Types of Stainless Steel Flanges: Which One is Best for You?

Flanges play a very crucial role in connecting pipes, valves, and other industrial equipment. They provide easy access during cleaning, repairs, and inspection. In heavy industry, flanges need to be chosen carefully since they can form a weak point in the system.

Why Choose Stainless Steel Flanges?

You want to get value for your money. Here is why stainless steel flanges are worth the investment.

  1. Resistance to Corrosion
    In every metal application, corrosion is an important consideration. In the U.S., around $9 billion goes to handling pipeline corrosion incidences. Metals are acted upon by rust, chemicals, as well as other environmental factors. Therefore, it would be best if you chose flanges that can withstand these factors. Stainless steel becomes a perfect choice since it has a high resistance to corrosion.
  2. Durability
    Stainless steel is durable and can withstand a lot of pressure. Although aluminum could be a cheaper option, it cannot withstand as much stress.
  3. Withstanding High Temperatures
    In industries, the temperatures could get a bit extreme. However, stainless steel flange fittings can withstand the temperatures without deformation or warping. Therefore, at no point will your system be compromised.

8 Types of Stainless Steel Flanges to Choose From

Here are some of the stainless steel flange fittings you could come across in the market, and what you need to know about them.

  1. Weld Neck Flanges
    Their distinct feature is their protruding neck. Long weld necks flanges have the same thickness as the pipe and are ideal for severe service conditions such as high pressure.
  2. Threaded Flanges
    They are only used for special applications. Notably, you can quickly assemble a threaded flange without welding. As the name suggests, they are compatible with pipes that have external threads. Unlike weld neck flanges, threaded flanges are not the right choice where high pressure, high temperature, and bending stresses are involved.
  3. Slip-on Flanges
    If you’re on a tight budget, consider slip-on flanges. They are the most affordable, but still, get the job done. It has to be slightly larger than the pipe, making it easier to slip over the pipe. These flanges are fillet welded to a position, and they too can’t withstand high pressure.
  4. Lap Joint Flanges
    They are a type of slip-on flanges but are used with stub end fittings. They are perfect for systems that undergo regular inspection and maintenance.
  5. Socket Weld Flanges
    They are quite durable and are ideal for small diameter and high-pressure piping. They have internal welds which enhance their durability and fatigue strengths. They are mostly used in the chemical processing industry.
  6. Ring-Type Joint Flanges
    These flanges can withstand high pressure and high temperatures. They have a groove that can easily be compressed on bind, slip-on, or weld neck flanges. They help in avoiding leaks in pipelines under high pressure.
  7. Orifice Flanges
    These flanges provide access to a line of metering liquids or gases. They are installed together with orifice plates or flow nozzles.
  8. Blind Pipe Flanges
    Blind flanges don’t have a bore and are used to seal piping systems or vessels. A blind flange has to withstand high stress due to internal pressure. They come in handy for systems that require regular inspection.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Stainless Steel Flange Fittings

Having so much to choose from, how do you decide where to place your money? Here are four factors to consider.

Fluid Type
The type of fluid you are conveying in your pipeline dictates what flange to use. Consider its temperature and pressure so that a flange can serve you longer.

If you are conveying toxic fluids, you want flanges that guarantee zero leaks. Otherwise, the fluids could cause soil contamination and other environmental risks. In that case, choose tighter and stronger flanges.

The Risk of Contamination
Some pipelines convey sensitive fluids such as in pharmaceutical applications. You have to ensure that your flanges don’t contaminate the fluids.

The Law
The fugitive emission laws in your country is another factor to consider. Violating these laws could land you in legal trouble, which is not good for any company.

Joints and weld fittings are generally a weak point, so you have to tread carefully. Choose the right grade of stainless steel flange fittings, even if it means spending more.

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