What Are Instrumentation Tubes?

Control instrumentation and process measurement is a crucial part of most primary industries, including chemical processing, aerospace, medical equipment and shipbuilding, to name but a few. It covers components and devices ranging from pressure sensors and control valves to instrumentation tubes and level gauges. These fittings, valves and tubing are the veins and arteries through which the blood of the instrumentation system flows. From high-pressure tubing in your car’s fuel system to the heat exchangers used in nuclear power plants, instrumentation tubes are everywhere you look.

Stainless steel is a preferred material for most kinds of instrumentation tubes as it is highly corrosion and heat resistant. It is also easy to weld and machine. There are four main grades of stainless steel used in the manufacture of instrumentation tubing, namely:

  • 316 Stainless steel – this has the strongest corrosion and pitting resistance of all the 300 series stainless steel grades. It is ideal for hydraulic and instrumentation tubes as it’s highly ductile.
  • 304 Stainless steel – This is one of the most commonly used stainless steel available. Also known as A2, it’s perfect for use in high-temperature environments or where corrosive acids are present.
  • 2205 Stainless steel – this is a high alloy stainless steel and is available in four groups: ferritic, martensitic, austenitic and precipitation-hardened. It has improved resistance to sulphide stress corrosion, and performs well in chloride environments.
  • 904L Stainless steel – this is also a high alloy stainless steel, but unlike 2205, it is a non-stabilised austenitic metal with a low carbon content. This non-magnetic alloy offers excellent resistance to stress corrosion cracking and crevice corrosion, and allows for a tighter tolerance to give a leak-proof joint between the connector and the tube.

What Are Instrumentation Tubes Used For?

Instrumentation tubes are used to connect pressure switches or gauges, flow monitors and valves on ventilation systems and industrial piping. They are found in a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Oil and gas
  • Process instrumentation and sensing
  • Chemical and petrochemical
  • Automotive
  • Power generation
  • Hydraulics
  • Military
  • Chemical inhibition
  • Aviation

Steelmor is a leading manufacturer and supplier of instrumentation tubes. We stock both imperial and metric sizes – 1/8” to 1” and 6mm to 16mm. All sizes are available in a variety of wall thicknesses. Contact us today to talk about your specific requirements.