How to Choose Custom Metal Bellows for Industrial Applications
- Identify the application. Metal bellows expansion joints may be used in industries including energy, aviation and aerospace, chemical production, medicine, and more, in order to facilitate industrial fans, oxidizers, heat recovery systems, gas turbines, pumps, seals, exhaust, ductwork, compressors, system isolation, and more. Identifying the application is the first step.
- Identify the temperature requirements. Metal bellows expansion joints are commonly used in demanding industrial environments including temperature loads up to 2500°F. Identifying temperature requirements is essential to identifying the temperature resistance acquired of the expansion joint.
- Identify the gas pressure and/or air type requirements. Expansion joints may be used in applications that generate up to hundreds of pounds pressure per square inch and/or particulate air of various densities that cause abrasion. While a single metal bellows expansion joint with weld-in tube ends is likely to suit a low-pressure, clean-air exhaust applications, high-pressure applications may call for a single metal bellow expansion joint with beveled pipe ends and a flow liner.
- Identify the movement, vibration, and abrasion requirements. Another stressor found in expansion joint applications is movement caused by increased temperatures expanding the ductwork. Axial compression, extension, lateral and angular movement may put pressure on the application. The metal bellows expansion joint must compensate for these without sacrificing load tolerance, thrust resistance, or joint reliability.
- Consult a custom expansion joints manufacturer. Metal bellows expansion joints are commonly custom-made because of the wide range of variables involved in their applications. FlexCom for example makes more than 24 types of metal bellows, and variations of each of those. After identifying variables like temperature, pressure, and movement requirements, consult a custom manufacturer to identify the steel ply count, steel grade, joint size, and design of an expansion joint that meets the needs of the application.