Methods and Equipment for Spreading Flanges


Are you looking for an effective and efficient way to spread flanges? Flange spreaders are key in many industries, as they allow for a safe and consistent spread force on flanges allowing for easy maintenance & gasket swapouts. To make sure that your flange spreaders are able to perform this job effectively, several methods can be used.

In this blog, we’ll explore the different methods and equipment used for spreading flanges so that you can select the right tool for your application.

What is Flange Spreading?

In the world of pipeline construction and maintenance, the term flange spreading is not just jargon but a critical process that ensures the smooth operation of the entire system. 

The process involves the separation of flange joints, which are integral components of a piping system. These joints connect a variety of equipment, including pipes, valves, and pumps, to form a comprehensive and functional piping system.

Flange spreading tools

The separation of these joints is not a simple task and requires the use of specialized tools known as flange spreaders, flange splitters, or flange separators. These tools are designed to spread flange faces apart safely and efficiently. 

This separation allows for the inspection, maintenance, or replacement of internal components, ensuring the longevity and reliability of the piping system.

Operation of Flange Spreaders

The operation of a flange spreader might seem complex, but it follows a straightforward principle. The tool is inserted into the flange access gap, and force is applied to separate the flange faces. 

For hydraulic flange spreaders, this force is generated by a hydraulic cylinder activated by a pump. The spreader’s expanding wedge or collets push against the flange faces, causing them to separate. 

Types of Flange Spreaders

When it comes to flange spreaders, one size does not fit all. There are various types of flange spreaders, each designed to cater to specific needs and applications. The two main categories are mechanical and hydraulic flange spreaders.

Mechanical flange spreaders

Mechanical flange spreaders are manually operated. They are the go-to choice for smaller flanges with a minimum access gap. These spreaders are compact, easy to handle, and perfect for tasks that require a lighter touch.

Hydraulic flange spreaders

On the other hand, hydraulic flange spreaders, like the FSW17P Hydraulic Flange Spreader, use hydraulic pressure to generate a spreading force. This makes them ideal for larger, high-pressure flange joints. 

These heavy-duty tools are designed to handle the rigours of industrial applications, providing the power and reliability needed for challenging tasks.

Choosing the Right Flange Spreader

Choosing the right flange spreader is not just about picking the most expensive or popular model. It’s about understanding the task at hand, the type and size of the flanges you’ll be working with, and the required spreading force. Please make sure to always confirm how much space there is between the gap of the flanges. Most spreaders will require ¼” to begin to fit with some models that are able to fit in ⅛” gap for the first bite of the spreader. If there is not an available gap to fit a wedge style spreader, then you will have to look at no-gap flange spreader options which use a colette system and grabs onto the bolt holes for spreading. 

Flange spreaders are essential tools in any pipework operation, so it is important to choose wisely and ensure that your project runs smoothly.

Safety Considerations

Safety should never be an afterthought when working with flange spreaders. Safety blocks should be used to prevent the flanges from closing unexpectedly, which could cause injury or damage the equipment.

Additionally, the flange load should be carefully calculated to ensure the spreader can safely handle the force required to separate the flanges. It’s also important to ensure that the spreader is properly aligned and not put into place offset or in a cocked position. You want the force to be spread evenly along the teeth of the flange spreader.

These safety measures are not just best practices but essential steps to ensure the safety of the operator and the integrity of the equipment.


Flange spreaders are essential tools for any pipework operation, and the right tool can make all the difference in a project’s success. Careful consideration of the task at hand, including the type and size of flanges and safety measures, is necessary when selecting a flange spreader. 

The right tool will ensure that the job is done quickly, safely, and efficiently. With the right tools, you can be sure that your project will run smoothly and deliver lasting results.

Shop Flange Spreaders at ALLTORC Today

Here at Alltorc, we offer a wide range of flange spreaders to meet your needs. Browse our selection today to find the best flange spreader for your application and to ensure the success of your project. 

With our fast delivery and great customer service, we’re here to help you get the job done safely and quickly. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services – our expert team is ready to help.