Sanitary Fittings And How They Differ From Regular Fittings
When it comes to piping applications, whether it be installation or repairs, the industrial, healthcare, and Food & Beverage (F&B) industries always turn to sanitary stainless steel pipe fittings in Singapore to get the job done. This is mainly because the substances they work with are highly sensitive, and the presence of contaminants such as germs and bacteria is unacceptable. Given that cleanliness and sanitation take high priority in various industries, specialised equipment that can meet such requirements are necessary to change and regulate the flow of such substances. The following sections cover why sanitary fittings matter and how they work differently from regular fittings.
What are regular and sanitary pipe fittings?
Pipe fittings are pieces of equipment that allow parts of pipe systems to connect along with any other related fluid control components to regulate fluid flow. The term ‘fittings’ is generally associated with the units used for plastic and metal pipes transferring fluids. Still, there are also other forms of pipe fittings used to combine pipes for components like handrails where having a leak-proof system is not necessary. Pipe fittings can be welded, threaded, chemically adhered, or mechanically joined.
Sanitary fittings are just like conventional fittings but are more carefully designed and manufactured for applications where there is a need for a high degree of sterility, hygiene, and cleanliness. They address the limitations of regular fittings, which cannot effectively prevent the accumulation, trapping, and spread of contaminants in the piping system. Certain facilities dealing with consumable substances, such as brewing plants or hazardous chemicals, must always ensure the purity of the substances flowing through their pipes to meet the necessary hygiene and safety requirements and prevent any safety hazards that could endanger their employees, assets, and bottom line.
Benefits of sanitary fittings
Besides their design and manufacturing process, another factor that separates regular and sanitary fittings are their materials. Regular fittings are typically made from copper, iron, aluminium, and other alloys, while sanitary fittings are most commonly made of stainless steel.
Unlike other metals, stainless steel is easy to clean and disinfect since it has very low roughness average (Ra) measurements, the indicator of the steel’s level of smoothness.
Smoothing out grooves or pores where microscopic dirt and debris could easily gain a foothold simplifies the cleaning process. Moreover, it is highly resistant to corrosion, preventing rusting and potentially contaminating the product. As such, they are considered safe for use with sensitive substances like food and beverages.
Stainless steel standards
Sanitary fittings are subject to various standards, namely 3-A, ASME, ANSI, and API, and are available in 304 and 316 and their extra-low carbon versions 304L and 316L.
The high levels of nickel and chromium in 304 steel make it relatively stainless and mostly corrosion-resistant, but it is still susceptible to chlorine or high saline environments. In contrast with 316 steel, which shares the same chemical composition but with added molybdenum, it is much more corrosion resistant and adds greater protection to the alloy. As such, 316 steel can be costlier than 304 steel.
Apart from its hygienic benefits, stainless steel has other advantages when used for fittings. It is a very sturdy and strong material yet relatively lightweight, can resist impacts, and is very easy to fabricate. This means stainless steel fittings are guaranteed to have a longer lifespan and are readily available.
Process piping systems are used in various industries in regulating and managing the flow of all sorts of substances. For facilities requiring a high standard of sanitation and cleanliness, hygienic or high purity piping using sanitary fittings are a must to preserve the integrity of the product and ensure the safety of the workforce.
If your facility’s process piping requires durable, sanitary valves and pipe fittings, Pharmchem Engineering has you covered! Our decades-long experience in creating quality and sophisticated solutions for all industrial fields means you can trust that our portfolio of engineering supplies, which includes anti-vibration mounts, expansion joints, and more, will be up to par with your needs and standards. Get in touch with us today to get solutions that match your needs.