Flexible connectors deliver a resilient, safe, and cost-efficient strategy for creating a piping connection. Typically made from flexible hoses, these connectors are developed to isolate or absorb high-frequency, low-amplitude engine vibrations from the exhaust piping.
Meanwhile, flexible hoses are built from a single ply of small corrugations, allowing the material to move with vibration. Flexible hoses are not ideal for applications that will cause them to compress. When flexible hoses experience compression, the braid will bulge forcibly, stripping the assembly of its pressure-retaining features.
Cenflex offers highly customizable flexible connectors for piping systems that require unique specifications. Our robust, custom-engineered flexible connectors can withstand physical system stressors while meeting customer demands and expectations.
Applications of Flexible Connectors
Flexible connectors enable piping systems to move as they should while evading the damage that stiff piping can cause. In addition, these connectors include the following applications:
- Compensates, not correct, for piping misalignment by reducing stresses
- Controls vibrations in normal mechanical equipment
- Promotes longevity of piping systems
- Allows operations in high and low temperatures
- Absorbs thermal growth motion by delivering optimum protection for adjacent equipment and piping systems
Benefits of Flexible Connectors
The primary purpose of flexible connectors is to prolong the life of a piping system by alleviating hydraulic shock and facilitating piping connections.
Additionally, flexible connectors deliver high strength, corrosion resistance, and extreme temperature endurance. They also integrate noise and vibration that make exhaust piping systems more reliable, boost their performance, and improve shelf life.
Selection Considerations For Flexible Connectors
Flexible connectors play a critical role in guaranteeing piping connections’ safety and easy installation. They are typically used to reduce line shock and promote a more durable piping system.
Installing flexible connectors could be challenging as users must consider some factors to ensure the success and usability of these piping systems. These considerations include the following:
- Operating Temperature: Temperature substantially influences any material’s physical properties; it is vital to consider a flexible connector’s resistance to a particular temperature and pressure level to guarantee their dependability.
- Connection Pipe Size: Installers should use the appropriate size for flexible connectors depending on the existing matting and piping fittings. Also, velocity, pressure drop, and flow rate should be considered when selecting the right connection pipe size.
- Pressure Rating: Bending stresses and shocking conditions should also be considered when choosing flexible connectors as they impact the connectors and the piping system’s durability.
- Corrosion Vulnerability: Flexible connectors act as a medium to transfer fluids like oil, water, chemicals, air, and stream through the piping system. Thus, installers should select flexible connector types to withstand these media and avoid corrosion build-up.
- Space Availability: Installers should also take into account the available space for the connectors to absorb motion and vibrations from the piping system.
- Motion Type and Amount: Flexible connectors vary in resistance limits depending on the amount and type of motion they absorb. Hence, the flexibility and versatility of the connectors should be considered prior to installation.
- Fittings To Existing Connections: The installers should ensure they use the proper hose length and appropriate end fittings. Flexible connectors often experience failure due to mishandling and improper installation. Hence, it is essential to use the right flexible connector and ensure it is sited at the correct area in the piping system.
Types of Flexible Connectors
Flexible connectors usually vary in shape and size, depending on their customized design and specification. However, they are commonly categorized into four main types: rubber, braided hose, metal bellows, and PTFE connectors.
Because they act as connector joints, rubber connectors can expand and contract depending on the exhaust piping requirement. These connectors are classified into two types — spherical and spool. The spherical rubber connector is the most prominent and economical as it is easy to install, provides excellent flow-through, and minimizes the accumulation of turbulence and sediment. Meanwhile, spool type connectors contain full-face rubber flanges supported with metal backing rings. They are used to reduce the system’s stiffness.
Braided Hose Connector
Unlike rubber connectors, braided hose cannot compress or extend as the piping system requires. However, it is ideal for applications that require resistance to high temperatures, as the flexible portion of this connector is made of stainless steel braid.
Metal Bellow Connectors
These expansion joints can compress like rubber connectors and are resistant to high temperatures like braided hose connectors. Metal bellow connectors are also perfect for many chemical applications but are more expensive than other flexible connectors.
Since they are ideal for corrosive chemical applications, PTFE connectors have a longer lifespan than rubber or metal types. However, they have limited pressure capacities and do not apply to systems with high temperatures.
Custom-Engineered Flexible Connectors From Cenflex
Cenflex’s over three decades of industry experience allowed us to provide customized solutions to fully respond to our customer’s unique demands and specifications. Our flexible connectors at Cenflex are highly customizable and are thoroughly tested to ensure top-notch quality and performance.