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Absolutely leak-free large couplings aid nuclear decommissioning

28 October 2009

The larger sizes of Stäubli’s HCB dry break, non-spill connectors are particularly suitable for high integrity bulk handling and filling applications where any leakage would be unacceptable; recent applications are in the nuclear decommissioning sector.

HCB couplings are compact with a flush faced, non-spill design, preventing any air inclusion in the system on connecting as well as avoiding any spillage during disconnection. The initial HCB range included sizes up to 8mm diameter and in response to demand the range has been extended up to DN 80 with a flow rate of 600litres/min. The new larger couplings are designed for use in situations when any spillage must be avoided. This may reflect environmental, safety or economic
concerns; for example when being used with oils and toxic chemicals, flammable or corrosive liquids or highly expensive chemicals. Typical applications are in the pharmaceutical and chemical sectors as well as increasingly in nuclear decommissioning.

A good application example of the high integrity of HCB connectors is at Robinson Brothers, Oldbury who add the odour to natural gas. In this application the HCB 28 couplings fitted to their distribution tankers must be capable of connection and disconnection without spillage. The chemical they inject into the normally odourless natural gas is pungent and provides the distinct odour associated with a gas leak. The release of only a few parts per million of the dosing chemical can result in the perception of a gas leak and is environmentally unpleasant. The HCB connectors installed on their systems enabled simplification and security of the chemical transfer process and have been operating successfully for several years.

All HCB connectors are made from high grade stainless steel and offer a range of seal options to suit a wide spectrum of applications and media. They feature Stäubli’s patented bayonet locking system which provides a safe, quick and reliable connection that is also suitable for high vibration applications. The locking system provides a positive feedback response, ensuring a high integrity connection eliminating any chance of a misconnection. On larger sizes, the coupling can be fitted with a hand operated wheel if required.

In the nuclear industry applications for HCB connectors have been on fuel rod handling trolleys as well as increasingly for waste handling and reprocessing activities; the guarantee of no leakage being paramount for these types of applications. Stäubli engineers, well experienced in leak free connection technology, are available to advise on the most appropriate solution for any application.


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