Safety and Maintenance Tips for Hydraulic Hoses

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Safety and Maintenance Tips for Hydraulic Hoses

A good understanding of the hydraulic system requires you to be close to an expert in hydraulic hoses. Hydraulic hoses are vital components of the system — when they fail, your entire operation will grind to a halt. 

It’s usually best to have a reliable solutions provider focusing on your business’ growth. Gregory Poole offers only the best hydraulic services across various industries, and we’re committed to helping you succeed. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide about the safety and maintenance of hydraulic hoses.

What Is Preventive Maintenance for Hydraulic Hoses?

Preventive maintenance has proven to be the most effective approach to maintaining facilities, and the same applies to hydraulic hoses. But before we consider the specific benefits it offers, let’s answer an important question — what’s preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance means conducting regularly scheduled maintenance on your facilities, tools and equipment to avoid unexpected failures. In simple terms, preventive maintenance is fixing things before they break. There are different types of preventative maintenance, including:

  • Calendar or time-based preventive maintenance: You schedule preventive maintenance based on a calendar interval. So, whenever the due date approaches, you check all equipment, especially when you have upcoming projects.
  • Usage-based preventive maintenance: This type focuses more on the equipment’s usage. When you employ this approach, you need to consider the project timelines, the average daily usage and the component or equipment’s exposure to environmental conditions to guide you in planning future maintenance and inspections. 
  • Predictive maintenance: Predictive maintenance is often distinguished from preventive maintenance because it’s an evolved version. Although both encourage proactive measures, predictive maintenance is more precise and detailed. It utilizes data analysis tools and techniques to detect and accurately predict defects.
  • Prescriptive maintenance: Besides showing you when failures will happen, prescriptive maintenance also tells you why. It helps determine the various options and potential outcomes. In the end, you’re able to reduce operational risks more effectively.
What Are the Benefits of Preventive Maintenance?

What Are the Benefits of Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance offers numerous benefits concerning your hydraulic hoses. These include:

1. Extends the Life of Your Hydraulic Hose

Reactive maintenance reduces the life expectancy of a hydraulic hose. The more you use the hydraulic system, the more the parts deteriorate. When you allow your machines to get damaged before attempting to bring them back to life, there’s a meager chance of success. Preventive maintenance helps you avoid such situations.

Periodic and regular maintenance reduces the parts’ wear rate. This is because they’re always in good condition. For instance, when you periodically check your hose for leaks, you can quickly detect and fix defects. Usually, failures in machine parts create a ripple effect — one of the most common causes of hydraulic leaks. Preventive maintenance breaks that chain, allowing you to use them for long periods before finally deciding to replace or upgrade them. 

2. Reduces Maintenance Costs

Emergency unplanned maintenance costs three to nine times more than preventive maintenance. This is a significant margin in corporate financial management. 

Unplanned maintenance forces you to pay multiple service charges. Alternatively, preventive maintenance allows you to use one maintenance session to take care of several issues. Moreover, reactive maintenance exposes you to inflation. An integral part of preventive maintenance is the bulk purchase of components, which protects you against price increases. 

Preventive maintenance also reduces transportation costs for maintenance. For instance, when your equipment breaks down, you may be required to transport them for repairs. Besides purchasing new parts and components, you’re likely to incur shipping expenses.

3. Reduces Unplanned Downtime

Statically, predictive maintenance reduces downtime by 45% and breakdowns by 75%. With predictive maintenance, companies pay attention to the mean time between failures (MTBF), a common key performance indicator (KPI) utilized by leaders in several industries in making informed maintenance decisions. 

Preventive maintenance allows you to schedule procedures convenient to your business operations. For example, you can conduct maintenance after working hours when it’s less likely to affect your projects.

4. Boosts Productivity 

Preventive maintenance boosts your business’s overall productivity. We can simplify this into three categories:

  • Availability: Preventive maintenance reduces downtime and ensures that your hydraulic system is always functioning. Having reliable equipment helps you execute projects and meet all deadlines. 
  • Quality: Preventive maintenance retains the health of your hydraulic hose and makes them perform at the highest level. Using quality components reflect your operation’s output and makes you more reliable.
  • Performance: A crucial aspect of adopting preventive maintenance for your hydraulic hose is increasing overall performance. The hydraulic system is responsible for lifting, tilting, reaching and performing other related functions. Without them, you cannot conduct any meaningful construction or agricultural exercise.

