Why should M&E contractors consider newer alternatives to traditional split bands?
Split bands are traditional heavy duty pipe fixing brackets that have been used in the construction industry for many years. They are simplistic pipe clamps constructed of two pieces of formed metal, secured in two places with nuts and bolts.
However, there are now modern alternatives to split bands with important differences which can really benefit modern construction methods.
Modern versus traditional heavy-duty pipe supports
Split bands are often favoured by installers because they are simply all they have ever used for supporting heavy pipework and also for securing insulated pipe supports. You could say they are a tried and tested method of supporting pipes as they have been used in construction for many years.
So, it is understandable that some installers may be reluctant to consider newer, more innovative versions of these clamps, or even are unaware that these modern alternatives exist.
However, newer products are often designed and developed using state of the art manufacturing methods and with contemporary construction challenges in mind. As a result, they can deal in more flexible ways with issues such as:
• Thermal expansion (as part of a system)
• Dealing with extreme forces
• Soundproofing requirements (lined versions)
• Corrosion resistance
• Faster installation requirements
What are the key differences between split bands and modern heavy duty pipe clamps?
Here are some of the main differences between split bands and their modern counterparts, although it is important to check with the manufacturer that their heavy-duty clamp alternatives offer the spec and benefits shown as not all will be the same.
Traditional Split Bands
Heavy Duty Pipe Clamps
Uncertified load bearing capacity
Due to the lack of regulations around manufacture of split bands, they are not officially tested and certified for specific loads.
Certified load bearing capacity
Modern clamps are more likely to come with a tested and certified load bearing capacity.
Often untested and uncertified for quality
At best, split bands are manufactured to British Standards BS3974 which do not include any formal BS EN approvals, no detailed level of testing nor certification regarding quality.
Available with quality approvals
Some manufacturers will implement much stricter quality assessments and will be able to provide quality certifications and evidence of quality testing, fire safety testing and more for modern design clamps.
Traditional, split bands only have around a 4mm adjustment range
With only a small range of adjustment when fitting the clamp, these clamps are less flexible and require much more accurate specification and fixing.
Modern HD Clamps have a range of up to 10mm adjustment
A greater adjustment range means more tolerance and flexibility for onsite installation. That, in turn, can lead to fewer returned items and faster installations.
Loose nuts and bolts used to secure both sides
We all know how difficult it can be to install these clamps at height with hands full of nuts and bolts. Many loose parts can end up on the floor, lost whilst trying to install.
Easy installation features
Innovative product features such as captive nuts, anti-loss washers and the ability to unscrew just one side to fit the clamp, means that pipes can be installed at a much faster rate than traditional clamps.
No built-in lining options available
You cannot buy ready-lined split bands. To line a split band, you need to buy a separate lining material.
Noise insulation features
Modern heavy duty pipe clamps are available with a rubber lining option, helps with noise reduction.
More clamps likely to be required
In many scenarios, HD Clamps can take more force than split bands. So, using split bands may not allow you to achieve the best span between clamps.
Allow for a larger bracket distance
The larger the span between clamps, the more force will be placed on each individual clamp. Therefore, HD Clamps can help installers achieve maximum spans between clamps.
Can be expensive in some scenarios
If required in larger sizes, these can work out more expensive than heavy duty pipe clamps.
Cost effective alternative
In many instances, heavy duty pipe clamps can be cheaper than split bands.
Heavy Duty Clamps – the versatile, modern alternative
Whilst there is still a place for traditional pipe clamps like split bands, there are also many advantages to considering the use of modern alternatives. For those contractors who value quality guarantees, saving time on site, installation advantages and being able to prove that the clamp can support the loads and forces required, heavy duty clamps are certainly worth considering.
Rob Lee is Regional Sales Manager at Walraven