Flanges Corroded Together? 2 Types of Flange Spreaders That Will Save Your Pipes & Save You Time

If your business pipeline system is built with lots of flanges, or even just one, then it is important to know what to do when you need to separate flanges that have seemingly "melded together" over time due to corrosion. Attempting to separate flanges with a hammer and chisel or sheer brute force can cause extensive damage to not only the flanges themselves, but also potentially damage the pipes they are connecting. Whether you need one right now or not, it is important to have a flange spreader on-site to separate corroded flanges more quickly and without damaging them or your pipes. 

Read on to learn about two types of flange spreaders and how they work, so you can make a more informed decision when purchasing one, although it never hurts to have more than one at your facility; if you have very large flanges at your facility, then it is recommended to separate them by using at least two of the same style of flange spreader at the same time. 

Hydraulic Flange Spreaders Can Tackle the Toughest Flanges

One type of flange spreader lets you use hydraulic power to separate flanges with little effort. There are two types of hydraulic flange spreaders, including wedge-style spreaders and pin-type (often also called bolt hole) spreaders. 

Hydraulic wedge-style flange spreaders can be used to separate flanges that have small access gaps between them. When using a wedge-style flange spreader, you must insert the tip of the two wedges into an access gap, and the wedges then slowly move outward to separate the flanges.  If there is no access gap between flanges, then a pin-type or bolt hold flange spreader is a better option. These flange spreaders grip the flange bolt holes and pull the flanges apart using an outward motion. 

Most hydraulic flange spreaders come with a small and easy to use hydraulic hand pump or pump powered  that you simply pump a few times before spreading flanges or a pump powered with electricity. This makes hydraulic flange spreaders simple and easy to use for anyone in your facility. 

Mechanical Flange Spreaders Also Get the Job Done

Mechanical flange spreaders can work just as well as hydraulic flange spreaders, although they typically cannot produce as much force as hydraulic flange spreaders can; this makes them a good option for smaller and/or less stubborn flanges.

Mechanical flange spreaders are available in both wedge and bolt hole styles. Instead of hydraulic power, they are operated using torque power. While this means they do require your workers to put in a little "elbow grease" when separating flanges, these flange spreaders are still relatively quick and easy to use to separate flanges without damaging them or the pipes they are connected to. 

Whether you currently have flanges in your facility that have corroded together that you need to separate safely yet or not, you should always have at least one flange spreader at your facility if you only have small flanges and at least two that can be used at the same time if there are large flanges in your facility. Use this information to make a wise decision about what type of flange spreader is best for you, although it is ideal to have both a wedge-style and bolt-style flange spreader to be ready tackle flanges with and without access gaps. 

Learn more about your options by contacting services like SMP Specialty Maintenance Products.