The Expansion Joints Blog

84″ & 14″ Dia. Single Expansion Joints Custom Designed for a Pipe Line in an Utility Plant

February 16th, 2013 Comments off

84" Dia. Single Expansion Joints Custom Designed for a Pipe Line in an Utility Plant

14" Dia. Single Expansion Joints Custom Designed for a Pipe Line in an Utility Plant

U.S. Bellows custom designed 14″ dia. and 84″ dia. single expansion joints for a pipe line in an utility plant in Colorado. The bellows are 304 stainless steel and carbon steel was used for the flanges and tie rods. The assemblies were designed for a spring rate of 2,530 lb/in., 1″ axial movement at 300°F and 37 psig. The assemblies were dye penetrant examined and air tested with a delivery of 12 weeks.

Planned or Unplanned Outage?

February 10th, 2013 Comments off
Our field service team is available 24/7 during your plant turnaround!
  • Our team can assist with plant walk-downs to assess your plant for maintenance, repair or replacement of expansion joints and pipe supports
  • Our engineers are available day or night for guidance on placement, materials, finishes, etc.
  • Our field service team will guide you through installation, start-up, and replacement
  • We stock over 1500 bellows, over 100,000 lb. of insulation materials, over 30,000 spring coils, and over 1 million pounds of standard items
  • Afterwards, receive training to monitor, identify potential failure, learn correct size and selection of expansion joints and pipe supports per application
  • We can develop a data book of existing pipe supports and expansion joints and their conditions in order to identify potential maintenance issues in upcoming turnarounds.

View Some of Our Emergency Projects

Refurbishment of 4" Dia. Expansion Joint in One DayRefurbishment of 4″ Dia. Expansion Joint in One Day

This expansion joint received in the morning and shipped to the customer the very same day.



Same Day Turnaround During Emergency ShutdownSame Day Turnaround During Emergency Shutdown

Same day delivery enabled the customer to resume operations with minimum loss of time and production.





Quick Turnaround of Refurbished Expansion Joint

A service call came in when a leak was discovered resulting from a crack in the bellows of a pressure balanced elbow expansion joint. New bellows were fabricated, carbon steel root rings and cover bolts were replaced, and the unit was back in service in high pressure turbine crossover piping within a few weeks.

Need to talk with one of our field service technicians? call us at (281) 241-9418 Or fill out the emrgency request form

102″ Dia. Single Hinged Expansion Joint and Duct Work Assembly and Two 92″ Single Expansion Joints

February 4th, 2013 Comments off

102" Dia. Single Hinged Expansion Joint and Duct Work Assembly

Two 92" Single Expansion Joints

U.S. Bellows designed a 102″ dia. single hinged expansion joint and duct work assembly, along with two 92″ single expansion joints for a coal gasification facility in Mississippi. Both the assembly and expansion joints were fabricated from carbon steel with 304 stainless steel bellows, and designed for 3.6° angular movement at 825°F and 3 psig. The expansion joints were dye penetrant examined, 100% x-rayed and soap and air tested prior to shipment.

Single Ply Splice for Fabric Expansion Joint Material

January 26th, 2013 Comments off

Install the FLEXXCEL HT belt material on the expansion joint frames per the BELT INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS. Leave section on top of duct “unbolted” at preferred splice area. Carefully trim FLEXXCEL HT belt material so the two ends “butt up” with each other.

HT Composite Belt Splice HT Composite Belt Layers

Cut PFA film and 3″ wide FLEXXCEL material strip to equal the width of the installed belt. Staple the PFA film to the “gas side” of the FLEXXCEL material strip.


HT Composite Belt Splice

Slide the backer board under the splice area. Place the FLEXXCEL material strip over the “trimmed” HT material with the PFA film facing down. Place iron at edge of belt to begin splice. Apply pressure to iron handles during each splice. Each splice section should take approximately 5 minutes.


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Pressure Balanced Tee Expansion Joint Designed for a Boiler Feed Pump Turbine Exhaust

January 20th, 2013 Comments off

Pressure Balanced Tee Expansion Joint Designed for a Boiler Feed Pump Turbine Exhaust

This pressure balanced tee expansion joint was custom designed for a boiler feed pump turbine exhaust in a power plant. It is 96″ Dia. x 288″ OAL and fabricated from carbon steel with 304 stainless steel bellows, turning vanes and liners. It is designed for 2″ axial movement at 315°F and 15 psig. The expansion joint was dye penetrant examined, and a chemical cleaning of the interior surfaces was performed to remove any oil and grease. U.S. Bellows also performed a pneumatic test at 23 psig.

36″ Dia. Tied Universal Expansion Joint with Stainless Steel Bellows

January 5th, 2013 Comments off

36" Dia. Tied Universal Expansion Joint with SS Bellows

This tied universal expansion joint is 36″ Dia. x 47-3/8″ OAL and is fabricated from carbon steel with stainless steel bellows. It is designed for 1/2″ lateral movement, 3,116 lb./in. lateral spring rate at 200°F and 100 psig. The expansion joint was dye penetrant examined and hydrotested prior to shipment.

