The Complete Guide to Camlock Fittings
This guide will provide a general overview of the full range of camlock couplings and their accessories. Its Purpose is to show the reader the various options available and to provide the necessary information needed to choose the correct fitting.
What is a Camlock Coupling?
A Camlock Fitting is a type of coupling that is used for connecting hoses and or pipes together that transfer liquids, powders and granules. A 'straight through' connection is made that maintains the pipe size and allows the free flow of material being transfered.
They are easy to operate by hand and require no tools to connect or to disconnect. Since they require no threads to connect the two halves of the mating pair together, they are able to operate in dirty environments. They are the most widely used coupling in the world, due to their ease of use, their versatility, and their cost effectiveness.
They are 'tailor made' for applications where routine hose changes are required and are also widely used to connect pipes or hoses to various pieces of equipment, like to a pump for example.
Types of Camlock Couplings
Click here for: Camlock Coupler Product Pages
How do Camlocks Work?
It requires two parts of the coupling to make a connection, a male adapter and a female coupler.
- Place the same size male adapter into the female coupler (You may have to open the handles on the female cam).
- Close both arms/handles simultaneously (This ensures the male grooved cam makes a leak proof seal on the recessed gasket inside the female coupler.)
- To disconnect open the handles and remove the male adapter (Make sure there is no pressure build up in the line before dissembling.)
Why use Camlocks?
- ● Ease of Use: They are probably the easiest of the quick couplings to use. They can be connected by hand and require no tools to assemble.
- ● Quick to Couple: A connection can be made in seconds. There are no threads involved when connecting the complementary male and female coupler halves together.
- ● Versatile: They are suitable to be used on most liquid, powder and gas applications. (Not suited for compressed air applications due to safety concerns.)
- ● Durable: Their simple design means there are no issues with dirt or premature damage due to wear and tear.
- ● Reliable: They are designed for multiple repeatable use, that is to repeat their function of connecting/disconnecting in the same manner for the life of the product.
- ● Cost Effective: They are well priced compared to other quick disconnects. The fact that they are so easy to use and reliable leads to more time and cost saving.
- This makes them suitable for almost all environments and very well suited to situations where multiple connections and disconnections are required, for example the frequent changing of hoses for chemical trucks and petroleum applications.
How to Select the right Camlock Fitting?
- ● Size: The size of the thread or hose determines the size of the camlock required. If you have a 1" thread or a 1" hose then you need a 1" Camlock. (See below "How to measure the size of a camlock")
- ● Pressure: Operating pressure ratings vary for the various materials with Stainless Steel having the highest rating and Polypropylene the lowest. (See below "Pressure Ratings")
- ● Temperature: The temprature rating of the camlock is largely determined by the gasket. If you have exceedingly high or low temperature requirements, please see the temperature rating of the respective gaskets. (see below " Temperature Ratings")
- ● Material: Chemical compatibility varies for the various materials (See below "Camlock Material Composition")
- ● End Connection: If you are connecting to a hose you will require a hose shank end, (That is a Type C or E). If you are connecting to a male thread you will require a cam with a female thread, (That is a Type A or D). If you are connecting to a female thread then you will require a cam with a male thread. (That is a Type B or F).
How to Measure the Size of a Camlock
The size of the camlock required is determined by the size of the threaded half or the hose shank half of the cam. This is referred to as the nominal size. For example if the thread or hose barb is 2", then the size of that camlock coupling' is 2".
One can also measure the camlock half, however this measurement is generally not used any more to identify the size of the camlock.
- ● The Male Adapter size is determined by measuring the outside diameter (OD)
- ● The Female Coupler size is determined by measuring the inside diameter (ID)
Although Cam & Groove Couplers are now conveniently measured using the nominal size, that is, the size of the thread or hose barb, we have included the tradition way to measure the coupler/adapter portion.
Meaurements for the Adapter/Coupler portion of the Camlock:
|Camlock Size||Male Outside Diameter||Female Inside Diameter|
|1/2"||0.937" (15/16")||23.8"||0.970" (1")||24.6"|
|3/4"||1.26" (1-1/4")||32.1"||1.28" (1-5/16")||32.4"|
|1"||1.44" (1-7/16)||36.7"||1.47" (1-1/2")||37.3"|
|1-1/2"||2.1" (2-1/16")||53.4"||2.13" (2-1/8)||54"|
|2"||2.48" (2-1/2")||63"||2.51" (2-1/2")||63.8"|
|2-1/2"||2.992" (3")||75.9"||3.031" (3")||76.9"|
|3"||3.6" (3-5/8")||91.5"||3.63" (3-11/16")||92.2"|
|4"||4.7" (4-3/4")||119.5"||4.74" (4-3/4")||120.3"|
|5"||5.625 (5-5/8")||142.8"||5.664" (5-11/16)||143.8"|
|6"||6.92" (6-15/16")||175.7"||6.97" (7")||177"|
The higher the temperature the more the presure rating of the cam lock with reduce. Teflon (PTFE) gaskets will also reduce the pressure rating since they are so stiff. The presure rating of polypropylene camlocks are reduced by around 40% at temperatures of 158°F or higher.
