Jim Breeze, product manager, Instrumentation Connectors and Process Valves for Parker Hannifin, looks at how a clever, inexpensive innovation can help prevent fitting leakage and failure.
In all industrial processes, it is important to ensure that equipment is properly installed and maintained to avoid unplanned stoppages. Often, it is the simplest of oversites that can result in expensive downtime, although there are more serious consequences associated with failure such as blowouts, which have the potential to compromise the safety of the workforce.
From our extensive experience in the field, we know that non-bottomed tubing is a major factor that can result in leakage and potentially failure of a fitting. This can cause a real safety issue as there is the danger that the tubing can blow out, releasing high pressure hot or caustic process fluid into the immediate environment. It was because of this that we developed a gauge that would give engineers a visual indication of whether the tubing had been correctly installed.
Our gauge is simple to use – it is safe and reliable – but, more importantly, it ensures that installation is right the first time, every time. It allows the end-user to check that the correct turns of the nut are made and can also ensure that the tube is fully bottomed within the fitting. It does this through the use of a depth marker which makes a polished line on the tubing. Once the nut has been tightened 1 ¼ turns from finger tight, the line will be visible above the nut.
Fig. 1. Parker PT Inspection Gauge
The gauge not only allows the end-user to check that the correct turns of the nut have been made, ensuring that it is not under or over-tightened but also ensures that the tube is properly bottomed in the fitting. All the user needs to do is insert the gauge lip, shown as (A) under the nut and the tube mark (B) should be in line with the polished line. This proves that the tubing has remained fully bottomed through the installation process.
Simple and effective, gauges such as this ensure the safety of personnel working in the immediate vicinity of the process, whilst avoiding unnecessary downtime and lost production through failure or leakage of the connection. Parker Gauges are definitely worth considering if you are looking for a tube fitting solution that offers greater safety and security, whilst extending Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF).
Fig. 2. Correct verification of tube bottoming
Jim Breeze is product manager, Instrumentation Connections and Process Valves, Instrumentation Products Division Europe.