Hydraulic hoses are critical components of any hydraulic system, and their lifespan is essential for the system’s efficiency and longevity. Several factors impact hydraulic hose life, from environmental conditions to maintenance practices.
One of the most critical factors impacting hydraulic hose life is temperature. High temperatures can cause hoses to degrade, crack and break down quickly, leading to leaks and system failure. Conversely, extremely low temperatures make the hose brittle and more prone to cracking. When your hose experiences both extremes frequently, repeated expansion and contraction may rapidly degrade your hose assembly.
Another important factor is high pressure, which can cause hydraulic hoses to swell, leading to loss of flexibility and, eventually, failure. Similarly, pressure spikes caused by fluid hammer can damage the hoses by fatiguing the reinforcement or even shearing it catastrophically.
The type of fluid used in the hydraulic system also impacts hose life, as fluids, such as phosphate ester, are more corrosive than others, which can cause the hose’s inner tube to deteriorate over time. Incompatible fluids may also cause the hoses to swell and lose their mechanical properties, leading to leaks and failure.
The environment in which the hydraulic system operates is another crucial factor, and exposure to sunlight, ozone, and other elements causes the hose to fail sooner than desired. Similarly, exposure to chemicals, oil, and industrial fallout can also lead to hose failure should the outer carcass of the hose lack compatibility with those chemicals.
Proper maintenance practices are also essential for extending hydraulic hose life. Regular inspection of hoses for signs of wear and damage, especially from abrasion or at the crimp joint, can help detect issues early and prevent failure. Proper routing and clamping of hoses can also help prevent damage from abrasion and flexing.
You must also choose the correct hose for the job, which is critical for extending its lifespan. Different types of hoses are designed to handle different pressure and temperature ranges, as well as different types of fluids. For example, using a large-diameter 1-wire braised hose in an application better suited for 4-wire spiral wound reinforcement is a recipe for disaster. Know your hoses and their limitations.
In addition to these factors, the hydraulic system’s design can impact hose life. Properly designed systems will have adequate hose lengths and routing precisely to prevent excessive hose bending, twisting, or stretching. Hydraulic hose is manufactured to bend relatively well, but high-pressure hose tends to be stiffer. Attempting to bend ultra-stiff hose will result in fatigue, so be sure to choose high-flex hose for those applications. Reinforcement layers dislike torque, so avoid excessive twist during installation.
Several factors impact hydraulic hose life, including temperature, pressure, fluid type, environment, maintenance practices, hose design, and system design. Regular inspection and maintenance, proper hose selection, and system design are essential for extending hose life and ensuring hydraulic system efficiency and longevity.