Tube-Plugs-101

Tube Plugs 101

Tube plugs are handy devices that are used to seal off specific tubes in tube bundles that are found in boilers and heaters. A tube plug is necessary when a tube starts leaking and needs to be isolated from the flow of gas or liquid going through the bundle. The tube plug is inserted into the damaged tube to block off the flow, and this can be done on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Why Use Tube Plugs?

You may be wondering why tube plugs are necessary when you can just get the damaged pipe replaced. However, you will first have to understand that the tube bundles found in boilers and heat exchangers consist of numerous tubes that are packed together densely. If you were to carry out repair or maintenance work, you would need to disassemble the entire unit, which can be costly and time-consuming.

When you can identify the pipe causing the problem, all you need to do is utilize a tube plug. Heat exchangers are built with extra tube capacity, thus having a single or even a few tubes that are plugged rarely impacts the overall efficiency of the tube bundle, hence it’s a cost-effective and practical solution for many.

Types of Tube Plugs

Just like with many other innovations, tube plugs have evolved over the years to achieve a maximum sealing area and make them as efficient as possible. The designs have evolved over the years and the different types are as follows:

  • Tapered Pin : Also known as the one-piece tube plug, the tapered pin is the earliest design. It is inserted by tapping the plug into the tube with a mallet or hammer, however driving the plug all the way in can cause stress to the ligament and result in adjacent pipes leaking.
  • Ring & Pin: The ring & pin tube plug was invented to address the problem caused by the tapered pin. This version consists of an additional ring that sits inside the tube and increases the sealing area. There is still a risk of it dislodging depending on the way it is hammered in.
  • Mechanical Pin and Sleeve: Both the tapered pin and the ring & pin cannot exceed pressure levels of 150 PSI. Here is where the mechanical pin and sleeve plug comes in. However, these plugs are difficult to install and require the use of hydraulic rams and other ancillary equipment that add cost, time, expertise, and risk to a tube plugging project.
  • Torq N’ Seal® Mechanical Plug: This plug is the latest available on the market and was created to address the problems posed by the mechanical pin and sleeve plug. Being much easier to install and remove, they are also able to guard against dislodgement as a reversed taper is not used. In addition to the functional benefits, the end user can realize significant cost savings during installation due to the straightforward torque wrench installation procedure.

Get the Tube Plugs You Need from Torq N’ Seal®

Are you looking to purchase tube plugs for your heat exchanger or condenser? If so, you have come to the right place at Torq N’ Seal®. We specialize in distributing a wide range of innovative products and equipment to our clients in energy-related industries, both domestically and internationally. The tube plugs you can find in our online shop are Torq N’ Seal® mechanical plugs, the latest and most innovative version. Please feel free to get in touch for a quote today.

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