Sanitary Fittings and Systems

Sanitary Fittings are cleanable connectors that are installed in systems of piping for different forms of processing fluids to ensure sterility and cleanliness for the processing. Just like regular fittings, sanitary fittings connect sections of pipes to regulate the flow of fluid, but sanitary fittings are designed specifically to prevent entrapment, formations, and the spread of bacteria in the piping system.


Most sanitary fittings are made of stainless steel. Sanitary fittings must be made of sterilizable and corrosion-resistant materials that can withstand frequent exposure to high temperatures, pressure, and chemicals. Stainless steel is the most commonly used material for sanitary fittings for process piping, with high-grade alloys also sometimes used. Stainless steel is naturally antimicrobial and is resistant to rust and corrosion. It is also an easy-to-clean surface that is perfectly suited to facilities where hygiene and cleanliness are of primary concern.

Sanitary Fittings can be categorized according to connection types, describing the connection between pipes, tubes, or hoses.

Here are some of the most common connection types and their functions:

Sanitary Fittings can be further categorized according to connection types, which determines how they are connected to pipes, tubes, or hoses. Here are some of the most common connection types and their functions.

Ball and sleeve fittings – Ball and sleeve fittings connect an outer retractable sleeve to an inner ball fitting. 

Barbed fittings — Barbed fittings connect hoses and other low-pressure vessels through a barbed or ridged adapter that allows a firm grip.

Cam and groove coupling/ camlock adapters/ camlock fittings — Cam and groove or camlock fittings are a form of hose fitting that locks the connection when external levers are folded back over the sides of the socket. Camlock fittings are often used in industrial-strength applications such as fire hose and sewage pumping systems.

Compression fittings — Compression fittings are made up of an outer compression nut and an inner compression ferrule or ring.

Crimp fittings — Crimp fittings create an airtight seal with a metal sleeve or crimp socket that seals off the vessel. Crimp fittings are highly durable and resistant to pressure and temperature.

End fittings — End fittings provide specific end surfaces for making connections. Clamp ends are fittings which clamp the vessels to the connection. Plain ends are fittings which connect vessels by adhesive, solder, or other forms.

Flange fittings — Flange fittings are methods of connecting pipes, valves and pumps via an external or internal ridge or rim that adds strength to the system. Used when the connections require dismantling, flanges are the second most widely used joining method after welding. When applied to connect surfaces, flanges are attached with clamps, bolts, and welding. When used to connect tubes and pipes, flange fittings are attached separately to the vessel ends.

Luer taper/ Luer locks — Luer taper or luer locks are an industry-standard system for small-scale fluid fittings, where a male-taper fitting is connected into its female counterpart fitting. They are commonly used for short, single-use applications such as syringes and to connect tubes in medical and laboratory applications.

Push-on/ push-to-connect fittings — Push-on or push-to-connect fittings are designed to connect by pushing a vessel into one end of a connection fitting. They are usually designed with a ring of metal spurs that grips the end of the vessel that is inserted into it. These fittings are suitable for applications that require frequent disconnection and reconnection.

Threaded joints/ threaded fittings — Threaded fittings are one of the oldest forms of fittings for piping systems. They connect vessels using threaded fastening such as bolts and nuts. The screw threads are made with grooves on their inner (female) or outer (male) surfaces which connect to matching threads.

Sanitary fittings are used in a variety of functions, including:

  • Fittings which provide special connections to a vessels such as valves.
  • Fittings which extend or terminate a vessel such adapters, plugs, sleeves, or caps. 
  • Fittings which alter the direction of a vessel such as elbows, tees, wyes, and crosses. 
  • Fittings which alter the size of a vessel such as reducers and olets.

Here are some examples of Sanitary Fittings commonly used in process piping systems:

  • Sanitary Clamps 
  • Sanitary Elbows 
  • Sanitary Tee & Cross
  • Sanitary Reducers 
  • Sanitary Ferrules 
  • Sanitary Unions 
  • Sanitary Pipes/ Tubes
  • Sterile Flanges