Choosing the best suited connector first requires a careful assessment of the application. Primary factors to consider are:
Temperature range — the minimum and maximum temperature tolerances that the connectors will need to function within. Depending on connector material, temperature tolerances can range from -40° to 200°F and above.
Pressure range — determining the minimum, maximum and working pressures that the connectors will be expected to tolerate.
Flow rate — assessing the required volume per minute, and the effect of pressure pulsation, and modulations from connect and disconnect forces.
Media — although compressed air poses no special challenge for plastic fittings, the external environment can pose a tremendous threat. Exposure to sunlight and artificial sources of ultraviolet light, wind, dust, vibration, radiation, gases, water submersion, chemicals or cleaning agents, and mechanical stress can all be detrimental.
Specialized environments — for food and pharmaceutical grade manufacturing, including wash-down, cleanroom and aseptic environments, and vacuums.
User interface — level of human contact expected with the system and connectors.
Cycle life — anticipated maintenance and changeability required to be performed on the system, and expected longevity of the system in operation.
The requirements of the application will then determine what materials would be best suited for the connectors.