Everything You Need to Know About Dry Break Fittings
If your business operates within an industry that relies on ready access to fuel and maintenance fluids, then it’s likely you already know how important it is to ensure:
- the refuelling process is as efficient as possible
- service fluid filling and evacuation is fast and clean
- your fuel and oil cleanliness are in line with OEM specifications
- your employees, vehicles, and mobile plant are kept safe and unharmed
- refuelling and fluid transfer equipment is fit for purpose – designed for high performance, built to be sturdy, reliable, and capable of withstanding the everyday wear and tear common on industrial worksites
Whether you have a Fuel Management System or a diesel fuel tank farm already in place, or you’re just starting out on your journey of discovery into the wonderful world of on-site fuel management systems, diesel refuelling, and heavy equipment maintenance; high-quality dry break fittings are arguably one of the process enhancements best able to contribute to system safety, efficiency, cleanliness, and longevity.
What is a Dry Break Coupling?
A dry break coupling (sometimes referred to as a dry connect, dry disconnect, or dry break fitting) is a type of coupler used in diesel refuelling or service fluid transfer management, which has been designed to ensure safe and spill-free filling. Dry break fittings are frequently used in mining and other heavy industrial refuelling applications because they offer advanced protection against the accidental spillage of high-value liquids and mitigate concerns regarding the environmental and financial impacts of hydrocarbon spills.
How do dry break couplings work?
Dry break fittings are called a ‘coupling’ because they are comprised of two separate parts –a dry break nozzle and a dry break receiver – that lock together to form a completely sealed conduit for the secure, cost-effective, clean and efficient transfer of fuels and oils.
The dry break coupling contains internal mechanical valves that remain closed until the mating halves are fully connected, at which point an optimal fluid pathway is opened. Once filling has been completed – either by the operator or via an automatic shut off feature – the valves are closed and the fluid pathway completely sealed before the mating halves are uncoupled, minimising leaks and spills. This is where the ‘dry’ part of the dry break fitting’s name comes from. The dry break coupler separates into two fluid-tight components.
Where are dry break couplings used?
Dry break couplings are successfully used all round the world for environmentally conscious, safe refuelling and fluid transfer across a variety of heavy industries, including mining, construction, ports, railways, and agricultural operations. As such, dry break fittings need to be constructed in such a way that they can operate effectively in the extreme climates present where these businesses operate.
Not only are dry break fittings used for diesel refuelling and service fluid transfer and evacuation on heavy vehicles and mobile plant, they are also used in high-quality Mechanical Tank Overfill Prevention products
Both the nozzle and receiver parts of a dry break coupling need to be of high-quality material and construction, so that they can withstand the rigours of daily use in an industrial setting.
What are the features of a high-quality dry break coupling?
Smaller dry break fittings are typically used for the transfer of less-viscous fluids, such as coolant, or for fluid sampling and pressure testing purposes. Medium-sized dry break couplings (3/4″ or 1″) tend to be utilised to transfer oils and other equipment maintenance fluids. Large bore dry break fittings (2″ or larger) tend to be used for diesel refuelling, and the bulk fluid transfer of fuels, oils, hydraulic fluids, liquid foods, and chemicals.
Dry break fittings need to be designed and built using sound engineering principles and high-quality materials, to ensure ease of use, prolong their working life, and contribute to a safe work environment. The more durable a dry break coupling is, the longer it will remain fit-for-purpose, which can reduce maintenance and repair costs for both facilities and mobile equipment. This provides unparalleled value over the lifetime of the product and enables businesses to realise a significant ROI very quickly.
High-quality dry break couplings are of sturdy construction, manufactured using tough materials such as high tensile stainless steel and sometimes case-hardened with a fit-for-purpose metal plating such as zinc or nickel. Dry break fittings fabricated from stainless steel are far more robust than those made from high level aluminium. They are less prone to corrosion, and less likely to sustain damage and premature wear from the normal treatment they are likely to receive in the workplace. High quality dry break couplings are designed to function optimally in harsh environments.
Best-in-class dry break diesel refuelling nozzles can even be repairable rather than disposable, sometimes lasting for decades if they are regularly maintained. Best-in-class dry break couplings go a long way towards helping an operation avoid the financial costs associated with lost productivity caused by vehicle or machinery downtime and/or the need to replace significant portions of the fuel management system’s fluid transfer hardware.
Type of fitting
The perfectly aligned mating surfaces of a paired dry break fitting drastically reduces premature wear of refuelling hardware. Properly fitted dust caps also contribute to longevity. Many dry break nozzles and receivers have a flush face (or flat face) design, meaning they lack the grooves and deep recesses found in traditional open-bore connectors, in which grease, oil, dirt, and other debris becomes trapped.
Fittings with a flush face design have fewer places for contaminants to hide:
- are easier to clean prior to connection
- minimise the introduction of contaminants in the fluid stream
- reduce wear on mating surfaces, seals, and other components within the fittings
Dry break fittings should also be fitted with heavy duty dust caps, to prevent the build-up of contaminants on the receiver and to minimise the risk of introducing these contaminants into the fluid stream, and subsequently, the fuel tank or service fluid compartment.
Connection – valve and locking mechanism
There are several different locking mechanisms available to control the flow of fuels and service fluids and, of these, the ball valve is considered to be the most reliable connection method. It is important to look for dry break fittings that have sturdy and reliable locking mechanisms that are designed to perform optimally, especially at higher flow rates. Many fuel transfer lines also retain residual line pressure, so it is important to select a coupling (both nozzle and receiver) that has been specifically designed to safely connect and disconnect under the expected operating conditions.
A high-quality, robust locking mechanism will serve to extend the useful life of fittings used under heightened pressure and to mitigate the risk of the nozzle ‘flying off’ during filling and spraying fuel or other high-value service fluids everywhere, creating both safety and environmental situations.
High flow rate capability
Because of their safe, secure, and reliable design, dry break couplers can be designed to achieve optimum flow rates for the size of the coupling. This heightened flow rate capability delivers maximum efficiency, with improved refuelling or fluid transfer times and reduced vehicle or plant downtime. For the best high-speed diesel refuelling products look for high-quality dry break fittings from a reputable, industry-leading OEM.
What makes a dry break coupling the best choice for fluid transfer and refuelling?
Dry break fittings are the gold standard for industrial fluid transfer and refuelling because they are reliable, robust, and purpose-designed to withstand the rigours of everyday use in even the harshest worksite conditions around the world.
They are available in a range of different sized fittings and types of connections that are suitable for a variety of applications. There is a dry break fitting to meet just about any fluid transfer or refuelling need. Dry break couplings close the fluid path before they disconnect, helping to prevent the loss of valuable fluid assets and mitigating the risks posed to personal safety and the environment, should fittings become uncoupled during fluid transfer.
Additional features available on some dry break couplers, such as colour coding of mated fittings, also help to ensure that fuel and high-value service fluids are protected against cross-contamination, as only matched fittings will connect.
Talk to Banlaw today for more information on the best dry break fittings for your specific application.
For more information on how Banlaw can help your business improve fluid transfer and refuelling process efficiency, and make significant savings on fuel, infrastructure, and maintenance costs, talk to Banlaw today. Click here to go to our Contact page, where you can find contact details for Banlaw’s Australian and international headquarters, and a host of Australian and international distributors – alternatively, you can complete our online contact form and a Banlaw representative will contact you shortly.