Understanding pipe fittings manufacturing methods is an essential part of every machine engineer’s training and education. It’s helpful in assessing inner mechanics of pumps, motors, boilers, and other rotary equipment. Pipe fittings aren’t just limited to plastic or metal pipes used for water passaging.
Pipe fitting include various smaller components such as mechanical seals that are designed to provide fluid-control mechanism in the pipelines and tanks. A common pipe fitting system also include elbows, tee, adapters, olets, bush, steam traps, flanges, valves, expansion joins, etc.
Pipe fittings are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and materials and are used in diverse industrial applications. Some pipe fittings are used in threaded and welded systems whereas, others for adhered or mechanically joined machines.
However, in this blog, we’ll discuss typical pipe fittings manufacturing processes.
1. Mandrel Mill Process
The Mandrel Mill Process uses a solid circular billet charged into a revolving hearth furnace. A mall hole is exerted into the billet after its release from the furnace. This punched hole acts as the starting point of the rotary piercing. The rotary piercing process is the main highlight of Mandrel Mill pipe manufacturing. It’s a dynamic rolling function that rolls preheated billet around a cylindrical mold at high rpm.
The high intensity rotary cross rolling produces highly tensile billet center with a high temperature piercing point alloy that permits the metal to flow over the mold. This forms a pipe shell at the end of the rotary process that is immediately transferred into the floating mandrel mill.
2. Extrusion Process
Extrusion process uses a billet of a relatively smaller cross sectional area with varying lengths of the extruded parts. This process can be used to manufacture different types of cross section pipes. Pipe fittings are directly extruded through a mandrel attached to a mold block.
A hole is created parallel to the axis of the ram during the extrusion.
The mandrel is inserted through this hole allowing the extruded metal to flow and form the exterior surface. The exterior is formed by the mandrel whereas the interior is formed using the extruding die.
There are two sub-categories of the extrusion process:
· Hot Extrusion Method
In the hot extrusion process, pipe fittings with larger diameters and thicker walls can’t be manufactured by the hydraulic bulge method. This method uses relatively bigger diameter molds. Moreover, it also offers the flexibility of changing body dimensions by pressing the die if required.
· Cold Extrusion Method
The cold extrusion process is commonly used to manufacture elbow pipe fittings. In this process, the piping has the same diameter as the finished product and is pushed through the die to achieve the desired shape and size. Cold extrusion method is popular for making metal elbows.
Pipe fittings produced via heat methods don’t require final heat treatment whereas the products obtained via cold processes may be treated using one or more of the following heat treatments:
- Solution Toughening
- Stress discharging
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