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Thread: Tri Clamp Tightening

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    4

    Tri Clamp Tightening

    Hello:

    Can you tighten your clamp wing-nut by hand only or do you have to use a wrench or screwdriver?

    What percent of your clamp connections require the use of wrench or srewdriver to stop leaking?

    Thank you
    key

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,566
    With good clamps and wide wing nuts, you should never have to use a tool to tighten tri-clamps. If you have leaking tri-clamps, it may be because of damaged mating surfaces or a faulty gasket. They do not require tools or excessive force to make them seal perfectly. Don't let your hoses smack against the floor because you're too lazy to lay them down gently. (One of my pet peeves--can you tell?) My personal belief is that tools are useful only to repair things that are broken. I don't think that tools have a place in the every day running of a brewery. Now of course I'm not talking hydrometers or other instruments. This is one reason I favor tri-clamps over DIN or other fittings. Oetiker clamps and quick-connects over worm-screw hose clamps and hose barbs.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--
    Worldwide Brewery Installations
    www.GitcheGumeeBreweryServices.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Albuquerque, NM
    Posts
    84

    tightening tri-clamps

    While I agree that, with the use of undamaged/unswollen EPDM gaskets, you should never have to use a screwdriver, with teflon gaskets, I almost always do.

    It also depends on the quality of the clamps. The el cheapos that you can pick up through GW Kent and St. Pats don't do nearly the job of the cherry burrels.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
    Posts
    1,566
    Good point BW. For those instances where you must use teflon gaskets (like racking arms), a tiny amount of lubricant will also help seal well without resorting to tools. As much as you use these clamps all day every day, it pays to go with quality. Cheap brewery equipment is a false economy.
    Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--
    Worldwide Brewery Installations
    www.GitcheGumeeBreweryServices.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    387
    We need a dedicated post to cheap, average, acceptable and please stay away for brewery fittings. I almost never have to use anything other than my hands for tri-clamp fittings but the hard silicone ones can always use a wrench. The quality difference between quick disconnects is vast and Im sure its the same for most other brewery fittings. Its very frustrating to try and order pressure guages, CO2 regulators and the myriad other brewery essentials when the quality varies so greatly. IMHO do not buy CO2 guages from GW kent though the micro oxygenation system I bought from them works like a dream. Brass quick connects stink as far as I can tell. Anything other than a braided hose for gas doesnt hold up either. Stainless parts are expensive but brass anything has rarely worked out in the long term for me. Lets get a good post going on proper brewery fittings as the small stuff tends to generate the largest headaches at times!
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Santa Rosa CA USA
    Posts
    962
    Any flexible gasket, whether on a tri-clover, bevel seat, or manway gasket, all share the same mechanics. The sponginess provides pressure against the metal surfaces, making the seal. When a gasket is so squeezed beyond its sponginess, then it cannot do its job, and may be destroyed permananetly, or at least not make a proper seal while over-tightened.

    Contrast this to pipe fittings without gaskets where the philosophy is to gorilla the male and female pieces together so there is as much metal to metal contact as possible.

    If your gaskets leak, after confirming that the metal faces haven't been warped or scored, toss the gaskets and start gently with fresh ones.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    466
    I'd also like to point out that not all triclamp systems are necessarily compatible.

    The angle of the bevel on the clamping (not the mating) face of the fittings varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Thus, if you have one GW Kent fitting, one Sapporo Sanitary fitting, and a Cherry Burrel gasket clamped with a st.pats clamp...the clamp will bottom out (two sides will touch) before you get a good seal on the mating surfaces.

    The mating surfaces all seem to be pretty much the same. I agree that CB makes great gaskets, but I'm pretty much sold on the Sapporo Sanitary equipment...though I currently have none :-(

    As for dropping hoses, I like to buy foam rubber balls from the hardware store, core them out, and slide them over the end of the hose, just below the fitting. If you have some home-made hoses, it protects you from tearing your hands on an exposed clamp. Also, if I drop a hose by mistake, the fitting never hits the floor (though they can bounce pretty good.)
    best of all, it protects me from the occasional "hot hand" after having the hose hooked up to hot liq. I like the "super pinky" foam rubber balls best.
    Saves me olde knees, too!

    Nat

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    180
    Nice points, Nat. I especially like the rubber ball idea. Our hoses get dropped and dragged all the time, foam collars are not a stupid idea when you have tri-clovers.

    I'd go even further on tri-clover fittings not being the same. They even vary on internal diameter, we have hoses & fittings in two different 1.5" ID's and three different sizes of 1.5" ID gaskets.

    Particularly frustrating is variation on the ferrule flange thickness. All our clamps (and we have half a dozen different sorts) barely manage to go over two particular hose ferrules in our menagerie because the flanges are fatter than the rest.

    So yeah, 1.5" triclovers ain't always 1.5" triclovers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    217

    Sani-fit

    Our original Brewhouse came with clamps from Sani-fit and I've been hoping someone would replicate the clamp design ever since. They have a pretty deep groove a lightweight double hinge, which makes them ideal for sucking together the fittings and holding them tight by hand while you're flipping the catch over and tightening it down. Almost every other clamp I've used is an exercise in frustration in comparison. You can't hold them tight enough with one hand to keep the clamp engaged while you're locking them if there isn't a nice stress free alignment of hose/pipe etc. If there's a manufacturer out there whose interested in the design, I'd be happy to send them one. They were also fairly light weight in comparison to a lot of the others I've seen (think economical use of Stainless Steel) but I've never had one fail in over 20 year of service.
    Steve Bradt
    Free State Brewing Co.
    Lawrence, KS

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Astoria, NY
    Posts
    144
    Quote Originally Posted by barleywhiner
    While I agree that, with the use of undamaged/unswollen EPDM gaskets, you should never have to use a screwdriver, with teflon gaskets, I almost always do.

    It also depends on the quality of the clamps. The el cheapos that you can pick up through GW Kent and St. Pats don't do nearly the job of the cherry burrels.
    Wow, this just saved me from going with GW for tri-clamps. I've been down the road of crap TC's that aren't quite wide enough to accommodate holding an awkward joint of hose and fitting.

    Can someone point me in the direction of TC's to buy that work well? (I went to the Cherry Burrell site and couldn't find anything).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Astoria, NY
    Posts
    144
    Just curious if this is a reputable way to go?:

    http://www.jmesanitary.com/Bradford-...mp-100000.aspx

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    243

    cherry Burrell parts

    www.chattahoocheebrewingcompany.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Astoria, NY
    Posts
    144
    Quote Originally Posted by v2comp
    Thanks, I can't find tri-clamps anywhere on that site!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    243
    they are there, I went to products and then click fittings under the pictures of their products, takes you right to them.
    Last edited by v2comp; 11-26-2011 at 09:51 AM.
    www.chattahoocheebrewingcompany.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Astoria, NY
    Posts
    144
    Ah got it, thanks!

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