Tee Dampers in Industrial Process Control: Bypass, Shutoff, and Even Modulation for Optimized Industrial Airflow Control

Industrial T Damper Side View

Dampers for industrial process control and airflow control are manufactured in a wide range of varieties. Choosing the correct damper for an application is always defined by the damper’s ultimate purpose in the application itself.

One consideration is the type of industrial air that needs to be controlled  – clean air, particulate air, corrosive gas, or more. Another is the method of air control. Does the industrial process require airflow shutoff/isolation, modulation, or diversion?

Most dampers are optimal with a particular air type and a particular required control method. For example, butterfly industrial dampers are typical for airflow modulation in clean air applications, and slidegate or guillotine dampers are used for airflow shutoff and for fan or system isolation.

Then there are tee dampers. While most industrial dampers feature some versatility between air types and air control methods, tee dampers provide some of the greatest versatility. Tee dampers can be customized and applied for shutoff/isolation, modulation, or diversion, sometimes simultaneously.

What is a Tee Damper?

Tee dampers, also referred to as T dampers, derive their name, simply, from their shape. The damper is two outlets linked to one inlet to form the shape of the letter T.

The physical configuration naturally lends itself to diverting industrial air into one direction or another, which is why Tee dampers are also sometimes referred to as bypass dampers or diversion dampers.

The linked outlets can be configured to the inlet at 90-degree angles like a traditional T, 45-degrees in what’s known as a pant leg configuration, or potentially at custom angles.

An actuator allows the outlets to work in conjunction with one another to control airflow. The outlets are most commonly connected by the actuator in a configuration known as slave linkage, where when one outlet is open, the other is closed — ideal for diverting industrial air into one direction or the other.

The Versatility of Tee Dampers

While Tee dampers are most often associated with industrial airflow diversion or bypass, the basic configuration also naturally avails itself to airflow isolation or shutoff. Returning to the slave linkage configuration, when one outlet is open, the other is necessarily closed, inherently performing airflow isolation/shutoff.

In addition to diversion/bypass and isolation/shutoff, tee dampers can perform a third type of industrial air control — airflow modulation – when the damper is fitted with a custom modulating actuator. Instead of the binary on-off nature of the most common configuration, the damper can instead control how much airflow is allowed to pass.

Tee Dampers and their Industrial Applications

The versatility of tee dampers to perform various types of industrial airflow control and industrial process control makes the dampers suitable for a variety of industrial applications. Among typical industrial applications for tee dampers are:

  • Pollution control: U.S. environmental regulations require containment and management of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the microscopic particles found in soot and smoke from industrial processes. Tee dampers can regulate the flow of VOCs to an abatement device such as an oxidizer.
  • Heat Recovery Steam Generators and other heat recovery systems: HRSGs and other heat recovery systems leverage heat to create steam for electric generation. Since leakage of heat results in the loss of electrical output, the dampers, expansion joints, and other components must optimize the control of heated air and steam to maximize electrical output.
  • Landfill energy, waste-to-energy, and gas-to-energy plants: Landfill energy plants, waste-to-energy plants, and gas-to-energy plants generally involve burning waste or gas to create steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity. The greater the efficiency of the plant, the greater its ability to limit environmental hazards and meet standards, provide cost-efficient electricity, and generate revenue for owners and operators. Industrial airflow control with dampers assisted by industrial expansion joints promotes the greatest efficiency.

Tee Dampers from FlexCom

FlexCom custom manufactures dampers, fabric expansion joints, and metal bellows expansion joints for heavy-duty industrial applications that require optimized heat control, vibration control, airflow control, and overall industrial process control. Custom industrial products from FlexCom promote industrial efficiency worldwide.

Industrial dampers from FlexCom, including tee dampers, are manufactured to support up to greater than 99% airflow shutoff to minimize leakage and promote optimization in a wide range of industrial applications. FlexCom’s custom products are also designed to withstand and mitigate the pressures of high temperatures and vibration found in most heavy-duty industrial process control systems.

In 2020, FlexCom acquired dampers manufacturer Control Equipment Co. Inc. to enhance FlexCom’s offerings of custom industrial dampers and its ability to manufacture specialty custom dampers for optimal industrial efficiency.