The Ultimate Guide To Camlock Fittings
What is a Camlock Fitting?
A camlock fitting, also called a cam and groove coupling, is used to connect two hoses and or pipes together in a variety of industries, so that a commodity from one can be transferred to the other. They’re easy to use, requiring no tools to connect and disconnect the two halves of the couplings and they replace the traditional time-consuming methods of some other types of hose or pipe connections. This, together with their cost effectiveness makes them the most popular coupling in the world.
You typically find camlocks in use in every industry, such as manufacturing, agriculture, oil, gas, chemical, pharmaceutical and within military applications. They’re an extremely versatile product, and because there are no threads when connecting the coupling halves together, there are no issues with them becoming damaged or dirty. This means camlock couplings are very suitable for dirty environments. The system is especially well suited to a situation where frequent changes of hoses are required, such as for petroleum, and industrial chemical trucks.
How Does a Camlock Work?
The assembly consists of a male groove adapter and female coupler. To connect and disconnect:
- Extend the handles on the coupler outwards and place the correct size male adapter into the female coupler
- Close both handles at the same time until the two halves are firmly fixed together
- Closing both handles at the same time insures that the grooved adapter is pulled down consistently onto the seal making a leak proof assembly for the safe transfer of liquids
- Reverse the process to disconnect the fitting making sure before doing so that the hose assembly has been de-pressurised.
How To Measure The Dimensions of Your Camlock
Measuring a metallic camlock fitting is reasonably easy. For instance, if the hose tail, male or female thread is 2” then the camlock coupling would be known as a 2” camlock coupling.
Polypropylene is slightly different. There is no international standard and different manufacturers have different head sizes. In the ½” size, the body is actually ¾” but its the thread (or hose tail) that is ½”. There are also some anomalies in the 1 ¼” sized systems.
With most cam couplings, measure the Outside Diameter (OD) of the adapter head or the Inside Diameter (ID) of the coupler. This will identify the fitting size, as depicted in the images bellow.
How Do I Choose The Right Camlock Fitting?
When specifying a fitting, there are seven fields of information required. The acronym for this is STAMPED, which stands for:
- S – Size
- T – Temperature
- A – Application
- M – Material (or media being used)
- P – Pressure rating required
- E – End fittings & connections (thread type)
- D – Delivery (any extras such as material certs)
To What Standard Are Camlocks Manufactured?
The standard for cam & groove couplings is based on the US military specification Mil-C-27487 now superseded by A-A-59326D. The original specification was replaced by the new standard, but still guaranteed the interchangeability of couplings designed to the same specification. The Mil-C-27487 specified the casting methods, materials, dimensions, tolerances, pressure ratings, and inspection procedures.
The European standard EN 14420-7 was approved by CEN in September 2004 and was applied to cam & groove couplings manufactured to the American military standard as outlined above. This American standard does not apply to the hose connection side, but only to the coupling side.
Camlock fittings produced to EN 14420-7 are interchangeable with those produced to the original MIL-C-27487 standard, but differ in terms of hose tail design, thread, and part number. A flat thread seal has been added to the female threaded parts and a smooth hose shank complying with EN 14420-7/DIN 2828 has been added for assembly with safety clamps complying with EN 14420-3/DIN 2817.
Are Camlocks Interchangable?
Between manufacturers, cam & groove couplings are interchangeable with the exception of ½” (12.5mm), 5” and 8”. The A-A-59326A Mil Specification does not apply to 5” and 8” cam & groove couplings due to the presence of two versions of cam & groove couplings in today’s market.
Are There Any Limitations with Using Camlocks in Assemblies?
Hose shanks with larger serrations are not designed to be assembled with a ferrule or sleeve. If swaged, this can result in permanent damage to the hose where larger shank serrations will cut into the inner wall of the hose. This results in leakage and/or permanent hose failure.
Note: Cam & Groove couplings must never be used for steam or compressed air applications.
Why you Need High Quality Camlocks
There are numerous manufacturers around the world, all of which you would imagine would produce these couplings to one of the accepted standards, but experience tells us that this is not always the case.
Problems frequently arise when attempting to use one coupler half from one manufacturer with the other half made by another manufacture. This is not normally the case if the manufacturers are in North America or Europe, where the products are normally manufactured to an accepted certified specification. However cheap copies use less materials in the construction of the coupling and as a result will not last as long. Some are even being made from reused scrap material. I addition their manufacturing process often involves manually drilling-out the fitting so consistency is often a problem, leading to couplings that do not always connect together properly.
Products supplied from reputable manufacturers are designed to be used in rugged situations and if maintained correctly will give a long life, and in the case of Stainless Steel, the materials can be traced.
This section outlines the different brands and types of fittings available. All of these products are readily available from Action Sealtite and other suppliers.
