Most BFM® fitting connectors can be supplied with support rings which help to keep the connector walls open when they are being used under negative pressure, or are longer in length. They can also be helpful to support the shape of the connector when it is used in high-pressure applications, or in compression applications like bag loaders by keeping the connector open when compressed.
These support rings are available in either stainless steel or plastic, which are used in conjunction with metal detectors. Connectors can be made with single or multiple rings, depending on the diameter and length. The rings are attached to the outside of the connector so do not come in contact with the product itself.
The longer a connector is, the more chance there is that the walls of the connector can 'collapse' inwards, particularly if there is vacuum or movement involved.
By installing rings along the length of the connector walls, it helps to ensure the maximum diameter of the connector is open for product flow.
The standard distance between rings is usually 100mm (4 inches), and the maximum number of rings able to be inserted in a standard Seeflex connector is 10 (Teflex NP is 8). Please refer to the Product Spec page for more information on ring limitations.
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Support, or 'anti-collapse', rings are often applied to connectors being used under vacuum. Vacuum pressure tends to suck the walls of the connector inwards, so the rings keep the connector open and allow product to flow.
This is even more important the longer the connector gets. As a general rule under vacuum, the maximum length of the BFM® connector should be no longer than its diameter without support rings. For example, a 100mm (4") diameter BFM® connector should be no more than 100mm (4") long. We recommend that if you have a connector 200mm (8") or longer being used under vacuum, support rings should definitely be considered.
By adding rings as a connector gets longer, you can operate under higher negative pressure than you would be able to without rings. For instance, a 400mm (16") long connector will hold as much vacuum as a 100mm (4") long connector if it has three support rings (100mm (4") apart). Tool release (TR) connectors have a stronger cuff and are often also used to add vacuum resistance.
Check out the video below for more on using rings to negate the effect of vacuum on connectors:
Rings are also useful when compression of the connector is required, such as in a bag loading application (example adjacent).
The rings help to keep the diameter of the connector open and keep the connector material from folding unevenly as it is compressed.
An alternative to connectors with rings for this type of application is our Flexi Connector range.
Get in touch with one of our local Authorized BFM® fitting Distributors to help with any questions you have about using rings on connectors.
They will help work through what you want to achieve and how BFM® fitting can improve your plant.