The Maximum Pressure Ratings for Camlock Couplings at Ambient Temperatures:
|Stainless Steel||150 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||225 PS||200 PSI||100 PSI||75 PSI|
|Aluminum||150 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||150 PSI||125 PSI||100 PSI||75 PSI|
|Brass||150 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||250 PSI||150 PSI||125 PSI||100 PSI||75 PSI|
|Polypropylene||125 PSI||125 PSI||125 PSI||100 PSI||100 PSI||100 PSI||-||50 PSI||50 PSI||-|
It is generally the gasket that determines the temperature rating of the coupling. This is because the metal couplings are generally quite heat resistant and can withstand higher temperatures than the gaskets they are accompanied by. The exception to this is Polypropylene which can only handle about 158°F before its pressure rating is reduced.
The Temperature Ratings for the most common Elastomer Gaskets:
|Gasket Material||Low Temperature Rating||High Temperature Rating|
|Buna Nitrile (Buna-N)||-22°F||212°F|
Camlock Material Composition
Cam & Groove Couplings come in a variety of materials each suited to various applications. Below are some useful advantages and common applications that will help you identify the correct material required for your particular application.
If you are transferring a corrosive chemical it can be useful to do a chemical compatibility chart reading for the camlock material as well as the gasket. (Click here: for a Compatibility Chart)
- ● Stainless Steel: The advantages are its high strength, corrosion resistance and its resistance to extreme temperatures. This durability makes stainless steel compatible with a large range of materials including acids, alkalis and highly corrosive applications. Common applications include food & beverage, marine applications, pharmaceutical & chemical , cleaning & sanitation, paints & dyes, fuel & oil and manufacturing. (Click here for: The Difference Between Stainless Steel 316 vs 304)
- ● Brass: The advantages are it is corrosion resistant especially to saltwater, and it is easy to assemble since it’s a “softer” metal allowing the cam arms to closes easily. Common applications include marine installations, deep well operations and in applications where salty water is prevalent.
- ● Aluminum: The advantages are it is light weight and cost effective. Although it is not as corrosion resistant as stainless its low cost makes it easy to replace making it a good alternative for industrial applications. Common applications include the wide range of general industry, construction and applications using fresh water mixtures.
- ● Polypropylene: The advantages are it is light weight, low cost and chemical resistant. Like stainless steel they are suitable for acids and alkalis and are corrosive resistant. Common applications include the chemical industry, industrial applications and agriculture.
- ● Nylon: Similar to polypropylene the advantages are a higher resistance to high temperatures and humidity. Common applications are the chemical and agriculture industries in high heat and moisture applications. (Click here to: Inquire for different materials)
- ● Ductile and Malleable Iron: The advantages are its strength and durability.
The Material Composition for the most common Cam & Groove Couplings:
How to Select the right Camlock Type? (Type B or Type D)
There are multiple factors to consider when selecting the right coupling. For most applications all you will require is the size, material, whether you required a male or female thread or hose shank, and whether you need a male cam adapter or a female cam coupler. Most people struggle with not identifying the type of cam they require (Male or Female) as well as the thread (also Male or Female or potentially a hose shank). If you have both the camlock portion and the thread portion identified it will be alot easier to communicate what camlock type you require. For example if you need to connect a male camlock (you will need a female cam) and if the thread portion needs to thread into a female thread (you will need a male thread). So in effect you will need a Female Camlock x Male Thread (Type B).
Camlock Type Selection Guide:
Where are Camlock Couplings used?
Due to their versatility Cam & Groove Couplings are used in almost any industry that uses liquids or powders. These multiple industries most notably include manufacturing, fuel & oil, gas, pharmaceutical, chemical, food & beverage, cleaning, paints (inks and dyes), military installations and within agriculture.
- ● Fuel & Oil: Cam & Groove Couplings are the standard for connecting hoses which are prevalent in the petrochemical industry.
- ● Agriculture: Corrosion resistant Poly Camlocks are well suited to agricultural applications. They are well suited to deal with fertilizers, chemicals, humidity and temperature fluctuations.
