There are several factors to consider before determining which clamp is best for the job you are working on. And if you are of mind that ‘a clamp is just a clamp’, it’s time to dispel that myth because it couldn’t be further from the truth. You can’t just pick any clamp off the shelf and hope it does the trick. Clamps are made from a number of materials, come in different sizes and weights and have different features – like constant tension or a special locking technology. There is no such thing as a one size fits all solution. Engineered joining technology requires meticulous analysis and extensive research and development each and every time a new clamp is introduced.
Clamps are designed with environmental specificity and designated applications. Installing the wrong one could be detrimental to a maintenance or repair job.
The clamp you need depends on five very specific circumstances, outlined below:
- Temperature – Clamps are often exposed to extreme conditions and high temperature variations. That means pipes or hoses may expand or contract. The clamp you choose must be able to handle this type of change in heat. Thermal expansion must be considered carefully when selecting clamps – whether you are working on a new building/construction site or the cooling system of an aircraft.
- Materials – Pipes and hoses are made from different materials and will have varying reactions in different situations. Some metals can handle higher heat than others, while some plastics are more susceptible to chemicals or oils. Most certainly a plastic pipe needs a different type of clamp than a metal pipe. Also, plastic pipes and silicone hoses almost always require the use of a lined clamp to help avoid damage and corrosion. It’s important to note that clamps can loosen if materials are not considered appropriately.
- Clamping Force – Check your clamps to find out their load bearing capacity to ensure they meet your expectation and have the tensile strength to handle the torque required to seal the system they are integrated into.
- Environment – Is the location of your clamp exposed to severe elements like ocean waves or high heat from the sun or an engine? Is there constant vibration or movement that could impact its performance? The job you are working on plays a very big role in the type of clamp you would choose. For instance, farming machinery would need different types of clamps compared to a marine vessel.
- Size – The size of the hose you are clamping will definitely impact the size clamp you need and whether your clamp requires a single or double screw or some other locking technology.
Clamps have a number of standards they must meet in order to function properly to accommodate these five elements. Their design, material make-up, tensile strength, radial load, corrosive properties and more all play a huge role in their ability to meet and exceed performance expectations.