Fittings is a collective term for all the connective elements, installed in branching points, contractions and bends. These devices allow sealed blocking of traffic flow and, at the same time, simplify the process of assembling and disassembling the pipeline. A fitting may be made of metal or of softer materials; threaded, welded and tube fittings are the most common models, while flanges form a special group.
The article is kindly prepared by butt weld fittings UK manufacturing expert, Alexander Comley, a Birmingham-based firm with long years of successful experience under the belt.
The flange and its use
A true to type flange is a flat rectangular or round plate with holes for bolts throughout the perimeter. The main objective of the flange is ensuring strong and tight connection of pipes; flanges may also be used for connection of shafts and rotating parts. Flanges are produced in different shapes and sizes, though they are always mounted in pairs. To ensure the reliability and tightness of the connection a gasket is installed between the flanges. The shape and type of gasket, which is laid between the flanges depends on the pressure the pipeline is designed to deal with. Flat gaskets are used at a low pressure up to 4 MPa, while metal or asbestos pads are installed to withstand pressure up to 20 MPa. From time to time the seals are needed to be changed.
Flanges manufacturing technologies
Basically, there are three ways to produce steel flanges. In the first case, the flange is produced by hot stamping. A more innovative method of producing stainless steel flanges, practiced at AlexanderComley facilities, is gas cutting. Some flanges are made through bending and welding steel bands. Each method dramatically influences the quality of the final product and the cost of the finished flange respectively. However, much depends on the form needed to be delivered: thus, bespoke flanges of sophisticated forms demand pretty much technological effort to be manufactured; thus, e.g. tube sheet production, as claims Birmingham-based firm, one of the most resource-intensive processes. Read More