- ● Paints, Inks and Dyes: Paint & Ink manufacturing plants require frequent change in pipe connections made possible by the quick-connect and disconnect of Camlocks.
- ● Sanitation & Waste Water: Stainless Steel camlocks are often used in water treatment and purification plants.
- ● Cleaning: Widely used by industrial cleaners, camlocks facilitate transportation and storage.
- ● Military and Government: Aluminum Camlocks are widely used in Defense and government installations. These light weigh couplings are often anodized to meet military standards.
- ● Original Equipment manufacturers (OEM’s): Manufactures making equipment often use camlocks in their productions to ensure a quick installation and removal from outside installations.
- ● Pumps and Equipment: Male Camlock adapters are often installed on the inlet and outlet of transfer pumps and other industrial equipment like filters.
- ● Hose: Male and female camlock hose connecters are installed straight into hoses by hose companies with hose clamps or crimp ferrules.
Camlock Production Method
● Stainless Steel: Investment cast in 304 and 316, can be polished for sanitary applications.
● Aluminum: Gravity die cast, can be anodized for military applications.
● Brass: Forged sizes ½” up to 3”, 4” and above are sand cast.
● Polypropylene: manufactured with fiberglass re-enforced Polypropylene which is acid resistant.
Manufacturing Standards for Camlocks
Federal Standard A-A-59326 (Previosly Mil Spec: Mil-C-27487)
Cam & Groove Couplings are manufactured according to the Federal Standard A-A-59326. Before this supersession they were manufactured according to the US military specification Mil-C-27487, which outlined the dimensions and casting methods to be used, the pressure ratings and tolerances to be adhered to and the inspection procedures to be followed. The Mil Spec Mil-C-27487 ensured the compatibility of products from different manufacturers.
Mil-C-2487 is now obsolete and replaced by A-A59326. Like its predecessor the Federal Standard A-A-59326 guarantees the interchangeability with other Couplings also manufactured according to the correct standard. Our Couplings are manufactured according to the dimensions and tolerances of A-A-59326/Mil-C-2487 and are pressure tested beyond the recommended working pressures to ensure they confirm to the approved pressure ratings.
The European Standard (EN 14420-7)
The EN 14420-7, European Standard came into effect in September 2004 and worked in conjunction with the American Standard outlined above. The American military standard only applies to the coupling side of the camlock and not to the hose connection/thread connection side.
The European standard interchanges with camlocks produced to the original Mil Spec Mil-C-27487, where they differ are in the connection side like the thread and hose shank design. A smooth hose barb that complies with the European standard EN 14420-7 as well as to the German standard DIN 2828, has been added to assemble with RK safety clamps that comply with EN 14420-3 and DIN 2817. Also a flat thread seal has been added to the female thread portion of the camlock.
Are Camlock Fittings Interchangeable?
Since Camlocks are all made to the same standard they are interchangeable with other brands regardless of where they are manufactured. There are exceptions, most notably the 1/2”, 5” and 8”. The Military Specification A-A59326A does not apply to the sizes 5” and 8”, since there are two versions available.
The ½” also have two versions, one found in the U.S and the other that Europe and Australia follows. The European version has a thinner “lip” on the male adapter portion. What this translates to practically is that the US female camlock version will accept the European Male camlocks, however the fit will be loose and it will be 'easy' to close the arms of the female cam. The European Female camlocks will not accept the US Male camlocks as the lip will be too think for the arms to close. (** We believe the ¾” also follow the ½” in this dual version available)
In the 8” camlocks there are the PTK and the NAE versions available:
- ● PTK stands for PT Coupling & Kuriyama
- ● NAE stands for Neco, “Dixon” Andrews and Evertite.
To determine the style of 8" Camlock you have:
- ● Measure the OD of the Male Adapter (or the ID of the Female Coupler.)
- ● The PTK Version measures a diameter of less than 9”, whereas the NAE version measures a diameter of over 9”.
Limitations with Camlock Couplings
● For safety reasons they are not intended to be used for compressed air or steam applications. This is because if they are opened under pressure the couplings can be forced apart in an unsafe manner.
● For hose applications, The Type C & E with larger serrations on the hose shanks are not meant to be assembled with a sleeve or with a ferrule. These larger serrations on the hose shank can cut into the hose if subjected to enough pressure from a ferrule or sleeve. For these applications where a ferrule or sleeve are preferred please use a hose camlock with a crimp collar.