Snaplock® Camlock Fittings
Snaplock® couplings are capable of carrying liquids, powders and granules, although it should be noted they are not suitable for applications involving compressed air. For airlines using compressed air and air pressure applications a different range of specialist fittings are available.
Every Snaplock® cam is made to industry standard which ensures that the complete Snaplock® rage is interchangeable with other camlocks made to the same standard (A-A-59326D, EN14420-& formally the MIL-C-27487). This means you don’t have to worry about compatibility or replacing more than one part at a time.
Snaplock® fittings are a quick release coupling system for low to medium pressures. They are used as a means of connecting and disconnecting hose lines swiftly and without the use of hand tools. They replace the old style threaded couplings, which featured both male and female threads and that required screwing together and tightening with a lug spanner in order to securely make or break lines. Snaplock® camlocks are most commonly used within agriculture or manufacturing industries for the safe, clean transfer of a variety of fluids.
Snaplock® comes in a range of materials, so whether it is an Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Polypropylene or a Brass Camlock you are looking for, we can help fulfil your requirements in a range of sizes from ½” – 6” (polypropylene only available up to 4”, and excludes 2 ½”). Larger fittings are also available on request.
Snaplock® Couplings come with a range of seals, including Nitrile, EPDM, Viton, Neoprene, and FEP/Silicone encapsulated.
Frequently servicing and replacing spare parts will prolong the life of your camlock fittings
Snaplock® Aluminium - T6 Heat Treatment
A key element of providing the highest quality camlock fittings is ensuring that the material used in the manufacturing is the strongest and most robust. This leads to longer life products that can withstand even the toughest of applications.
T6 Heat Treatment offers an increase in hardness to Aluminium, Copper or Silicon alloys. It is a two-phase process that can increase the strength of the alloy by as much as 30%.
Phase One – Quenching
The alloy is heated to 500°C for about 10 hours which causes the copper to dissolve in the aluminium. Next, the alloy is rapidly cooled in water, supersaturating the aluminium with copper, which creates the Single Phase Alloy.
Phase Two – Heating & Cooling
Next, the alloy is heated to 180°C for 10 hours, before it is air-cooled which allows precipitation hardening. This process forms copper aluminium crystalline structures, the size of which will dictate the strength. In general, the smaller the crystals the stronger the alloy becomes.
When it comes to camlock couplings, the majority of assembly failures are as a direct result of using untreated, lower grade camlock couplings. The T6 Heat Treatment ensures that couplings can withstand the rigours of swaging and crimping on the hose.
Snaplock® Stainless Steel - Heat Marked & Certified
In the past when a company requested full traceability of a cam coupling they would have to be specially made. As a result long lead times and high cost would have been involved. Snaplock® cam couplings are manufactured with a specific heat number, which allows all Stainless Steel cam couplings to be traced back to the raw material, used in the manufacturing process.
Some industries including Offshore Oil & Gas, Chemical and Pharmaceutical manufacturing need to be sure that the cam couplings are manufactured using the correct grade of material as using the wrong material or grade could have multiple consequences if incorrect.
In order to ensure traceability, each camlock is marked with a specific and unique reference number, which is etched onto the body of the fitting. If required, this allows the product to be traced back to the raw material used in manufacture.
Snaplock® Stainless Steel camlocks can be supplied with a 3.1 Material Certificate, at the point of order. The certificate guarantees the grade of the Stainless Steel and provides traceability. The standard for inspection documents for Stainless Steel (and some other products) is BS EN 10204 type 3.1.
The certificate enables manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with a customer’s order, using results from specific test and inspections. This is especially relevant when Health & Safety is of key importance to the assembly or for Quality Assurance due diligence.
Why Do We Need 3.1 Certification?
A 3.1 material certificate is vital to ensure that you are getting the material grade you requested, we have encountered situations where some manufacturers are supplying 304 Stainless Steel as 316 in order to keep the cost of the product down.
Snaplock® Accessories & Spares
To keep your cam couplings in good working order regular inspection and replacement of worn parts is required. As a result, there is a full range of spares available including seals, handles, pins and rings. It is always strongly recommended to use spares from the same manufacturer as the couplers you wish them to fit to.
Snaplock® Technical Specifications
- Handles are available in 304 Stainless Steel for all Brass, Stainless Steel and Polypropylene cams
- Brass Handles are fitted as standard to all Aluminium couplings
- Finger Rings are fitted to all sizes of handles
- Finger Rings are Zinc Plated Mild Steel on Aluminium, Brass and Polypropylene couplings
- Pins are 304 Stainless Steel on all materials of couplings
Locking arms are available seperately for dust caps. Use these with a padlock for security.
