Hydraulic fittings may seem small and even insignificant. However, without them, a hydraulic system is useless. When these fittings are damaged or incorrectly installed, the whole system may work improperly and eventually give out.
The variety of hydraulic fittings is impressive, and only a professional can tell you which one is needed for the particular part of your hydraulic system. This quick hydraulic fittings guide can give you sufficient information to take the first steps toward understanding this small yet integral part of your hydraulic system.
What Are Hydraulic Fittings?
Hydraulic fittings connect conductors as tubes, hoses, and pipes either to each other or to pumps, cylinders, and valves within a hydraulic system. These connectors are designed to do the following:
- Provide a tight connection between the conductors
- Contain and guide the hydraulic fluid flow
- Prevent leaks
- Maintain pressure
- Change line elevations
Hydraulic fittings usually have male and female components. These components form a tight connection to execute some or all of the above functions.
Types Of Hydraulic Fittings
Several types of hydraulic fittings exist. Let’s look into the most common ones.
Flared Fitting (JIC)
A JIC (Joint Industry Council) fitting is part of the flared hydraulic connector category. It has a 37° metal seal and works with hydraulic hoses and tubes. JIC fittings are also used with a female fitting with a 37° flare. JIC fittings provide a metal-to-metal contact with an excellent seal. However, it’s only suitable for thin or medium walls. Thick tubing doesn’t work well with this type of fitting. JICs can handle up to 3,000 psi of pressure and temperatures between -18°C and 200°C.
This fitting type is manufactured from forged carbon steel, machined or forged brass, nickel-copper alloys, and forged stainless steel.
As the name suggests, unlike JIC fittings, flareless fittings don’t have flares. The tip of the fitting has a special shape which allows it to slide into the end of the tube and settle there. Flareless fittings provide an excellent connection point. They are better suited for repeat use than flared fittings. Loosening and tightening them doesn’t disturb their structure.
The process of sealing is much faster and easier with flareless fittings. They can withstand high pressures and temperatures between -18°C and 400°C, depending on the materials. The materials used for these fittings include stainless steel, brass, carbon steel, and more.
O-Ring Face Seal Fittings, also called ORFS fittings, have straight threading. When the fitting is tightened, the rubber O-ring between the fitting and the hose end compresses, creating a leak-proof connection.
These fittings have excellent leak-proof properties compared to their metal-to-metal counterparts. Using such fittings eliminates the consequences of overtightening the seal. They operate at temperatures between -20°C and 120°C. The connectors are usually made of steel. One of the important advantages of an ORFS fitting is it’s easy to install, meaning component changes can often be done in house.
How To Choose The Right Hydraulic Fitting
The majority of fittings are brand-specific. They may look similar but work only with the brand they were manufactured for. Choosing the right hydraulic fitting depends on numerous factors.
- Working pressure
- Fitting configuration
- Size of pump
- Conductor material
- Use of seal
- Type of fluid
- Geometry of the fitting
It’s important to get professional advice to find the right fitting for your system.
Find Out More
To find out more about hydraulics and pneumatics, please download our free e-book How To Minimise Downtime With Pneumatic Systems.