What Is a Flange Connector?

Lori Kilchermann

A flange connector is a device that allows the connection of many types of hoses and fittings onto a flanged pipeline. Typically manufactured from stainless or high-carbon steel, a flange connector is connected to a flanged pipe with bolts, and a gasket is sandwiched between the pipe flange and the connector. Common in manufacturing facilities, a flange connector is often used to allow a smaller and more manageable hose to be split off from a large feeder pipeline. A flange-type connector can also be used to block off a pipeline.

Flange connectors are connected to pipes with bolts.
Flange connectors are connected to pipes with bolts.

Flanged pipe is a commonly used component in manufacturing facilities and food processing plants. The flanges allow the pipelines to be disconnected and removed for cleaning, maintenance and changing the pipeline's route. Many manufacturing facilities use a large-diameter pipeline to supply an area with a sufficient flow of materials, such as glue, to complete the manufacturing processes that occur in the area. A flange connector is often used to attach a smaller and easier-to-handle line or hose to the pipeline and then to a tool or device that is used by a worker at his or her workstation.

There are many types of flange connector designs that can be used to allow pipeline connections of differently sized lines and hoses, gauges and block-off plates. Hard lines as well as soft hoses can be attached to a pipeline through the use of a flange connector. In most cases, the connector can be changed in a very short time, allowing the line to adapt to changes in product run or work station reconfiguration. Depending on the type of gasket that is used between the flanges, a new gasket might not be required when flanges or connections to the pipeline are changed. On high-pressure or food-grade pipelines, changing the gasket is commonly recommended to reduce the occurrences of leaks and bacteria in the flange area.

The materials that are used in the manufacture of a flange connector typically are stainless steel or forged, high-carbon steel. In food-grade applications as well as highly corrosive liquid transportation throughout a facility, stainless steel is commonly used for the pipeline and connective components. Most other applications, such as water or sewer lines, use either aluminum or a forged carbon steel to manufacture both the pipeline and all related components. The most common type of flange connector is manufactured from stainless steel and uses a threaded nipple to connect a braided stainless steel line to a pipeline.

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