JÄGER Busi­ness Blog

Five things to keep in mind

when it comes to hose assemblies.

12.01.2022   |  Mar­cel Hitze­mann & Steven Bouajila

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Along with pipes, hoses are the means of choice when it comes to trans­port­ing liq­uids, solids or gas­es. How­ev­er, hard­ly any pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies think about this top­ic. How­ev­er, there are a num­ber of poten­tials for opti­miza­tion and sources of error in the han­dling of hose lines that deci­sion-mak­ers should be aware of.

Here are five things to consider.

1. The selec­tion of the right hose depends on the con­di­tions of use.

As with oth­er plas­tic and elas­tomer prod­ucts, the appli­ca­tion of a hose design is crit­i­cal. There is a suit­able hose for every sit­u­a­tion. If, on the oth­er hand, com­pa­nies choose the wrong prod­uct or mate­r­i­al, they risk los­ing effi­cien­cy or increas­ing main­te­nance costs — and, in the worst case, risk­ing injury.

In gen­er­al, there are four impor­tant ques­tions that man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies must answer when choos­ing a hose design:

The pres­sure affects the stress­es to which the hose con­struc­tion is sub­ject­ed on a dai­ly basis. The high­er the pres­sure, the more robust the hose must be. Espe­cial­ly since con­struc­tions that are under high pres­sure always involve risks of injury.

The medi­um to be trans­port­ed pri­mar­i­ly influ­ences the choice of mate­r­i­al. On the one hand, com­pa­nies should ensure that the hose does not become cracked or brit­tle under the influ­ence of the medi­um. This can hap­pen, for exam­ple, with fuels, acids or abra­sive mate­ri­als such as grav­el or sand. The hose mate­r­i­al should there­fore have appro­pri­ate resis­tance. On the oth­er hand, it is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in the food or drink­ing water sec­tor that the hose line does not con­t­a­m­i­nate the medi­um. Here, com­pa­nies should make sure that the hose has the usu­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in their industry.

The oper­at­ing tem­per­a­tures also have an impact on the ser­vice life of a hose design. Tem­per­a­ture extremes or strong fluc­tu­a­tions in par­tic­u­lar can cause a hose to quick­ly become brit­tle. The most impor­tant fac­tors here are the tem­per­a­ture of the medi­um to be trans­port­ed and the ambi­ent tem­per­a­tures of the machine or sys­tem in which the hose is installed.

In addi­tion, there are envi­ron­ment-spe­cif­ic oper­at­ing con­di­tions that can have a stress­ing effect on a hose con­struc­tion. These include UV radi­a­tion and ozone expo­sure, weath­er­ing, and sta­t­ic or mechan­i­cal loads.

2. The fit­tings are just as impor­tant as the hose

The prop­er­ties of a hose con­struc­tion depend not only on the elas­tomer­ic com­po­nents, but also on the fit­tings. Com­pa­nies some­times under­es­ti­mate this fact. They make sure that the hose meets all the appli­ca­tion cri­te­ria, but over­look the met­al com­po­nents. This can affect the entire design.

For exam­ple, the fit­tings must have the same resis­tance to acids, fuels or abra­sive mate­ri­als as the elas­tomer com­po­nents, since they are exposed to iden­ti­cal media. It is also impor­tant to look for mate­ri­als to which rub­ber is native­ly resis­tant, but met­al com­po­nents are not nec­es­sar­i­ly (for exam­ple, water).

 Hose assem­blies in red and blue

Par­tic­u­lar­ly in the food and drink­ing water sec­tors, com­pa­nies should make sure that all com­po­nents of the hose design have the indus­try-stan­dard cer­ti­fi­ca­tions. Oth­er­wise, there is a risk that the design will become unus­able for the appli­ca­tion sce­nario, for exam­ple, if food is con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed by met­als that are harm­ful to health.

3. Safe­ty first

In an indus­tri­al con­text, hose assem­blies often car­ry haz­ardous sub­stances. There­fore, safe­ty aspects have a high pri­or­i­ty. Incor­rect han­dling of hoses not only threat­ens machine break­downs, but also the risk of injury.

