Inflatable Pipe Plugs

Mechanical Research & Design, Inc. designs and manufactures cutting edge seals in our onsite SEALFAST® Elastomers department, allowing us to offer our own line of durable, easy to install, Inflatable Pipe Plugs. Inflatable Pipe Plugs (also called pressure test plugs, pipe stoppers, pipe bungs, line stops, or inline isolation tools) seal off a pipeline with fluid-inflated seals. We design inflatable pipe plugs to seal and restrain on the inside of a pipe, the outside of a pipe, or on a structural surface near a pipe. Pipe plugs have two primary operational requirements: pressure sealing and pressure restraining – holding the tool in place in the piping system to resist pressure. The major benefit of an inflatable plug is that they can be installed more rapidly than a conventional mechanical plug and are ideal for pressure testing applications where there are higher frequencies of installation as well as in applications with unknown pipe or tunnel cross-sections, as inflatable seals can travel to seal in uneven gap spaces between plug and sealing surface.

 

Most of our SEALFAST® Inflatable Pipe Plugs come with their own built in restraint system, meaning that users do not have to block or brace our tools to safely handle the full design pressure. Our tools can hold themselves in place for you, meaning you save the time, cost, and safety considerations of doing it yourself! As stated previously, we vulcanize our own SEALFAST® Inflatable Seals inhouse which allows us to offer short lead times and flexible design options.  We do the best work under pressure!

 

We manufacture our Inflatable Pipe Plugs for nearly every cross-section pipe: round, rectangular, irregular cross-sections from smaller than 1/2″ to over 20 feet in diameter. SEALFAST® Inflatable Plugs can be designed to operate from vacuum pressures to over 5000 PSI and have product families that focus on Low Pressure, Medium Pressure, and High Pressure to optimize weight, cost, and functionality for the different applications we cover.

 

Our tools can be manufactured from nearly any material imaginable for temporary or long term installations, in standard test configuration use or corrosive, temperature extreme environments. The tools can be used standard or be customized for use in a variety of different piping systems: carbon steel, stainless steel, ductile iron, concrete, PVC, FRP, and thin-wall copper pipes and tubes, to name a few.

Have Specific Requirements?

We specialize in custom solutions! Take a look at a few of our proven custom solutions or let us know your requirements. Our engineers and production staff are equipped to travel around the world at a moment’s notice to assist you with your needs!

Let's Talk!

Contact us today to discuss our rates or to book an appointment with one of our engineers. 

Mechanical Research & Design, Inc. | Innovation Redefined | Manitowoc Wi
STANDARD INFLATABLE PIPE PLUG; INFLATABLE BUNG; INFLATABLE PIPE STOPPER; PIPE PLUG; PIPE TEST PLUG; MEDIUM PRESSURE INFLATABLE PLUG; SEALFAST (R) INFLATABLE PIPE PLUGS; ISOLATION AND TEST TOOLS; SEALFAST PRODUCTS; MECHANICAL RESEARCH & DESIGN, INC.
Inflatable Pipe Plug: How it Works

HOW IT WORKS

Though we manufacture other styles of restraint and seal actuation for our SEALFAST® Inflatable Plugs, see the diagram for the basic operating principles of an inflatable plug. A standard in-line inflatable pipe plug has: integral restraint screws, which are tightened into the pipe I.D. or O.D. depending the style; a seal inflation port which can be filled with a variety of different fluid mediums… gas, water, hydraulic fluid, and more, to act as a pressure barrier; a bypass port to apply test fluid upstream or to add or remove fluid upstream; and a vent line, which is used to evacuate air during bypass filling.

