Need for Multi-tube Connectors
Stephen Burrows – Pres.
Modern pneumatic systems have improved greatly in the last 20 years. Attention to air quality, better permanent lubrication and quality engineered components have produced more reliable, lower maintenance and more durable systems than ever before. It seems odd then, that with such a great increase in the design quality of modern pneumatic systems that one of the most basic components is so widely overlooked.
Most complex pneumatic systems lack any kind of tubing connections that maintain their original orientation when disconnected, then re-connected. This is in stark contrast to electrical and electronic systems where the practice of accurately reproducing the original orientation of circuits by multiple pin connectors is standard practice. Re-attaching wires one by one is almost unheard of.
complexity of pneumatic systems is usually significantly less than that of
electrical and electronic systems, designers try to reduce system costs by
leaving multiple tube connectors out. The
result of this practice is a history of unreliable systems that deteriorate
rapidly and suffer catastrophic failure at a high rate.
Electrical designers have from the very beginnings of the industry
invariably used keyed multiple pin connections to insure proper circuit
alignment. A mixed connection
almost always led to catastrophic failure.
Only in the last couple of decades have pneumatic systems reached
complexity similar to electrical systems. The
use of multiple tube connections has not grown with the complexity of pneumatic
practice is to mark the tube and the individual fitting.
To ensure that the assembled system works, every system needs to be
carefully tested. If
components of the system have to be separated for transport, additional testing
is required at installation. The
use of multiple tube connections can remove the need to test the tubing harness
after it is assembled into the system and when the system is installed. Tubing harnesses can be tested during their assembly in
parallel to the building of the system.
potential cost savings for using multiple tube connectors can be calculated by
multiplying the estimated number of times a system suffers damage due to mixed
connections over its lifetime, times the cost of repair and downtime. This is the total lifetime cost of tubing errors.
This cost less the cost of a multiple tube connector is the total
lifetime savings gained by its use. If
the connector’s cost is recovered in less than a year it constitutes an
excellent return on investment based on cost accounting methods.
benefits of the use of multiple tube connections can create returns far in
excess of its simple cost accounting return.
Increased throughput in the delivery of finished systems with existing
resources tops the list followed by: reduced liability for injury to users and
damage to systems and products, simplified maintenance by users, rapid
replacement of modules, reduction in need for skilled technicians, enhanced
appearance, demonstration of proper design,
future sales ensured by increased system reliability,
ability to create ever more complex systems that are highly reliable.
multiple tubing connectors for pneumatics are available from several
manufactures. Many types are
available, such as circular connectors with threaded collars for regular use and
rectangular connectors that are held together with fasteners for occasional use.
Some manufacturers offer choices of body materials and methods for
attaching the tubes to the body of the connector.
Your pneumatics dealer should be an excellent source for help in
specifying the proper connector for your application.