Several manufacturing processes are employed to produce pipe fittings such as elbows, tees, and reducers.
Pipe fittings are typically fabricated from seamless pipes and welded pipes that include filler material. However, ERW (Electric Resistance Welded) and EFW (Electric Fusion Welded) pipes are not suitable for creating fittings. For the production of large-diameter fittings, plates are commonly used.
Pipe fittings are integral components in plumbing, mechanical, and industrial applications, used to connect sections of pipe or tube. Manufacturing these fittings involves various methods, each suitable for different types of fittings such as elbows, tees, reducers, caps, and stub ends. This article explores these diverse manufacturing processes.
The hot forming or extrusion process is a versatile manufacturing method, often used to create a variety of pipe fittings.
The extrusion process begins with heating a billet (a solid, cylindrical block of metal) until it’s pliable. The heated billet is then forced through a shaped die, a tool used to cut or shape material using a press.
As the billet is pushed through the die, it begins to take the shape of the die’s opening, forming a lengthy, straight pipe. Once fully through the die, the extruded metal is cooled and hardened, retaining its new form.
The extrusion method is especially useful for manufacturing long, straight pipe fittings. It is also used for creating complex profiles for various industrial applications, including the production of elbows and tees.
The hydraulic bulge method, a cold forming process, is another common technique used in the manufacturing of pipe fittings.
In the hydraulic bulge method, a tube is placed and sealed within a die. High-pressure hydraulic fluid is then introduced into the tube, causing it to expand and adapt to the shape of the die.
The pressure applied by the hydraulic fluid causes the metal tube to “bulge” outwards, matching the contours of the die. Once the hydraulic pressure is released, the now-expanded tube retains its new form.
The hydraulic bulge method is ideal for creating complex shapes or bends in pipe fittings, such as tees and reducers. It’s also used for manufacturing fittings that need to withstand high pressure, as the process results in a seamless and robust fitting.
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