process-piping-making-connectionsIn part one of our two-part discussion on mechanical design, we discussed the definition of process piping, types of products that can be piped, materials used in process piping, and how to anticipate needs and budget for the future of your company.  Let’s recap:

  • Process piping is the tubing used to convey raw materials through industrial and manufacturing production processes.
  • Examples of materials that can be piped can be as simple as air and water.  Caustic materials that can be destructive to certain piping materials include chemicals and soaps.  The food industry can pipe anything from beer to chocolate and has strict cleaning and maintenance regulations in place to protect consumers from contaminated products.
  • TMS utilizes a wide range of piping materials from PVC and HDPE plastics to carbon and stainless steel.
  • Each piping material has a specific use for the materials being piped.  TMS design services can assist you in determining which piping material best suits your safety regulations, current and future production needs, and your budget.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to make the best connections that will keep your product moving through the pipeline.

Connections – What’s Your Type?

Threaded Pipe
Threading is one of the most common means of connecting pipes.   You simply cut threads into each end of the pipe and screw the pipes together.  Depending on the type of material being piped, you can opt for a straight thread (the thread itself does not provide a seal) or a tapered thread (the cut of the thread provides a measure of sealing).  Delivery of gases will typically require a tapered thread.

A word of caution, however.  If the piping is going to be installed in an area where there will be a considerable amount of vibration, you might want to consider going with a different type of connection.  Vibrations will jostle the pipes and, in some cases, can cause the joints to loosen, resulting in leakage.  If you are piping gas, chemicals or other hazardous material, you can see how this can quickly become a safety issue.

Welding is one of the most reliable, long-lasting means of connecting pipes.  This is where we melt the actual piping material in a controlled fashion and fuse the fitting and pipe directly to each other.  Welding is highly recommended for industries transporting hazardous materials or food and drink products.

In this latter instance, our welding experts have a considerable amount of experience working with food grade piping.  They are extremely knowledgeable about AIB (American Institute of Baking) food safety standards and the welding processes used are a reflection of that.  TMS welders use ultra-clean TIG (tungsten inert gas) and orbital welding methods to ensure safe transport of food products.  These welding processes are ideal when connecting thinner metals such as stainless steel, which is often used in piping food products.

Groove Lock
Groove Lock, or grooved couplings, might be the right choice for you, again, depending on the materials you’re piping.  Installation of grooved couplings can be up to three times faster than welding, and, in some cases, proves to be more reliable than threading.  Coupling also allows for easy removal of a section of pipe for cleaning and maintenance.  This can also result in reduced “shut down” time during production.

For non-welded connections, ProPress coupling products are quickly gaining in popularity due to ease of installation, variety of connectors and, most recently, becoming the only UL-approved stainless press fitting for fire protection systems.  The makers boast “unique press technology to secure pipe connections in less than seven seconds”.

As you’ve seen from this series on process piping, there are a variety of materials and means to transport your valuable products from origin to delivery.  Before you map out your engineering plans, be sure to contact the design services team here at TMS.  We’ll help you make the right connections!