Camlock Spares and Accessories
In order to keep cam & groove couplings in good working order the replacement of worn parts may be required. There is a full range of spare parts available which include gaskets, handles, rings and pins.
Traditionally all Aluminum Camlocks came standard with brass handles. Due to the increase in the cost of brass many manufacturers have started supplying the Aluminum Camlocks with stainless steel handles. Brass Camlocks come standard with brass handles, although many manufactures are choosing to switch these to stainless steel handles. Poly and Stainless Camlocks come standard with stainless steel handles.
● Handles: Cam arms are available in stainless steel 304 for all the 4 types of material offered: Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Brass and Polypropylene.
● Rings: Pull ”Key” Rings are fitted to the end of all handles to provide more leverage when opening handles. These “Key” Rings are Zinc Plated Steel standard on all Aluminum, Brass and Poly couplings. Stainless Steel Camlocks with have 304 stainless steel “Key” rings.
● Pin: Safety Pins are Zinc Plated Steel standard on all Aluminum, Brass and Poly couplings and Stainless Steel 304 on stainless steel camlocks.
All Female Couplers are fitted with a gasket on the Cam half of the coupling, this ensures a leak free seal when coupled with the Male Adapter. All Metal Camlocks are fitted with Buna Nitrile (Buna-N) as the standard gasket and Polypropylene Cams come standard with EPDM gaskets.
- ● Buna Nitrile: Also known as Buna-N supplied as the standard gasket on all metal couplings
- ● EPDM: Supplied as the standard gasket on all Poly camlocks.
- ● Viton: Usually purchased separately for special applications that require extra corrosion resistance or better heat tolerance.
- ● Silicone: Ideal for food grade applications.
- ● Teflon: PTFE Gaskets available for special order
R-Clips also referred to a R-Pin or a hairpin cotter pin. These safety clips come standard with all female couplers. They are designed to prevent the cam arms from opening and therefore prevent the accidental disconnection of the mating pair of camlocks.
- To use the R-Clip:
- ● First insert the male adapter into the female coupler and close the handles.
- ● Once the handles are closed, the R-Clip is pushed through the tiny hole located behind the handle and this prevents the handle from returning to the open position.
These locking pins act as an added safety feature allowing you to secure the two mating halves of the camlock together and prevent them from coming loose.
These security chains are used to connect Dust Caps and Dust Plugs to the camlock they connect to. This prevents them from being lost or misplaced when disconnect since it keeps them connected to the process by a chain. Often in a process where a hose or pipe is connected for a transfer, and then once it is disconnected it needs to be kept sealed, having the Dust cap or Plug close by on a chain is convenient to keep processes dust free.
- ● Made to be used for Dust Caps and Dust Plugs.
- ● Available in 6” and 12” Lengths (Longer length's available on request.)
- ● Come with S-Hook connections or “Key” ring connections.
- ● Stainless Steel 304
A special camlock with self locking arms has been specifically designed to prevent the accidental disconnection of a mating camlock pair, which could otherwise cause a costly spillage. This is particularly useful if the product being transferred has a high value, contains hazardous material, toxic chemicals or is highly flammable. This camlock has been modified to have a locking system built into the cam arms, which keeps them in the locked position much the same way as R-Clips would do. This special part functions like a standard female camlock that can accept a standard Male Camlock Adapter but with the additional safety feature that when it is locked into place it cannot be accidently opened.
- ● Available in a Part B, Part C, Part D and Dust Caps.
- ● Can couple to any standard male adapter (Part A, Part E, Part F and Dust Plug.)
- ● Manufactured in stainless steel 316.
- ● Buna Nitrile gaskets (can accept other gaskets as required).
- ● Sizes ¾” up to 3” (Larger sizes available for special order.)
This Camlock Reducer is composed of a Female Coupler by Male Adapter of a different size. This allows you to connect camlocks of different sizes to the same application, effectively allowing you to increase or decrease your line size.
- ● Female Camlock x Male Camlock
- ● A Reducing Camlock with a different Coupler x Adapter size on either end.
This Camlock Spool Adapter is composed of a Male Adapter by Male Adapter. This enables you to connect Female Couplers to either end, in effect allowing you to connect two Female Couplers together.
- ● Male Camlock x Male Camlock
- ● Also available as a reducer with a different Adapter size on either end.
This Camlock Spool Coupler is composed of a Female Coupler by Female Coupler. This allows you to connect Male Adapters to either end, effectively enabling you to connect two Male Adapters together.
- ● Female Camlock x Female Camlock
- ● Also available as a reducer with a different Coupler size on either end.
