4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Flanges for Your Industrial Piping Systems

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration under the US Department of Transportation estimates that there are approximately 160,521 miles of liquid petroleum pipeline and over 1,585,672 miles of natural gas pipeline across the nation. In 2019, the gas integrated transportation network delivered over 28.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to consumers.

Flanges play a crucial role in the oil and gas piping systems, connecting valves with other equipment. Pipe flanges are the second-most commonly used joining mechanism after welding. Using flanges provides added flexibility, allowing easier assembly and disassembly of pipe systems. They provide easier access during cleaning, repairs, and inspection of the oil and gas pipes.

But how do you find the right flanges for your company? Here are four factors to keep in mind during the flange selection process:

1. Flange Types

Flanges come in different types for industrial use. You may need to carefully choose an ideal flange design that fits with your piping systems. The most common types of flanges used in the petrochemical industry are:

  • Lap joint flange
  • Blind flange
  • Socket weld flange
  • Welding neck flange
  • Slip-on flange

Other special flanges commonly used in the oil and gas industry include:

  • Long weld neck flanges
  • Orifice flange
  • Expander flange
  • Reducing flange
  • Nipoflange

The flange design and face types may have a significant impact on the piping system’s final performance.

2. Material

Forged carbon steel pipe flanges are the most common type present within the market. Additionally, you can find flanges manufactured from stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, and bronze. You may also find flanges with specialty metals such as chrome-moly, Inconel, and Monel. The type of material used depends on the industrial application and piping systems. This is to ensure that they are strong and durable enough in the long run. However, in most instances, the flange is of the same material as the pipes.

3. Size

For a proper fit, you may need to look into your flange size and dimensions. You may need to be keen on how the flange interfaces with the gaskets and pipes to ensure an ideal size. Some standard dimension considerations include:

  • Outside diameter
  • Nominal bore size
  • Inner diameter
  • Bolt circle diameter
  • Thickness
  • Pipe size

These dimensional factors may come in handy when updating, maintaining, or updating piping systems.

4. Classifications

All flanges fall under different categories specified by ASME or ASTM standards. A specific flange type’s characteristic will significantly impact how it performs across a range of industrial environments. Steel pipes are available in a variety of styles and pressure classes. The metal flanges are classified from 150 to 2500 # rating. Some standard classifications used in petrochemical industries:

  • 150#
  • 300#
  • 600#
  • 900#
  • 1500#
  • 2500#

The different categories vary depending on the pressure and temperature tolerances, the flange design, size, or material used. The pressure ratings usually decrease as the temperature rises.

There’s virtually an endless list of configurations for pipe flanges that you can choose from for your piping systems. Do you have any questions about pipe fittings? Lynco Flange & Fitting understands the complexities of oil and gas piping, as we have been serving the industries across North America since 1982. Our experts are ready to engage you to find the right flange for your next project.

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