High-pres­sure hoses, for exam­ple, can burst or tear out of fit­tings and injure bystanders by whip­ping. Even small cracks or holes pose risks, as flu­ids can escape at high pres­sure and inject harm­ful sub­stances into the skin.

Com­pa­nies can min­i­mize these risks by choos­ing a suit­able elas­tomer. It is also impor­tant to assem­ble the hose design cor­rect­ly, for exam­ple by observ­ing bend­ing radii or avoid­ing tor­sion. When in doubt, it is advis­able to use fit­tings that are resis­tant to tear-out.

Instal­la­tion sit­u­a­tion hose line

Spe­cial atten­tion should be paid to areas of appli­ca­tion where there is a risk of explo­sion. Here, there is a risk of the hose con­struc­tion becom­ing elec­tro­sta­t­i­cal­ly charged and a spark ignit­ing the volatile gas-air mix­ture. The same applies to areas where there is a risk of dust explo­sions (for exam­ple, when pro­cess­ing flour or saw­dust). If the hose con­struc­tion is to be used in an EX zone, it must there­fore be elec­tri­cal­ly con­duc­tive and ground­ed. All com­po­nents of the con­struc­tion should have ATEX cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, both the hose and the fittings.

4. Hose assem­blies should not be approached too late

When cus­tomers con­tact an elas­tomer­ic prod­ucts sup­pli­er for a hose design, their spec­i­fi­ca­tions are often not designed with prac­ti­cal­i­ty. In some cas­es, their design draw­ings pro­vide for con­fig­u­ra­tions that can­not be imple­ment­ed in this form. Exam­ples include bend radii that are too small, min­i­mum lengths that are not met, or a lack of free­dom of move­ment for the hose, which leads to abra­sion. Design errors of this kind usu­al­ly result in a reduced ser­vice life of the hose construction.

For this rea­son, it makes sense to seek ear­ly con­tact with mate­r­i­al experts who have expe­ri­ence with hoses and can pro­vide their exper­tise. It is always eas­i­er to adapt a prod­uct, machine or sys­tem dur­ing the plan­ning phase. On the oth­er hand, once pre-pro­duc­tion has start­ed, the cost of a change increas­es significantly.

5. Don’t invest too much and don’t invest too little

When select­ing a hose design (as in the plas­tics and elas­tomer sec­tor in gen­er­al), two extremes can often be observed. On the one hand, com­pa­nies like to focus on price and always go for the cheap­est option. On the oth­er hand, some deci­sion-mak­ers often think “a lot helps a lot” and go for pre­mi­um prod­ucts. Both approach­es are counterproductive.

Inex­pen­sive hoses real­ize their low price part­ly at the expense of qual­i­ty. They have a short­er ser­vice life and have to be replaced more fre­quent­ly. The ris­ing main­te­nance costs quick­ly put the pur­chase price into per­spec­tive, mak­ing the hose more expen­sive in the long run.

Even pre­mi­um prod­ucts are not always the best choice. Often, com­pa­nies rely on hose assem­blies that far exceed their require­ments, which is reflect­ed in the cost. At the same time, the bet­ter fea­tures don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­vide real added val­ue. For exam­ple, a hose that can with­stand 15 bar has no advan­tage over a hose that can with­stand 10 bar if the com­pa­ny only wants to pump mate­ri­als through it at 8 bar.

There is a hose for every appli­ca­tion. The best way is to choose a prod­uct that meets the spe­cif­ic require­ments, but does­n’t go too far beyond that.

Con­clu­sion

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there is no such thing as uni­ver­sal­ly applic­a­ble hose assem­blies. Which prod­uct should be used always depends on the con­text. Every com­pa­ny has indi­vid­ual require­ments for a hose design that include finan­cial, tech­ni­cal, process-relat­ed or safe­ty aspects. It is there­fore worth giv­ing the top­ic the atten­tion it deserves.

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Author: Mar­cel Hitzemann

Mar­cel Hitze­mann has been work­ing for Jäger since his appren­tice­ship in 2012. The inter­nal sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive answers cus­tomers’ ques­tions about hoses and fittings. 

Author: Steven Bouajila

Steven Boua­ji­la has been work­ing as a mechan­i­cal engi­neer at Jäger since 2011. He is cur­rent­ly respon­si­ble for hose and fit­tings tech­nol­o­gy in the field. 

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