Sponsored Tri-Clamp Sizing Made Easy: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the right tri-clamp size ensures a secure and leak-free connection in your brewery. Tri-clamps, also known as tri-clover clamps, are essential components in brewing and other sanitary applications. They connect various pieces of equipment, such as pipes, valves, and tanks, while maintaining a sanitary and tight seal. However, figuring out the correct tri-clamp size can be a bit perplexing, especially for those new to the brewing industry. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of tri-clamps, their history, terminology, and the essential tips you need to know to select the right size and ensure a proper connection.

A Brief History of Tri-Clamps

The sanitary connection we know today as “tri-clamp” has a rich history. Originally trademarked as “Tri-Clover” by Alfa-Laval, a sanitary equipment manufacturer, it became synonymous with high-quality connections in the industry. Later, Ladish Co. rebranded it as “Tri-Clamp,” a name that has become widely recognized. Tri-clamp connections were eventually standardized by the DIN-32676 specification for sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 6 inches, making them a global standard for sanitary industries.

Terminology

Understanding key terminology associated with tri-clamps is essential for making informed choices:
Flange or Ferrule: This refers to the circular end of a tri-clamp pipe or fitting with a groove in the face designed to hold a gasket.
Gasket: A gasket is a rubber component that fits between two flanges, forming an airtight seal when clamped.
Clamp: The clamp joins two tri-clamp flanges and can be tightened using either a thumbscrew or bolts.

Why Use Tri-Clamps?

Tri-clamps offer advantages that make them the preferred choice in many industries, including brewing:

  • Easy to Clean: Tri-clamps are easily disassembled and reassembled for cleaning. They do not have tight spaces that are challenging to clean thoroughly.
  • Sanitary Connection: Tri-clamp connections leave no room for contaminants or bacteria to grow, making them ideal for sanitary applications.
  • Industry Standard: Tri-clamp is a standard fitting used in various sanitary industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and biotech.

Flange Identification

Identifying and measuring tri-clamp flanges is essential for selecting the correct size.

  • Measurement: Tri-clamp sizes are determined by the outside diameter (OD) of the tubing or pipe, not the outside diameter of the flange.
  • Flange Diameter: Interestingly, some tri-clamp flanges share the same diameter, such as 1/4″ and 3/4″, or 1″ and 1.5″. This compatibility allows flanges with the same diameter to use the same clamps.

Understanding Tri-Clamp Sizing

Tri-clamp sizes are determined by the outer diameter (OD) of the tubing or pipe to which they will be connected. These sizes are typically expressed in inches, with common sizes ranging from 1/2″ to 12″ or more, catering to a wide variety of applications. It is important to note that the OD of the tubing or pipe should match the tri-clamp size for a proper fit.

Why Tri-Clamp Sizing Matters

Choosing the correct tri-clamp size is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Seal Integrity: A mismatch in sizes can result in leaks, compromising the integrity of your connections and potentially leading to contamination or product loss.
  2. Hygiene: Maintaining a hygienic environment is critical in sanitary applications like brewing. A proper tri-clamp fit ensures no crevices or gaps where bacteria or other contaminants can accumulate.
  3. Efficiency: A snug fit between the tri-clamp and tubing or pipe ensures optimal flow rates and minimizes turbulence, improving the efficiency of your processes.

Using the Glacier Tanks Sizing Guide

Glacier Tanks offers a helpful sizing guide to simplify selecting the right tri-clamp size for your needs (Below)

Here is how to use it effectively:

  1. Measure the Outer Diameter (OD): Start by measuring the outer diameter of the tubing or pipe that you will be connecting with the tri-clamp. Use a caliper or a reliable measuring tool to obtain an accurate measurement.
  2. Refer to the Sizing Guide: Visit the Glacier Tanks website and access their tri-clamp sizing guide. This guide is often presented as a chart or table, making it easy to cross-reference your measured OD with the corresponding tri-clamp size.
  3. Select the Correct Size: Once you have identified the tri-clamp size that matches your measured OD, you are ready to make your selection. Glacier Tanks typically offers a range of tri-clamp products in assorted sizes, ensuring you can find the perfect fit for your application.

Common Tri-Clamp Sizes and Applications

While the choice of tri-clamp size depends on your specific equipment and needs, here are some common sizes and their typical applications:

  • 1/2″ and 3/4″ Tri-Clamps: These smaller sizes are often used to connect fittings, valves, and smaller tubing in homebrew setups or applications where space is limited.
  • 1″ and 1.5″ Tri-Clamps: These sizes are versatile and suitable for various connections, including pumps, valves, and smaller tanks.
  • 2″ and 2.5″ Tri-Clamps: These mid-sized clamps are commonly used for connecting larger pipes and equipment in commercial breweries and industrial settings.
  • 3″ and Larger Tri-Clamps: These larger sizes are typically found in industrial-scale breweries and facilities with substantial tubing and tanks.

Tips for a Secure Connection

To ensure a secure and leak-free connection when using tri-clamps, consider the following tips:

  1. Proper Gasket Selection: Use the appropriate gasket material for your application, whether EPDM, silicone, or another suitable material. Make sure the gasket size matches your tri-clamp and the OD of your tubing or pipe.
  2. Tighten Evenly: When securing the tri-clamp, tighten the bolts or clamp evenly in a crisscross pattern to distribute the pressure uniformly and create a tight seal.
  3. Check for Wear: Regularly inspect your tri-clamps and gaskets for signs of wear, damage, or deterioration. Replace any components that show wear and tear to maintain a dependable seal.
  4. Maintain Cleanliness: Keep all components clean and debris-free to ensure a sanitary connection. Proper cleaning and sanitation practices are essential in brewing and other food-related industries.