BENEFITS OF SEALFAST® INFLATABLE PLUGS

• Inflatable pipe plugs are ideal for repetitive hydrostatic pressure testing due to their speed of seal inflation (typically faster to install than a mechanical pipe plug)
• SEALFAST® Inflatable Pipe Plugs are great for piping system and tunnel isolation, where geometries are out of round or irregularly shaped. SEALFAST® Inflatable seals are excellent at sealing where installation geometry is unknown and the seal naturally travels more where there is more variance in the distance from the tool o.d. and sealing surface (large and small gaps exist).
• We manufacture standard and customized Inflatable Plugs for normal, reverse, and bi-directional pressures. See below for more options or click here to understand the difference between normal and reverse pressure plugs.
• Pipe plugs can be fabricated from lightweight aluminum, stainless steel, coated or uncoated steel, bronze, plastics, and composites pending the application and environment needs.
• Tools can be designed for isolation for vacuum pressures through several thousand psi sealing service. We provide Low Pressure, Medium Pressure, and High Pressure Pipe Plug options for economy of weight, safety, and cost as needed by our customers. See below or call us to find out more!
• Pipe plugs can be designed to isolate and test carbon steel, stainless steel, ductile iron, cast iron, RCP concrete, FRP, PVC, Polyethylene pipes, composites hoses, manifolds, general part assemblies, and tubing, even with coatings or linings in place.
• Our Inflatable Pipe Plugs can come with a variety of different SEALFAST® elastomers, depending upon your material compatibility and temperature requirements:
Viton®, EPDM, Buna-N, Silicone, Natural Rubber, Neoprene, Urethanes, Aflas® and SBR to name a few.
• Plugs can come with corrosion protection or lubricity coatings as needed, including: epoxy coating systems, flame spray coatings, hard coat anodization, nickel or chrome plating, PTFE coatings, plus other anodic protections.

COMMON USES OF INFLATABLE PIPE PLUGS:
• Shop pipeline and pipe fitting assembly hydro-testing
• Field installation transport pipeline pressure testing
• Refinery vapor isolation and pressure testing
• Conventional and nuclear power energy process water pipeline isolation and test plugs
• Municipal force and water mains
• Fire protection pipeline isolation and test plugs
• Pumping and lift stations
• HVAC system isolation and test plugs
• Subsea pipeline repair and de-commissioning
• Aerospace tubing and weldment assemblies
• General industrial leak testing and verification

OUR SEALFAST ® INFLATABLE PIPE PLUGS AND PRESSURE BARRIERS

ISOLATION AND TEST PLUGS

Our Standard In-Line Inflatable Pipe Plug Series come in many shapes and sizes, providing safe, reliable testing and isolation/containment options for carbon steel, stainless steel, ductile iron, polymer PVC, concrete, composite, and a host of other piping and tunneling applications. These tools are our quickest to install pipe plugs and include our proven SEALFAST® Inflatable seals. They are perfect for quick hydrotest projects and unknown condition piping systems.

DIFFERENT CONFIGURATIONS OF INFLATABLE PLUGS

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

SUITED FOR QUICK INSTALLATION,
LOW PRESSURE TESTING AND
VAPOR BLOCK ISOLATION.
LIGHT DUTY DEBRIS BLOCK PLUGS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

STANDARD INFLATABLE PIPE
PLUG FOR IN-LINE PRESSURE TESTING AND ISOLATION, FOR CORRODED AND NEW PIPE SYSTEMS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

LOW TORQUE INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

IDEAL FOR DUCTILE IRON, AGED / FRAGILE STEEL AND OTHER PIPING SYSTEMS. 

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

LIGHT CONTACT INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND
SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

IDEAL FOR THIN WALL STEEL, PVC,
HDPE, AND POLYMER PIPES. 

