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3 Strategies for Preventing Hydraulic Hose Failure

Hydraulic Hose
Hydraulic equipment plays a vital role in the modern world, with applications that range from automotive systems to food processing equipment. Most all hydraulic systems use hoses in order to convey hydraulic fluid and thus transfer force from one end of the system to the other. Some of the most common problems with hydraulic systems involve hose failures.

When a hose fails, it negatively impacts your entire system — and it can even prevent your system from working at all until repairs are made. Fortunately, those who own hydraulic equipment can minimize the likelihood of hose failure in a number of ways. This article outlines three effective strategies for preventing hydraulic hose failure.

1. Regular Inspections

To keep yourself from being blindsided by hoses failures, you must inspect your hoses on a regular basis. Start by looking for any signs of leaks on the hoses or around the hose fittings. Leaks most commonly occur at the point of connection between a hose and a piece of hydraulic equipment, since the hose flexes more at such places.

Next, inspect the entirety of each hose for any signs of damage to the outer rubber cover. Take note of any cuts, damage, or excessive wear. Hose covers often become abraded from rubbing up against nearby equipment. If such rubbing presents an issue, you can minimize it by installing hose guards in areas with tight clearance.

Also, pay attention to hoses that appear unusually twisted, kinked, or flattened. Such structural issues often occur as the result of an excessive bend radius. Finally, look for any signs of stiffness or charring. In some systems, hydraulic fluid often becomes quite hot and can cause hose rubber to degrade and lose its natural flexibility.

2. Clean Fluid

Many people mistakenly assume that damage mostly affects the outside of a hydraulic hose. Yet degradation can just as easily affect the interior of a hose if your hydraulic fluid becomes excessively contaminated. The high speeds at which fluid flows through a hydraulic system can cause even tiny particles of debris to exert a large amount of friction.

Such friction abrades the interior surface of the hose, weakening its structural integrity. Eventually, a hose may become so weak that it can no longer withstand internal pressure — at which point the hose may rupture catastrophically. The friction created by excessive debris also increases the temperature of the hydraulic fluid.

As noted above, extreme fluid temperatures can cause a hose to lose much of its natural pliability. To minimize the negative effects of dirty fluid, have your filters inspected and replaced regularly. If fluid tests reveal consistent contamination, you may also need to replace components that have reached a critical stage of degradation.

3. Matched Fittings

A hose attaches to a piece of hydraulic equipment by means of a special fitting. Since they are made of metal, fittings often enjoy lifespans greater than those of hoses themselves. As a result, the owners of hydraulic equipment often install new hoses on old fittings. In theory, this strategy works just fine.

Yet in practice, problems often ensue as the result of hose and fitting incompatibility. Here you must consider more than just the diameter of the hose. Hydraulic hoses come in a wide variety of materials, from rubber to PFTE to metal. Likewise, fittings may consist of different types of metal, including steel, brass, and exotic metals.

Certain hose materials may be chemically incompatible with certain fitting materials. Likewise, the pressure and temperature ratings of the hose and fitting must match exactly. To ensure ideal compatibility, resist the temptation to mix and match hoses and fittings from different manufacturers.

This cost-saving strategy often backfires when hoses fail prematurely. Instead, always use hoses made by the same manufacturer as your fittings. For more information about keeping your hydraulic hoses in good shape, please contact hydraulic specialists at KIMS International.