of forming a successful partnership aligned with your needs and goals.


Wrapping Up: Sourcing Comparable Carbon Graphite Component Parts

Finding a suitable replacement material, especially when dealing with carbon graphite, involves navigating a complex process. With a diverse range of grades, each boasting unique properties, the challenge lies in identifying comparable alternatives. Even with datasheets, switching to a competitor might lack publicly available information, often necessitating extensive testing and materials engineering assessment.

While this process may be time-consuming, it's essential to ensure the selection of a carbon graphite grade that meets your specific requirements.

Factors such as material quality, customer service, coating options, and lead times significantly impact the decision-making process. Prioritizing these aspects ensures a successful transition to a new manufacturer that aligns with your needs and business goals.

For more information about our services, call us at 814.781.7333