This section provides overview, applications, and principles of swivel joints. Also, please take a look at the list of 18 swivel joint manufacturers and their company rankings.
A swivel joint is a piping joint for supplying fluids such as water, air, and oil to a mechanical part that performs rotary or linear motion in an up-and-down, left-and-right, and front-and-back direction. A rotary joint is a similar mechanism. Generally, rotary joints are fitted for continuous rotation and are used for piping in machinery that rotates at high speed, such as the spindle of a machine tool. On the other hand, many swivel joints have a fixed upper limit on the angle at which they can be swiveled, and they are installed in machinery that rotates at an angle within a fixed range.
Swivel joints are commonly used in machine tools and construction machinery. For example, a swivel joint is used to supply low or high-pressure fluid to a slide that moves in a straight line in three directions (X, Y, and Z) within a machine. The angle of the joint changes as it moves, eliminating obstructions to the smooth movement of the slide section.
Movable pipelines consist of multiple swivel joints and pipes. They are used with a defined range of motion and have applications in iron rolling mills, hot presses, tire presses, die-casting machines, injection moulding machines, etc. Swivel joints are used for hose reels which can handle low rotation to the extent that they are rotated manually. In automobiles, they are often used for speedometers, tank lorries, and crane trucks. Swivel joints can be used for mechanical equipment and piping in buildings with seismic isolation structures.
As a rotating mechanism, the shaft of a swivel joint contains steel balls or bearings. To maintain smooth rotation, the swivel joint is generally supplied with a certain amount of grease periodically through a grease nipple.
The space between the shaft and body is sealed with packing to prevent fluid leakage. Since higher sealing performance is required when using high-pressure fluids, double-seal systems are the more conventional option.
The advantage of swivel joints is that the rotating mechanism allows the free movement of piping. On the other hand, it can cause a weakening of the strength of the joint itself due to its split structure, which is divided into a shaft section and the main body. Since the rotating part is subjected to thrust radial loads and moment loads, it must be designed to have sufficient strength.
Swivel joints used for pumping lines of moving parts are also used in heavy machinery such as cranes. Heavy machinery such as cranes is divided into two parts: the lower part, such as caterpillars, this part moves, and the upper part, which swivels. The swivel joint connects the upper and lower sections. The swivel joint mechanism enables the movement of heavy machinery such as cranes. A rotary joint with a similar mechanism may also be used.
Swivel joints used in high-pressure lines use O-rings or similar materials as seals on the shaft. Generally, one or two O-rings are used. For high-pressure applications, multiple O-rings are used as a labyrinth. In addition, they are used in combination with what is a called Sanflon ring to improve sealing performance. For assembly, a press machine or hydraulic jack is used.
There is a piping installation method that utilizes the swivel joint mechanism for moving parts. When the fluid flowing in the piping is hot, the piping is heated, and thermal elongation occurs. To absorb this thermal elongation, multiple swivel joints are used in the construction method. By using multiple 90-degree swivel joints in a piping configuration like a U-bend, each swivel joint moves to absorb thermal elongation. In the case of stainless-steel piping, this method is often used because the thermal elongation is larger than that of steel piping. There is also a construction method when thermal insulation is used, and piping is supported by rollers and rubber bands.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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