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What You Should Know About Hydraulic Hoses And Protecting Yourself From Catastrophe

Hydraulic Hose
Hydraulic hoses and fittings are essential for the operation of heavy equipment and other machinery. The incredibly useful work performed by hydraulic systems makes them key players in almost any industrial or construction setting.

However, the tremendous power of hydraulic systems can also make them a threat to life and limb if hoses and fittings are neglected. A worn or damaged component can lead to catastrophe if it bursts.

That is why it's important to understand how to protect hoses and fittings from damage as well as know when it's time for repair or replacement. Below are several keys to understanding how to prevent hydraulic hoses and fittings from failing suddenly.

The Dangers Posed by Hydraulic Hoses and Fittings

Hydraulic systems are under constant pressure, with pounds-per-square inch (PSI) forces in the thousands. The high pressures are necessary to perform the tough jobs required by hydraulic equipment, but they can also leave humans and property vulnerable if not properly handled.

An obvious danger posed by hydraulic hoses and fittings is the sudden release of hydraulic fluid at high pressure. Even a pinhole leak at high pressures can have terrible consequences for those who may be in the path of fluids. High pressure injection injuries can result in amputation of extremities, for example.

Another potentially deadly hazard of working with hydraulic hoses and fittings is the explosive release of energy occurring during a release. A burst hose can thrash about violently and strike others or destroy property.

Inspect Hoses and Fittings Frequently

Since the dangers of hydraulic systems are acute and failure can leave individuals severely injured, it is important to be vigilant when inspecting hoses and fittings. Inspection can reveal possible flaws in advance of a catastrophe, and there is no substitution for taking time to perform these regular, up-close looks.

When inspecting hydraulic hoses and fittings, it is important to be cautious and protect your own well-being. For example, always wear eye protection to guard against a possible release of fluid into the eyes. Other protective measures that should be taken during inspection include wearing gloves and long-sleeve shirts.

Once you begin your inspection, be on the alert for several possible warning signs, including:

  • Bulges - This occurs when the fluid pushes the wall of the hose outward through weak areas.
  • Abrasions - Any type of cut, including deep scrapes, tears and cracks, should be noted as a possible location for a future hose failure.
  • Leaks - Dripping or slow leaks are a sign the fitting is failing or a yet-to-be-identified penetration in the hose has occurred.
  • Softness - Over time, hoses can become soft or sponge-like due to changes in the characteristics of the hose material.
If you locate any of the above problems, there is a strong likelihood the hose and/or fitting will need repair or replacement. At the very least, a professional should be consulted to take a closer look at the hydraulic hose and given the opportunity to evaluate whether it needs replacement.

Protect Hoses from Physical Damage

The key to avoiding frequent hydraulic hose replacement is to prevent them from being damaged. Even though wear-and-tear is inevitable, there are a lot of ways to prevent needless harm to hydraulic hoses.

For example, careful hose routing is of major concern, as proper routing can avoid kinking the hose as well as causing other problems such as abrasions and tears. In addition, clean hydraulic hoses on a frequent basis by wiping down the outside with a safe chemical cleaner.

If you are responsible for taking care of the hydraulic system, be sure to contact KIMS International for help. Their team of professionals can guide you and help you in all these maintenance processes.