Global Processing

Innovative clamp design addresses common sanitary joint failure

April 11, 2005

While a maintenance worker was walking through a biotech production area, his pants leg brushed the joint clamp on a steam line. The clamp’s wing nut, which had backed-off just two turns due to temperature cycling and vibration, pulled the swing bolt through the clamp which resulted in total joint failure. The sudden release of high-pressure steam severely injured the worker and disrupted production for hours.

This scenario not only could happen, but continues to happen, and frequently enough that the need for an improved, failure-resistant clamp became obvious within the industry. That need has been met by L.J. Star Inc. The new CE compliant design makes it impossible for the swing bolt to release unless the wing nut is significantly loosened, as many as ten turns rather that as little as 1-1/2 turns in the conventional design.

While protection from high-temperature/high-pressure steam line joint failure was the primary application for these new clamps, they also provide protection in systems employing various chemical components, reagents and biological materials. In these applications they not only respond to the need for improved plant safety, they help prevent contamination of the production area and adjacent equipment, and eliminate product loss. Also, they may be seen as a positive factor by your liability insurance carrier.

The new Safety Clamp is based on the design of the widely accepted 316 stainless steel SH clamp provided by L.J. Star, which includes the “Omega” internal profile geometry known for its exceptional clamping efficiency.

The SH Style Safety Clamp’s unique feature is the lower portion of the bolt is wider than the opening in the clamp’s gate. In use, the wing nut must be deliberately loosened so the clamp gate can be lifted above the widened area of the bolt before the clamp can be completely opened.