Selecting the right tri-clamp size is fundamental in achieving secure and leak-free connections in your brewery or sanitary application. By measuring the outer diameter of your tubing or pipe and referring to the Glacier Tanks sizing guide, you can confidently choose the correct tri-clamp size for your needs. Remember that a proper fit ensures seal integrity and contributes to your processes’ overall efficiency and hygiene. So, whether you are a seasoned brewmaster or just starting your journey in the world of brewing, mastering tri-clamp sizing is an essential skill that will serve you well in your pursuit of crafting exceptional brews.

TRI CLAMP DIMENSIONS & SIZING GUIDE
A brief guide to understanding Tri Clamp sizing & style, and selecting the correct gasket

Tube ODFlange ODClamp Size
1/2"0.984"3/4" Clamp
3/4"0.984"3/4" Clamp
1"1.984"1.5" Clamp
1.5"1.984"1.5" Clamp
2"2.516"2" Clamp
2.5"3.047"2.5" Clamp
3"3.579"3" Clamp
4"4.682"4" Clamp

The Tri Clamp fittings can be confusing for those not familiar with them, but if you remember these few simple guidelines working with and sizing them will be a much easier task:

  1. Tri Clamp is the common name for sanitary fittings with a clamp end ferrule.
  2. Tri Clamp size is determined by the OD (outside diameter) of the tubing, not the diameter of the ferrule flange.
  3. For smaller OD tubing (1/2″ & 3/4″) and (1″ & 1.5″), the Tri Clamp ferrules sizes are combined for each pair.
  4. Compatible sizes can be joined directly, but different OD tubes will affect flow; also always use the larger gasket size.
  5. Please double check everything to avoid errors in ordering and assembly.

Determining the Correct Tri Clamp Size

The most important factor to remember is that Tri Clamp size is determined by the outside diameter (OD) of the tubing, and NOT the outside diameter of the flange. This distinction is important because the Tri Clamp flange, which follows a standard, is approximately 1/2″ larger than the tubing and is the most common point of confusion. Thus a 1.5″ Tri Clamp fitting, will have a flange that is 1.984″ (almost 2″ on a tape measure), and if we go by the flange measurement and order a 2″ Tri clamp to match, we find our newly arrived fitting is about 1/2″ too large.

Another significant point of confusion comes from the smaller OD tubing. The 1/2″ and 3/4″ tubes both share the 3/4″ Tri Clamp ferrule (0.984″ flange), and the same is true for the 1″ and 1.5″ tubes which share the 1.5″ Tri Clamp ferrule (1.984″ flange) – two clamp sizes for 4 different fittings. As a result, two pairs of different sized tubing are compatible and can be connected together, but we encourage you to read the next section to get a more thorough understanding of how to do this properly and the effect it will have.

Understanding the Joining and Gasket Selection for Compatible Sizes

Because you can directly join each pair of smaller compatible sizes, it is important to be aware of the effect this has on the material flowing through the tubing. The different sized tubing will behave just like an end cap reducer that has an abrupt size change, but without the explicit need for a reducer. On larger tubing (2″+) you would need a reducer specifically to transition sizes. This can be accomplished with either an end cap reducer, or a concentric/eccentric reducer both of which are tapered and allow a more gradual transition between sizes. The smaller compatible sizes also have concentric/eccentric reducers that avoid the abrupt size change.

The second important consideration is the gasket. On larger tubing (2″+) using the appropriately sized gaskets is pretty straightforward, and when clamped these gaskets have minimal intrusion into the flow of material. However, that is not as easily the case when joining a larger tube OD directly to a smaller tube OD of a compatible clamp size. The correct gasket will be sized to the larger of the two tubes. For example: When joining a 1.5″ tube to a 1″ tube, if a 1″ gasket is used, you run risk of unsanitary conditions around the unclamped section of a 1″ gasket loosely held against the face of the 1.5″ tube flange. The correct gasket choice is a 1.5″ gasket. The same is true when combining 1/2″ and 3/4″ tubing, which should be joined by a 3/4″ gasket. The only time a 1/2″ or a 1″ gasket are used is when you are combining two 1/2″ or two 1″ OD tubes, respectively.

Clamp Style Selection

Our Tri Clamp fitting clamps come in three main types: a 2-segment (single hinge), a 2-segment (double hinge), and a high-pressure, bolted version without a hinge.

The single hinge design is considered cost-effective and functional for most applications. The double hinge design is more flexible, so they are easier to install in tight spaces. Both of these designs have similar pressure ratings, however, we carry a limited selection of the double hinge variant due to customer needs.

The high-pressure bolted clamp has two sections without a hinge. They are instead bolted together using a lock washer and brass nut; brass is chosen because it is naturally resistant to galling and seizing on stainless steel bolts. These are more suited to a permanent or semi-permanent application where frequent service is not needed or high-pressure safety supersedes ease of service.

Single Hinge (13MHM)Double Hinge (13MHHM-DP)High Pressure (13MHP)
Size70F250F70F250F70F250FMax Torque
3/4 in.150012001500120015001200130 In LBf
1.5 in.50025050025015001200130 In LBf
2 in.4502504502501000800130 In LBf
2.5 in.4002004002001000800130 In LBf
3 in.3501503501501000800130 In LBf
4 in.200125200125800600200 In LBf
6 in.15075300200200 In LBf
8 in.10050250150200 In LBf
10 in.4030200125200 In LBf
12 in.3025150100200 In LBf

Cheers to leak-free connections and successful brewing!

About Glacier Tanks:
Glacier Tanks will help you reach your commercial brewing targets. We are a dedicated and passionate team committed to providing guidance and advice regarding all aspects of the brewing process. Glacier Tanks supply products suitable for your requirements, applications, brewing configuration, and industry.

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