Can a Camlock Avoid Accidents?
The camlock is an important component of hydraulic, fluid, and plumbing systems. Designed to bridge the gaps between large hoses, pipes, tanks, and spigots that were not designed to fit together, they can mean the difference between a closed and a leaking fluid system.
A camlock is a special type of pipe fitting that allows two pipes or hoses to be quickly and securely fastened either to other pipes, hoses or to tanks. Typically, the camlock consists of a female connector with two levers or “cams” on either side. The male hose or tank spout fits into the female connection, and the levers on the female camlock connection are locked down, exerting pressure to hold the male and female ends together in place. The other side of the camlock may have male or female pipe threads, allowing the camlock connector to screw onto another pipe, hose, or tank nozzle, thus securely connecting two different pipes that might not have otherwise been able to be connected. Users can also choose to cap or plug the camlock, sealing the end off.
Camlock couplings or fittings offer a much more secure coupling between hoses and pipes than any jerry-rigged connections. Not only do they allow for pipes to be connected, but the clamps or cams that press down on the connection exert a good deal of pressure, locking the fitting in place. This allows the camlock to get a stronger grip and helps prevent separation in even high pressure situations. A solid grip between pipes can be incredibly important when dealing with toxic or hazardous materials, or substances that are pressurized or experiencing extreme temperatures. They give an added layer of protection to help prevent accidents.
Choosing a Fitting
It is important to choose both the right size, material, and design of camlock fitting to help establish the most secure connections between fluid or gas systems. Fittings can come in a variety of different materials such as stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and polypropylene. Different types of materials are better for different materials being pumped through the system. For instance, polypropylene should be chosen for highly corrosive or acidic liquids because it will resist corrosion best. Brass is better for extreme temperatures as it does not bend or warp with either heat or cold. Always be sure to choose the right fitting for the specific pumping situation and select from a proven vendor.
Because the camlock does not use separate fasteners such as rings, bolts, or clamps, it is important to carefully and accurately affix the connections in installation. Always be sure to connect them under low pressure circumstances if at all possible. This can prevent blow back and ensure a solid attachment. Also, materials of the fitting and the pipe or hose should match; pair brass to brass and steel to steel. This can prevent excessive wear and also introduce a tighter connection. After the coupling is installed, all connections should be double checked before each use for any uneven pressure points and for any excessive wear. These few safety precautions can prevent costly and dangerous situations later.
Camlock fittings or couplings can hold a pipe connection better than regular screw set piping and are sometimes the only option for attaching fittings and hoses that are not originally designed to interconnect. When a leakproof connection is needed for even the most pressurized situations, a camlock can provide the assurance technicians need for an accident-free fluid system.