This Cam Adapter Reducer is composed of a Male Adapter by Female NPT Thread of a different size. This allows you to connect a Female Coupler or a Male Thread of different size to your application, effectively allowing you to change your line size.
- ● Male Camlock x Female NPT Thread
- ● A Reducing Type A Adapter with a different size Female Thread.
This Cam Coupler Reducer is composed of a Female Coupler by Male NPT Thread of a different size. This enables you to connect a Male Adapter or a Female Thread of different size to your application, effectively allowing you to change your line size.
- ● Female Camlock x Male NPT Thread
- ● A Reducing Type B Coupler with a different size Male Thread.
This Cam Coupler Reducer is composed of a Female Coupler by Hose Shank of a different size. This enables you to connect a Male Adapter or a hose of different size to your application, effectively allowing you to change your line size.
- ● Female Camlock x Hose Shank
- ● A Reducing Type C Coupler with a different size Hose Barb.
This Cam Coupler Reducer is composed of a Female Coupler by Female NPT Thread of a different size. This allows you to connect a Male Adapter or a Male Thread of different size to your application, effectively enabling you to change your line size.
- ● Female Camlock x Female NPT Thread
- ● A Reducing Type D Coupler with a different size Female Thread.
This Cam Adapter Reducer is composed of a Male Adapter by Hose Shank of a different size. This allows you to connect a Female Coupler or a hose of a different size to your system, thus allowing you to change your line size.
- ● Male Camlock x Hose Shank
- ● A Reducing Type E Adapter with a different size Hose Barb.
This Cam Adapter Reducer is composed of a Male Adapter by Male NPT Thread of a different size. This enables you to connect a Female Coupler or a Female Thread of different size to your system, allowing you to change the size your line .
- ● Male Camlock x Male NPT Thread
- ● A Reducing Type F Adapter with a different size Male Thread.
Cam & Groove Weld Fittings
Weld-on Camlocks are manufactured without threads and designed to we permanently welded onto an system. They are designed to be welded onto Pipe for general industry and onto tubing for more selective applications. There are two type of weld-on fittings: Socket Weld and Butt Weld. A Socket Weld accepts the Pipe or Tube into the fitting, the fitting is wider than the Pipe or Tube it is welded to. Butt Welds are welded end to end, the fitting is the same thickness as the Pipe or tube it is welded to.
Socket Weld: in the camlock industry is the most common for general purposes. It is a method of welding where the Pipe or Tube is inserted into the fitting it is to be welded onto. It is where two different sizes of Pipe are welded together, the smaller diameter is inserted into the larger diameter and then welded in place. The weld takes place on the periphery of the larger pipe.
Butt Weld: in the camlock industry is more common in specialized applications like food & beverage and pharmaceutical & chemical. It is the method of welding where the diameters are the same and the two parts are "Butted" up to each other and welded.
- ● Type A & Type D made with out threads are suitable for Socket Welds
- ● Type F & Type B made with out threads are suitable for Butt Welds
Sanitary Cam & Groove (Tri-Clamp)
Camlocks with Tri-Clamp ends and "Butt weld to tube" end connections are desiged for clean applications like the Food & Beverage and pharmaceatical industries. There are two types of Butt Weld: for Tube and for Pipe. Since saitary applications use Tubing, this is the most popular in the camlock sanitary industry.
Cam & Groove by Tri-Clamp: designed to join a camlock directly onto to a Tri-Clover application.
Cam & Groove by Butt Weld: are designed to be welded permanently onto a sanitary tubing system.
- ● Polished to a 3 A finish
- ● Can be fitted with Silicone Gaskets
Flanged Camlock Couplings
Camlocks are available with flanged ends as opposed to the usual threads or hose barbs. This allows them to be connected to heavy duty systems that use flanges as a method of connection.
- ● Available in many sizes.
- ● Can be manufactured according to various flange specifications.
Camlock Coupling Dimensions
All camlocks made to the Mill Spec with be interchangeable since the adapter and coupler portion are made to the same standards, as are the threads. However there are other dimensions that can vary, like wall thickness, length and weight. Historically Domestic Camlocks like PT Coupling and Dixon are heavier and use more raw material per coupling than other manufacturers. This also makes them more expensive. There seems to be a sweet spot where the weight of the camlock is heavier enough to last a lifetime, and also light enough to be cost effective. Below are sample dimensions of couplings that aim to supply the most value to the customer.
Dimensions for Stainless Steel Couplings
Stainless Steel is one of the strongest and most chemical resistant of the camlock material options. Since it is so robust it is suitable for most applications. They are a simalar size to Aluminum and Brass Couplings.