Gaskets & Seals
Buna Nitrile is the standard gasket/seal supplied & fitted to all metal camlocks and ribbed santoprene for polypropylene camlocks. However, there is a wide range of seal compounds available depending on the media being conveyed through the couplings. These include EPDM, Viton, PTFE/ Buna envelope seals, PTFE/Viton envelope seals, as well as Neoprene. For applications requiring something more exotic FEP/Silicone fully encapsulated seals are available for chemical applications
Gaskets and Seals Technical Specifications
- Standard Gaskets for metallic couplings are BUNA Nitril
- For Polypropylene Snaplock® couplings, standard gaskets are Ribbed Santoprene
- Various materials are available including Buna, EPDM, Viton, Teflon Buna, Teflon Viton, & Neoprene
- FEP/Silicone fully encapsulated seals also available for hazardous chemical
R Clips are designed as an option to be used with cam couplers to prevent the inadvertent disconnection of the coupling assembly. Once the adapter has been connected to the coupler the R clip can be pushed through a hole behind the handle stopping the handle from becoming loose. R Clips are used as an added safety device, essentially allowing you to fix the two halves of a camlock together and to stop them from catching on something or working themselves loose
Saflok Camlock Fittings
The Saflok is a camlock fitting with automatic locking arms that has been designed to help prevent the inadvertent disconnection, which would result in spillage. This is of particular importance if the media is of high-value or hazardous liquid chemicals. This modified camlock fitting features an automatic locking system built directly into the cam arms. This enables it to be used like a standard camlock with a standard adapter but with the additional peace of mind that it locks securely into place and cannot be accidentally opened once closed.
Saflok Technical Specification
- Can be fitted to any standard cam coupler (available as Part B, Part C, Part D & Part DC)
- Material: Stainless Steel with Buna Nitrile Seals (other seals are available on request)
- Sizes ½” to 4” with BSP thread
Go to: More Information On Heat Markings
Saflok Camlock Technical Data Sheets
EcoCam Camlock Fittings
EcoCam is range of ‘unbranded’ cam couplings and makes a great option for those companies wanting a more cost effect product where a less heavy-duty fitting is required. The EcoCam fittings were introduced to complement the substantial range of Snaplock® fittings. They are a more lightweight fitting, but crucially still interchange with Snaplock® since they are made to the same standard.
Developed and distributed exclusively by Action Sealtite, EcoCam has fulfilled the need for a more basic style of camlock made to the same MIL specifications as the top named brands. Notable features of the EcoCam range are its ease of use and its ability to provide a cost effective solution to basic Camlock fitting requirements. Unlike Snaplock®, it is limited to less critical applications and less mechanical stress, but if all you need is a fitting for lighter applications, this is an ideal cost-effective solution.
EcoCam Technical Specification
- Available in Aluminium, Stainless Steel & Polypropylene
- Available in sizes 1/2” – 4”
- Seals are made from Buna Nitrile
- Maximum Allowable Working Pressures: 4-10 Bar
- Suitable for liquids, powders & granules
- Interchangeable with various other camlocks
- Passed the Action Three Point Quality Control checks
EcoCam Features & Benefits
- Our quality assurance processes guarantee the standard of EcoCam products, so you can always rely on a great fitting at a lower price.
- Competitively priced and available from stock
- Straight-through connection
The various materials available allow for this range to cater for a number of different applications.
- Designed for light to medium duty applications
- Designed for pipe, hose, tubing & tank
- Can be used for conveying chemicals, cosmetics, food & drink
Go to: EcoCam Technical Data Sheets
Go to: Camlock Dimensions Data Sheets
Special camlocks are available for non-standard applications. This section provides an overview of the less common camlock fittings and where they are used.
Undercut DIN 2828
The Undercut DIN 2828 is used for when the male thread on the hose is parallel and offers an undercut at the base of the thread as well as a gasket on which the male thread sits on. Each coupling is available with an undercut at the base of the thread and a gasket on which the male thread seals.
Undercut DIN 2828 Technical Specification
- Available in Aluminium and 316 Stainless Steel
- Available in sizes from ½” to 4”
- Straight through leak proof connections, no tools required to connect
- Gaskets: Vulkolan in Aluminium, PTFE in Stainless Steel
Undercut DIN2828 with Seal. All AU parts are BSP Female Parallel Thread with Undercut Seal.
Camlocks with Flanges
Couplings are available with flanged ends so that the quick release system can be introduced without the necessity for major restructuring of the pipework.
Camlocks with Flanges Technical Specification
- Available in many sizes depending on variation required
- Can be made to any flange specification
No Thread Camlocks
No thread couplings are available for applications, which require weld ends. We offer a Part B camlock with a male end with no thread, and a Part F adapter with male end with no thread.
