Mechanical joining is a process used to create secure, leak-proof joints between tubes and flanges. These joints need to be strong, especially when dealing with over 20,000 pounds of hydrostatic pressure. Practically every tubing material (except plastic) can be mechanically joined – provided the tube is annealed or is ductile. Annealed and ductile materials include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, copper, cupronickel, inconel, etc.
Mechanical joining tools are known by many different names: expander, tube expander, swaging tool, and flaring tool. In the boiler manufacturing and aerospace industries, mechanical joining tools are often referred to as “expanders” or “tube expanders” because the tool’s purpose is to expand the diameter of a tube into a flange or fitting. “Tube expander” and “expander” are interchangeable with “mechanical joining tool” and our team has become accustomed to hearing these tools called by those names in the field.
Another term that is commonly used to describe a mechanical joining tool is a “swaging tool”. Swaging is a process when the dimensions of one object are forced into another object, particularly in metal applications. This is how a mechanical joining tool operates, by expanding the diameter of a tube into a flange or fitting.
Whichever name you choose to call these tools is up to you and we have heard them all. Mechanical Joining is an important process for many industries and can provide a superior way to join tubing to flanges. The joints that are created are stronger than a welded joint and will not loosen or break apart due to vibrations. To learn more about mechanical joining visit our website or watch the video below to see these tools in action.