The mechanical tee is a pipe fitting that is used in place of full flow cast fittings. The grooved mechanical tee is constructed from ductile iron in two equal halves: one is the outlet, and the other is the strap. At the location of the branch or device, an oversized hole is drilled or cut into the pipe. An assembly of mechanical tees is assembled around the pipe, positioning the collar inside the hole and enclosing a rubber gasket designed to fit the particular piping system. By fastening the bolts, the branch becomes more secure. A mechanical tee is used to connect piping directly to a system. Designed to offer contractors excellent flexibility and cost savings, both in terms of labour and materials, these labor saving pipe fittings are designed to save contractors time and costs.
Mechanical tee can be used when splitting or merging is needed. Firstly, open a hole on the steel pipe with a tapping machine, and then snap the mechanical tee into the hole, and the circumference of the hole is sealed by a sealing ring along the pipe wall. When the mechanical tee is connected, the gap between the mechanical tee and the hole should be checked, all parts should be even, and then tightened in place; the distance between the mechanical tee openings should not be less than 1m.
Mechanical tees help you retrofit and expand sprinkler systems.Tees are pipe fittings with three outlets—two in a line and a third 90 degrees between them. In fire sprinkler systems, a heavy main water line carries water through the building, and lighter branch lines distribute it to the sprinkler heads. Tees connect branch lines to the main lines, and account for various changes in elevation and the direction of pipe and water.
Mechanical tees have the same basic parts as grooved couplings—nuts and bolts, housings, and gaskets. In grooved couplings, the gasket fits around the circumference of the two butted pipes, and the housing holds them together end-to-end. Read our previous blog for more information on grooved piping systems. In mechanical tees, the gasket fits around the circumference of a hole drilled perpendicular (on center-line) to a pipe. The housing and its hardware secure the outlet to the drilled hole.
Some mechanical tees use a U-bolt instead of a lower housing. The U-bolt fits around the pipe in the same way the lower housing would. U-bolt mechanical tees can be good cost-saving alternatives.
Start by draining the pipes.
Then, locate the center-line on the length of pipe that will receive the tee and mark the center of the new outlet.
Using an industrial hole-saw, drill a hole perpendicular to center-line. Note that the hole size is not the same as the outlet pipe size. For instance, a tee with a 1 ½” nominal grooved outlet (1.9” actual outer diameter) requires a 2.007” hole per manufacturer instructions.
Once the hole is cut, prepare the pipe and tee for installation. Deburr the edges of the hole and clear away debris. Inspect the quality of the gasket and the pipe surface around the hole for anything that might impede a good seal—dirt, lumps on the pipe, tear in the gasket, etc.
With that done, lubricate the gasket according to manufacturer instructions. Assemble the housings around the pipe so that the outlet is over the hole and tighten the nuts. Under- or over-tightening the bolts can damage the hardware or affect the performance. Tighten the nuts to the torque specified by the manufacturer using a torque wrench.
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