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Are your Connectors Causing Unplanned Downtime?

Are your Connectors Causing Unplanned Downtime?
1 Jan 2023  |
In a bulk processing plant, maximizing your production uptime is key. When assessing your production line, have you considered how much the transitions between your equipment really impact your overall production efficiency if they fail?

Any unexpected stops in production due to equipment failure are ‘unplanned downtime’. These can create massive backlogs in your processing line, and ultimately have a disastrous effect on your overall profitability.

Regular maintenance is essential to prevent unplanned downtime and investing in quality machinery is always a good idea. However, when considering process line components, it can be easy to look at something like a flexible connector and think of it as a ‘disposable commodity’, so cheap is fine – but nothing could be further from the truth.

The true cost of using low-quality connectors

It’s important to understand the true, long-term cost to your business of choosing low-quality flexible connectors rather than investing up-front in a high-quality solution for your processing line. 

Whilst clamped connectors are generally cheap to purchase and initially ‘easy’ to install, they often present a host of issues during day-to-day operation that can have a big impact on your production uptime, for example:

  • Product leaking through crevices causing dust in the factory environment, particularly when using pneumatic transport  
  • Product building up between the connector and the outside of the pipe, causing a hygiene risk and requiring regular cleaning
  • Many cheap, clamped connectors tear easily, and the clamps can wear holes in the material, particularly on moving equipment like sifters.
  • Many clamped connectors can be cut to length which means there are installation variations, depending on who changes the connector.  It can be difficult to make sure the length, positioning and tightening is all done correctly and consistently when change-outs happen

All of these examples require production downtime for cleaning and replacing or repositioning the flexible connector.

Long-term efficiency gains with BFM® fitting

The BFM® fitting system was initially designed to solve these exact problems that had been plaguing bulk powder handling plants for years.

It’s different from a traditional flexible connector in that it fits on the inside of the pipe, rather than being clamped to the outside.

To achieve a 100% seal that prevents any dust escaping, it is ‘snap-fitted’ into specially shaped grooves in a stainless-steel adaptor, or spigot, that is welded to the inlet and outlet pipes.

The outward pressure of the metal ‘snap’ bands inside the connector cuff holds it securely in place and the connector is simply snapped in and out manually in seconds.  No tools needed, no difficult screws or clamps. It’s always the correct length fitted in the correct position.

If there is positive pressure inside the system, the seal only improves as it pushes outwards against the pipe.  

More durable connectors save time and money

The most popular of the BFM® fitting connector materials, Seeflex 040E, is also extremely durable and won’t tear like other cheaper connectors. In fact, BFM® fitting customers have reported that in some applications, the BFM® fitting connectors are lasting more than 50 times longer than their previous clamped connectors. That’s an impressive saving in both time and money.

Since its introduction, the BFM® fitting system has transformed plant environments and improved the efficiency of thousands of factories around the world.

It’s now trusted by some of the world’s leading manufacturers and is specified as their preferred connector option because they see the long-term productivity benefits.

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BFM® Global Ltd is the New Zealand-based manufacturer of the BFM® fitting system, a unique snap-in flexible connector and spigot that eliminates the problems associated with old-style clamped systems. A BFM® fitting generally fits between...

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