Whether you service cars, trucks, washing machines or airplanes, choosing the right clamp can be tricky. Clamps come in many different grades of material and sizes, and several are designed with specific attributes to meet the need of the environment it will be used in. And while clamps might look simplistic in form, choosing the wrong one can be catastrophic. Here’s four tips from NORMA experts on how to ensure you are choosing the right clamp for the job.
1. Analyze hose material
The type of clamp needed often depends on the material that the pipe or hose the clamp will be in contact with is made of. Some materials will require a clamp with a much higher grade of stainless steel while others – like softer hoses – will need a clamp with smooth or beveled edges to help ensure there is no damage to the hose. The steel grade you choose will also depend on the level of corrosion resistance, strength and formability that’s required.
2. Know your size range
Choosing the right size clamp is extremely important and should not just be eyeballed. Most clamps come with a minimum and maximum fitment so knowing the exact diameter of the hose or pipe you need to properly seal is your best case scenario. A clamp that is too large may cause the band to project out past its intended range and cause safety issues. Or a clamp that is too small may put unwanted additional pressure on a hose and eventually cause cavitation or a leak. In addition, certain size hoses may require a clamp with a more robust screw or different locking mechanism so it’s important to know exactly the size you need.
3. Account for environmental conditions
Different industries ultimately have different levels of stress and temperature extremes for clamps. These factors will impact the type of clamp you choose. Take a look at whether your clamp will be exposed to severe elements like ocean water, or high heat from an engine or from outdoor exposure. Also, look at the type of movement that your clamp will be subjected to like constant vibration or shaking. These environmental conditions will greatly impact the style of clamp and grade of steel you should choose. For instance, hoses that expand or contract due to temperature extremes need a special spring loaded clamp.
4. Pay attention to quality
Some hose clamps are just plain cheap. They may be made from steel but it could be a lower grade steel or they have a screw that doesn’t tighten or offer as much clamping force as a better quality clamp. Off shore or lower quality clamps are not worth the few cents you will save on a job done right. They tend to stretch and give way much sooner so always be sure you are getting your clamp from a reputable manufacturer and one willing to provide you will all the specifications.
For more information on the rigorous testing that NORMA clamps and connectors are put through, check out how we test our products or thumb through our featured products to see the wide range of clamps we offer.