What are the different Stainless Steel connection types?

There are as many ways to build a brewery as there are brewers. Each facility starts with different ideas and connection methods and they all have advantages and disadvantages. With most of these connections, they require a hard piece and a soft piece, the fitting and the gasket. Seals are much more effective when there is an elastic part to bend with the stainless steel. 

Weld

  • Also referred to as a butt weld
  • Uses TIG welding to connect two pieces of stainless steel
  • A high degree of sanitation when properly installed
  • A low degree of maintenance when properly installed
  • Intended for permanent fixtures such as piping
  • A higher cost for the connection itself

Tri-Clamp

  •  Originally developed by Alfa-Laval using the product name "Tri-Clover"
  • This needs two Tri-Clamp ends (ferrules), a clamp, and a gasket to seal
  • Designed for Sanitary tubing
  • Easy to put in place and seal
  • Doesn't leak before coming loose
  • Very common with North American Food & Beverage facilities

DIN

  • Originally developed in Germany, short for the Deutsche Industrial Norme
  • Common types for Food and Beverage are Type 11850 (Metric) and 11851 (Imperial)
  • Threaded connection, will need a special wrench to open and close
  • Will leak before coming loose, good warning sign!
  • This needs one male end, one female end, a gasket, and a nut to seal
  • Very common in Europe and China
  • When installing German brewing equipment, the connection types can be Metric DIN, when running piping in North America, the Imperial DIN should be used for better access to materials

SMS

  • Originally developed in Sweden, short for the Swedish Milk Standard
  • Typically less common than DIN
  • This needs one male end, one female end, a gasket, and a nut to seal
  • Threaded connection, will need a special wrench to open and close
  • Will leak before coming loose, good warning sign!
  • Very common in Europe and China

Cam & Groove

  • Also called a "Camlock" fitting
  • Mostly used for hosing connections for many industries
  • This needs one male end and one female end
  • Easy to use with no tools to connect 
  • Good for quick changing hoses with low maintenance
  • More common with home brewing than professional brewing 

NPT Thread

  • North American technical standard, short for "National Pipe Thread"
  • More common in pipe (non-sanitary) applications than tube (sanitary)
  • Requires one male end and one female end
  • The material type will require different sealing aids
  • The fluid type and working pressure will require different sealing aids
  • Can be permanent or temporary, requires a wrench 

Garden Hose Thread

  • Typically used for water applications such as wash down hoses
  • Thread pitch is a little different from NPT with 11.5 threads per inch
  • Nominal inner diameter is usually 3/8", 1/2", or 3/4"
  • Requires a male end, a female end, and a gasket
  • Quick-release options are available

Hose Barb

  • Can be used in many liquid and gas applications
  • Allows for an easy push-connection of an elastic hose that is more difficult to remove
  • Great for connecting a stainless steel part to a flexible part, such as transfer hoses
  • Intended to be permanent, but can also be temporary as a connection
  • Requires a male barb end, a female hose end, and typically an external clamp
  • Pressure ratings are typically lower on this connection type as the hose and barb will dictate the maximum working pressure

Push To Connect

  • Can be used for many hydraulic and pneumatic applications
  • More used in the process side of a facility to supply air or hydraulic fluid to equipment
  • Requires a female port end and a male hose end
  • Sizing is very important, even when switching from Imperial to Metric, improper sizing can cause hoses to pop from the connection
  • Easy to install, easy to disconnect

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