Sanitary stainless steel fittings, or hygiene fittings, are small but incredible pieces of plumbing equipment that connect sanitary stainless steel tubing and piping to each other. These fittings can change and regulate the flow of liquids throughout the system of pipes. These fittings are most commonly found in facilities like breweries or beverage companies because the stainless steel is so hygienic and easy to clean due to its lack of pores, making it easy to get rid of contaminants. Here are five essential sanitary tube fittings you should know.
The first essential sanitary tube fitting you should know is perhaps also the most familiar to even the uninitiated. Gaskets are ring-shaped seals that support flange joints to prevent pipes from leaking. To accomplish this, gasket seals are designed to withstand various pressures and temperatures, making them excellent sealants when they’re properly fitted.
A common mistake when using gaskets is to over tighten the flange joints and other mating surfaces that are using a gasket. This puts far too much pressure on the gaskets and will eventually destroy them once the stress becomes overwhelming.
Flanges are the joining method used to connect pipes, tubing, valves, and other pieces of equipment together. This is often the default alternative to welding as a way to join two components together. The reason you might prefer flanges over welding is that welding is permanent, whereas flanges can be disassembled so that the components can be repurposed or simply taken apart for cleaning and maintenance.
Another alternative to welding, unions are best used for low-pressure smaller diameter piping systems. They’re also easier to dismantle than flanges, so they may be preferable for systems that need to be taken apart for cleaning and maintenance on a regular basis. Unions consist of a male part, a female part, and a nut. These components ensure that when the ends are connected, the seal is completely leakproof.
Tees are three-way fittings that, as you might imagine, look like the letter “T”. These fittings are used to collect and distribute fluids from a run pipe and are usually very short. Like flanges, the tees are applied to pipes and tubes through butt welding, gaskets, or threading.
Similar to tees, crosses are simply four-way fittings and come in two variations: either with one inlet and three outlets or three inlets and one outlet. They’re ideal for low-pressure and low-temperature environments, such as pharmaceuticals, because the design already puts stress on the fitting and the connecting pipes.