5. Increases Safety

Preventive maintenance is an excellent way to comply with the safety standardsrequired in various industries. Even in the absence of compliance standards, ensuring the safety of your employees is necessary. Accurate tracking and regular maintenance allow you to identify potential machine failures that likely cause injuries. Preventive maintenance can help reduce the number of casualties occurring within the sector.

When Do You Inspect Hydraulic Hoses?

When Do You Inspect Hydraulic Hoses?

A three-month interval is recommended for stationary equipment. For mobile equipment, conduct inspections every three months or after every 400 to 600 hours of usage. These timelines may, however, change due to several factors. For instance, you should inspect hoses used in high operating temperatures or those involved with critical equipment more frequently. This allows you to identify defects on time and helps you prevent significant failures.

How Often Should You Change Hydraulic Hoses?

The life expectancy for hydraulic hoses is between one and two years, though some can last up to 10 years. However, the duration can be affected by external factors such as temperature, chemical compatibility or using a hose not rated for the operating pressure.

For instance, when the hose has contact with other components at high temperatures, this can cause an otherwise good hose to wear. Similarly, when chemical components such as hydraulic fluid or other external chemical components, oil and grease are incompatible with the tube material, it can compromise the integrity of the hose.

What Are the Early Warning Signs of Hose Failure?

It’s crucial to learn how to inspect a hose. To know if your hydraulic hose is about to fail, take note of the following:

  • Leakages
  • Loose, broken or worn braid
  • Deformations, including abrasions, cuts, dents and twists 
  • Traces of internal media of the hose coming out
  • Cracked or dented couplings
  • Indications of hose or braid corrosion 
  • Damaged, cracked loose hose guards or covers
  • Loose fitting attachments
  • Hose assemblies rubbing against each other 

How Should You Inspect a Hydraulic Hose for Leaks?

You can identify most of the leaks by visual inspection. Take the following steps to correctly and safely inspect the hydraulic hose for leaks:

  1. Shut the power source to the hydraulic and lower the equipment to the ground before checking for leakages.
  2. Move the hydraulic control lever back and forth to relieve the hydraulic system’s pressure lines.
  3. When testing your hydraulic hose for leaks, pass a piece of cardboard, a mirror or wood over the suspected area to locate the leak. A dark coloration indicates that there’s a leakage.
  4. Replace cracked, broken or leaking hoses immediately.

Avoid using your hand to check for leaks. Hydraulic fluid can move under high pressure, between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi) which can cause harm. Wear gloves, long sleeves and safety glasses. Contact an expert to assist you if you have little experience handling hydraulic systems.

How Do You Keep Hydraulic Hoses From Cracking?

Consider the following to keep your hydraulic hose from cracking:

  • Look out for tube erosion, usually caused by fluids persistently passing through the tubes at a high velocity or contaminated liquids.
  • Select the suitable hydraulic hose for your application.
  • Pay attention to the bend radius of the hydraulic hose.
  • Check the temperature rating of the hose and prevent it from overheating.
  • Ensure the fluids are compatible with the hydraulic hose.
  • Ensure that the hydraulic hoses are well-assembled.

What Are the Hazards Caused by High-Pressure Lines?

Leaks cause slip and fall perils, fire risks and environmental contamination. The recognized hazards from high-pressure lines include injection injuries, contact with hot fluids, toxicity and material movements such as whipping hoses and explosions.

The common injuries associated with high-pressure hydraulic lines are skin burns and penetration because fluids under pressure move at high speeds. This makes it crucial to only engage with your hydraulic system when you have the necessary skills and equipment. It will help if you know to detect and anticipate failures, prevent them and conduct repairs.