No Thread Camlocks Technical Specification
Spiral Tail Camlocks
For composite hoses, couplings with spiral and helical tails can be matched against the internal wire helix used in the hose construction. This enables the couplings to be screwed into the composite hose and secured by means of a swagged ferrule
Spiral Tail Technical Specification
- Available in Aluminium or Stainless Steel
- Available in sizes 2”, 3”, and 4”
- No tools required to connect
Smooth Tail Coupling EN14420-7 (DIN2828)
The smooth tail of the Part C and the Part E coupling has an annular collar which enables the BS EN14420-3 clamp, which has a lip to engage behind the collar, reducing the risk of hose blowoff. BS EN14420-3 clamps are ordered separately. They are a streamline design and bolts sit in a recess, which leaves no projections to snag or injure an operator.
Smooth Tail Technical Specification
- Available in Brass, Stainless Steel & Polypropylene
- Available in sizes ¾” to 3”
- Clamps are available in Aluminium, Brass and Stainless Steel
Go to: Special Camlock Fittings Technical Data Sheet
Safety Bumps For Camlock Fittings
Safety Bumps are mechanisms designed to prolong the life of the Camlock and keep the hose assembly clean when not in use and help prevent spills. Safety Bumps are designed to make hoses easier to handle and are suitable for general industrial and chemical use. They are designed to protect the hands of the operators and extend the life of the hose assembly by ensuring that the coupling at the end of the hose is protected.
Safety Bumps Technical Specification
- Available in sizes 2”-4”
- Made from glass filled composite with anti-static additive
- Available in food grade certificate composite
Go to: Camlock Accessories and Spares Section
Go to: Camlock Safety Bumps & Locks Technical Data Sheets
Safety Locks for Camlock Fittings
Safety locks are designed to help eliminate spills caused by the camlock arms inadvertently opening during operation. They are an alternative to more expensivesolutions such as locking handles (see Accessories & Spares) and are easy to install and easy to remove. Safety Locks have a heavy-duty clip, which clicks into place over the handles.
Safety Locks Technical Specification
- Available in sizes 2”-4”
Camlocks for IBCs
An Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC), sometimes called an IBC tote, or pallet tank, is a reusable industrial container designed for the transportation and storage of bulk liquid and granulated substances, such as chemicals, agricultural feed, food ingredients, solvents, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics.
IBCs incorporate a pallet, which makes them easy to move with either a jack or a forklift, and because they are cube, they can be efficiently stacked on top of each other. There is a valve at the base of the IBC, which is where a hose can be attached for the transfer of the media.
The IBC tap or valve can be converted to a range of threads making it compatible with almost any hose or fitting. The majority of IBC fittings come in polypropylene and are therefore compatible with a range of chemical applications. There are also Stainless Steel options available, so it is important to check what your requirements are before speaking with us and we should therefore be able to provide the right solution.
Most IBC containers incorporate a plug valve, which terminates in a buttress male thread (usually measuring S60x6), although different manufacturers produce IBCs with different sized valve threads. A wide range of IBC adapters can be screwed to adapt to either a cam system, with a male thread, a female thread or a hose tail. We also supply a range of special ‘step down’ adapters if required.
For more information on the different types of fittings that are available for IBCs and how to measure the thread on the valve on your tank check our IBC Fittings guide video.
Sometimes, standard camlock materials, like stainless steel are not sufficiently resistant to extremely aggressive chemicals. However, some cam couplings can be supplied with high-resistance coatings such as, ECTFE, PFA, PTFE and PVDF.
These coatings are designed to resist highly concentrated and aggressive chemicals. Couplings with an ECTFE coating show excellent electric isolating and fire properties and resist to temperatures up to 150C.
The key quality of a PFA is that the temperature resistance is up to 260C. This effective anti-adhesive layer makes PFA coatings particularly well suited to food and pharmaceutical industry applications.
These couplings can withstand temperatures of up to 260C. Like PFA coated couplings, these ones have excellent anti-adhesive qualities and are suitable for food industry applications.
Resistant to highly concentrated and aggressive chemicals and has the advantage of high temperature resistance up to 260C. These couplings are wear-proof and also suitable for food industry applications.
Camlock Safety & Preventative Maintenance
We recommend that you have a robust maintenance schedule that allows you to check your camlocks regularly. The camlock fittings have moving parts that are subject to wear and tear. As such, they should be regularly checked and worn parts should be replaced where needed. Replacing worn parts significantly increases the life of your products and ensures that health & safety considerations are met.
Accessories & Spares Technical Data
Go to Accessories & Spares Section for a Range of Replacement Camlock Items
Camlock Handles Rings & Pins Technical Data Sheets
Camlock Gaskets and Seals Technical Data Shets