Single Ply Splice for Fabric Expansion Joint Material

December 31st, 2012 Comments off

When doing a single ply splice on fabric expansion joint FLEXXCEL material, U.S. Bellows recommends that a test splice be performed first . Experience has shown fluoropolymers can be processed and used at elevated temperatures without hazard if proper ventilation is used. Make certain all heat sealing is performed in well ventilated areas. Make certain the heat sealer is safely handled during use. The heat sealer temperature will reach 725°F in normal operation. Special care must be taken with the heat sealer during handling due to the high temperature.

Equipment required to splice FLEXXCEL materials:

1. Heat Seal Iron
2. Backer Board
3. FLEXXCEL belting material
4. PFA Heat Sealing Film
5. ensureAsplice product
6. Stapler
7. Scissors
8. Blade Knife
9. Tape Measurer
10. Marking Pen

Heat Seal Iron Operation
To operate the Heat Seal Iron, follow these instructions:
1. Plug the unit into an electrical outlet.
2. Place the Heat Seal Iron on the FLEXXCEL
3. Backer Board or another insulated surface.
4. Push the toggle switch up to the “on” position.
5. Set the temperature by turning the dial to the desired temperature. A temperature range of 700°-740°F (370-385°C) is typical for splicing FLEXXCEL materials.

The unit contains two lights, a “heat up” light and a “ready” light. The “heat up” light will remain lit until the unit reaches the set temperature, at which point the “ready” light will go on.

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FLEXXCEL Heat Seal Iron

December 17th, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Bellows manufactures high-performance fabric expansion joints for industrial applications. These expansion joints often require thermal-welding (heat seal splice) in field service. Cost effective and easy-to-use heat seal irons are available from U.S. Bellows for use with FLEXXCEL materials.

The main function of a heat seal iron is to introduce enough heat to allow a proper bond between PTFE surfaces of FLEXXCEL materials. The melting point of PTFE is around 621°F (327°C). However, the setting of a heat seal iron is determined by factors like ambient temperature, thickness of bonding materials, and the surface upon which you heat seal. Applying pressure can help facilitate a good bond, but in order to achieve a correct bond, the melting point of the U.S. Bellows FLEXXCEL materials must be achieved.

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Universal Expansion Joint with Refractory Lining and Pantographic Linkage

December 9th, 2012 Comments off

U.S. Bellows, Inc. fabricated this 28″ dia., 109″ long universal expansion joint with 1″ thick AA-22 abrasion resistant refractory lining and pantographic linkage for a FCC unit in an oil refinery. The entire assembly is fabricated from 304H stainless steel with carbon steel pantographs. This expansion joint has two-ply testable bellows with wire mesh strip between the plies. It is designed for an axial movement of 5″, a lateral movement of 5-1/2″ at 1425°F and 45 psig. This unit was 100% dye penetrant tested, all pressure retaining welds were 100% radiographed and the unit was pneumatic tested prior to shipping to Oklahoma.

Installation Instructions for Unassembled Fabric Expansion Joints

December 2nd, 2012 Comments off
  1. Using the U.S. Bellows drawing, organize the parts per drawing information and “match markings” on parts.
  2. Clean duct/flange surfaces and prepare for welding.
  3. Tack weld frame segments into place. If the expansion joint has a liner, make certain that the flow arrow of the expansion joint/liner is in the proper system flow direction. If liner ships loose, install frames first to allow seal weld access.
  4. Seal weld frames.
  5. Install accumulation barrier/insulation pillow — if required.

View the Pre-Installation Check-list

Accumulation Barriers are typically designed to fill the entire cavity of the expansion joint. Wrap the accumulation barrier around the duct/expansion joint. Pack the accumulation barrier into the cavity of the expansion joint. The liner will prevent the barrier from falling into the duct. Use thread or wire to tie across the breach opening to support accumulation barrier during installation. Remove thread or wire prior to installing the fabric belt element.
Insulation pillows are typically designed to prevent high temperatures from contacting the fabric belt material; therefore it is critical to attach the pillow in place. There are multiple ways to attach the pillow. Follow U.S. Bellows drawing for details. Pinning the pillow to the liner (as shown) or the frame are common methods of attachment.

View the full installation instruction guide for unassembled fabric expansion joints. (Continues with instructions on gaskets for single ply belts or composite belts, and fabric belts with or without factory punched holes.)


Contact Us: +1 (281) 241-9418 Toll Free: (855) 591-0906 Fax: +1 (713) 731-8640
Our Parent Company: Piping Technology Pipe Supports, Pipe Clamps, Pipe Hardware & Insulated Pipe Shoes
Fellow Subsidiaries: Sweco Fab: ASME Vessels, Pig Launchers, Duct Work, Strainers & Spectacle Blinds
 Pipe Shields: Pre-Insulated Pipe Supports, Slides, Guides & Anchors

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: Snubbers, Sway Struts & Sway Braces

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