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-100 PSIG, 0-250 PSIG+
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL I.D. AND O.D. RESTRAINT SCREW AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

FOR THIN WALL PIPE AND HIGH PRESSURE APPLICATIONS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND
LOAD DISTRIBUTION DRUM WITH
SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

IDEAL FOR CONCRETE PIPE, TILE.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-250 PSIG, 0-1500 PSIG, 0-2500+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL GRIPPING SURFACES AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

AVAILABLE WITH ADJUSTABLE LENGTH STEM KITS FOR EXTENDED REACH AND SHORTENING TOOL
LENGTH FOR SPATIAL CONSTRAINTS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW AND STRONGBACKS,
WITH SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

MOST OF THE ABOVE STANDARD INLINE INFLATABLE PLUGS CAN BE ADAPTED WITH STRONGBACK RESTRAINTS FOR REVERSE PRESSURE. USED FOR DAM INLET, WATER INTAKE, SUMP CHAMBER ISOLATION.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

FLANGE RESTRAINT WITH SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

QUICK INSTALLATION AND SAFE RESTRAINT FOR UNDERWATER AND
DRY SERVICE. SUBMERGED INTAKE ISOLATION AND REPAIRS. DAM INLET ISOLATION.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

FLANGE RESTRAINT, FACE GASKET SEAL WITH SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

QUICK INSTALLATION AND SAFE
RESTRAINT FOR UNDERWATER AND
DRY SERVICE. SUBMERGED INTAKE ISOLATION AND REPAIRS. DAM INLET ISOLATION. HATCH REPLACEMENT PLUG.
DUAL SEAL PLUG.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

FLANGE RESTRAINT WITH ADJUSTABLE JACKING SCREWS
WITH SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

FOR UNKNOWN, UNEVEN WALL SURFACES OR UNKNOWN PIPE
PROJECTION FROM WALL FACE.
UNDERWATER AND DRY SERVICE. INTAKE AND INLET REPAIRS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-5 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

FLANGE AND ANCHOR RESTRAINT
OPTIONAL – FACE GASKET WITH SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

FOR ANCHOR RESTRAINING PLUGS.
UNDERWATER AND DRY SERVICE. INTAKE AND INLET REPAIRS. DRAIN AND FLOOR PLUGS.

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-250 PSIG, 0-1500 PSIG, 0-2500+ PSIG NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL GRIPPING SURFACES AND SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

IDEAL FOR HIGH PRESSURE PIPELINE TESTING; IDEAL FOR DUCTILE IRON, AGED/FRAGILE
PIPE. 

PRESSURE RANGES AVAILABLE:
0-10 PSIG, 0-25 PSIG, 0-100+ PSIG
NORMAL AND BI-DIRECTIONAL
PRESSURE RATINGS

INTEGRAL RESTRAINT SCREW,
SPLIT SECTIONS WITH SEAL GASKETS DESIGNED TO FIT THROUGH SMALLER SPACES AND ASSEMBLED ON OTHER SIDE,
SEALFAST® INFLATABLE SEAL DESIGN

IDEAL FOR INSTALLATION AND FIT
THROUGH RESTRICTED SPACES (MANHOLES, CONFINED SPACES, OBSTRUCTIONS.)

Mechanical Research & Design, Inc. | Innovation Redefined | Manitowoc Wi

WHY MECHANICAL RESEARCH & DESIGN, INC. INFLATABLE PIPE PLUGS

Mechanical Research & Design, Inc. has provided engineered and test-validated isolation and sealing solutions for applications from standard in-shop pipe fabrication testing to remote subsea locations and other challenging environments all over the globe for over 20 years.  We pride ourselves on our safe practices, and our support starts with our clients’ recognition of a sealing problem and continues through successful installation and long term maintenance.  We stand behind our products and work with our clients every step of the way to make sure they have the right tool at the right time.  While we can provide some products off of the shelf for standard pressure applications, our customers keep coming back for our engineering design and application experience, our capability to customize for nearly every job requirement, and our ability to test and validate products in real life functional and pressure tests.

• To see our Mechanical Pipe Plugs, click here.
• To see our large Isolation Barriers and Bulkheads, click here.
• To learn more about our standard Isolation and Test Tools directory, click here.
• Go to our Underwater Tools to see more on our Underwater Construction and ROV Plugs.
• See our Nuclear Tools to learn more about our Nuclear Industry Pipe Plugs.