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The ASME B16.

5 has a standard for bolt holes that are used by all (US) manufacturers for flange sizes up
through 24" For instance; the number of bolt holes required varies with the size and rating of the flange.
But the number and size is the same no matter the type of flange. The bolt holes are evenly spaced
around the flange on a concentric bolt circle. There will always be an even number of bolt holes, in
graduations of 4 (i.e., 4, 8, 12, 16, etc.).
Unless specifically noted otherwise by the piping designer (and then only if for good reason) all flange bolt
holes shall straddle the "natural" centerlines. This is the flange bolt hole orientation rule. This "natural"
centerline rule for flange is known, understood and followed by all responsible equipment manufacturers
and pipe fabricators.
The rule is as follows:
o For a vertical flange face (the flange face in vertical and the line is horizontal) the bolt holes shall be
oriented to straddle the vertical and horizontal centerlines.
o For a horizontal flange face (the flange face is horizontal and the line is vertical up or vertical down) the
bolt holes shall be oriented to straddle the (plant) north/south centerlines.
Care must be taken to check all equipment vendor outlines to identify any flange orientations that do not
match this rule. When an exception is found the vendor can be requested to change his bolt hole
orientation. This is not always successful and if not then the piping designer must insure that the piping
fabrication documents call for the correct orientation.
This rule of bolt holes straddling the natural centerlines is sometimes referred to as "Two-Hole" the flange.
This means that the two of the holes straddle the centerline. To "One-Hole" a flange means that the flange
has been rotated so that one hole is right on the natural centerline. I assure you that 99.999% of the time
that to "One Hole" a flange is a mistake and will add cost to the field. It also makes the piping foreman
very unhappy."
*Using the two hole is mainly for allowing individual piping spools to line up when assembled. There are
other reasons, like inserting a gasket by removing fewer bolts.
*Few possible reasons:
-If they're on cL, the Section Modulus of the Bolt group is better for loading on cL [i.e., lower "extreme"
fiber stress for horizontal/vertical moments]
-Easier to scribe a centerline if there's no hole in the way
-It will fit to everybody else's piping, since they straddle cL's. Most Standard Fittings, Valves, etc., have
bolt quantities in multiples of 4, & straddle cL's.
*Read following:
The chief use of lap joint flanges in carbon or low alloy steel piping systems is in services necessitating
frequent dismantling for inspection and cleaning and where the ability to swivel flanges and to align bolt
holes materially simplifies the erection of large diameter or unusually stiff piping.
Above is just helping in explaining the phenomena of "2-holing".