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What Is a Cam Coupler?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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A cam coupler is type of connector used on pipelines, hoses and attachments. Most commonly seen on fire engines and fire hoses, the cam coupler is the large coupler that fits onto the end of another fire hose and is locked on by moving two long levers on either side of the coupler. The female end of the cam coupler contains ball bearings that are pressed into a groove on the male end of the connector when the two levers are pushed down and are locked into position. This type of connector is used for water, petroleum liquids and food grade liquids, such as milk, vegetable oils and liquid sweeteners.

The ease of making a leak-proof seal with a cam coupler is a large driving force behind its use. Unlike those couplers that must be threaded together, twisted and turned or simply be held together through the use of a collar and clamp, the cam coupler uses a simple insertion and flips two levers to complete the union. The coupler is used on soft hoses, solid pipelines and even pumper trucks. The coupler is connected to a fire hydrant in order to attach a water line that will withstand the pressure and not leak.

In food preparation areas, the cam coupler is often made of stainless steel so that it can be sterilized. The connection is commonly used on the end of a pipeline so that a valve or other device can be quickly attached and removed while processing the different liquid ingredients. Many of the mixing tanks are fitted with one of the quick connectors so that they can be emptied into other containers easily by simply inserting a valve and an elbow, and then removing the assembly once the tank is emptied.

The speed in which the cam coupler can be connected and the leak-proof design makes the coupler the fixture of choice on many ships for loading of fuel and fresh drinking water. This coupler is also used for the loading and unloading of petroleum-based products from semi tanker trailers. The cam coupler has been used successfully with nearly every type of vehicle and every type of liquid in almost every condition known. The coupler is easily rebuilt if there is ever a difficulty clamping it tightly into position. Maintenance on the coupler is comprised of wiping the inside of the coupler with a clean cloth and periodically applying a light coating of oil for lubrication.

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