Maintenance Tips to Establish in Your Facility

Ensuring proper maintenance extends your hydraulic hose’s life span and improves workplace safety. Follow these quick guidelines:

  • Prepare a maintenance routine: Preventive maintenance is an effective and efficient way to maintain equipment. Schedule routine maintenance according to your operations and implement it strictly.
  • Track each hose’s lifecycle: Check and record the expected end date for each hose to help you prepare for replacements. Besides the life expectancy of hydraulic hoses, ask your supplier about details specific to the ones you purchase. At each stage of the lifecycle, inspect for signs of damage or deterioration and gather relevant data.
  • Conduct functionality tests: Test each hose’s maximum rated working pressure for leaks and bursts. Stay with the maximum possible pressure and maintain personal distance in case of a malfunction.
  • Analyze the data: After checking, testing and tracking the hose, analyze the data recorded to confirm life span and durability. The data allows you to know whether to change the product for a quality alternative and monitor the system’s long-term performance. It also guides you in whether to maintain or update your maintenance schedules.
  • Replace old and damaged assemblies: Besides establishing consistent replacement intervals, check for breaks and damages regularly to prevent unexpected failures. Look for cracks, abrasions, twists and bends and replace any damaged or old ones. 
  • Comply with operational specifications: Hydraulic hoses have temperature, pressure rating and chemical compatibility specifications. This ensures that the system operates safely at a high-performance level. Check the recommended temperature and psi ratings and comply with them.

What Are the Safety Tips for Working With Hydraulic Hoses?

What Are the Safety Tips for Working With Hydraulic Hoses?

Beyond the tips for safely operating heavy equipment in general, it’s important to learn those specific to hydraulic hoses.

  • Learn the safety standards and regulations: Learn the state and national requirements regarding safety and implement them in your operations. Check the regulatory information of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the relevant state and local safety standards. This will help you in compliance and could shield you against personal injury claims. 
  • Secure a protective outfit: When working with a hydraulic hose, ensure that your hands, body and ears are well-covered. Wearing protective clothing protects you against injury and infections.
  • Use the right equipment: Use the correct tools when inspecting and repairing your hydraulic hose. Additionally, use the proper hose for the equipment and check the minimum operating and maximum burst pressure on the hose. Contact a professional when in doubt.
  • Connect the hose properly: Clean both ends and check for any physical damages before fixing the hose. Lubricate new seals and verify that the fittings are not over-tightened. Finally, connect the crimped hoses tightly to the fitting.

How Do You Repair Hydraulic Hose?

There are a few instances where you’ll need to attach hoses before seeking professional assistance. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you:

1. Secure the Correct Hose

There are different hydraulic hoses with unique minimum pressures for a single device. Determine the operational requirements for the hose for the equipment. Do thorough research to be sure that the product you choose is durable and reliable. The last thing you need is to waste money and risk your employees’ safety.

2. Remove the Damaged Area

Cut out the damaged area of the tubing. If the coupling at the end of the hose is leaking, remove the broken end. Clean the area around the cut thoroughly of dirt, dust and other particles. Such contaminants could damage the internal components.

3. Complete the Installation With an Adapter

A hydraulic adapter is sometimes required to complete the installation process. Adapters are helpful in situations where you don’t have the right hydraulic coupling type. Tighten the adapters properly in the appropriate ports and check if the connection is secure.

4. Check the Hoses’ Length

Confirm the length of the hose and route the hose correctly to prevent additional pressure and fatigue. The length should allow for proper laying according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Hydraulic systems operate under high pressure and an incorrect hose length can lead to failures.

5. Seal the Hose Properly

Small gaps in the seal can cause challenges in the hydraulic system. Check for leaks before using the machine. The aim is to keep the hose secure, not overly tighten the gasket. Tighten the fitting with a wrench to keep the hose from twisting.

6. Turn on the Hydraulic System 

Circulate the hydraulic fluids or oil at low pressure and check for any leakages. This is a safe and straightforward way to check for leaks, and it also flushes out the remaining air. Allow the system to run for a few minutes and use a cardboard or sheet of paper to inspect for leakages. Replace the damaged hose immediately before using the machine.

Contact a Trusted Hydraulic Systems Solutions Provider!

Contact a Trusted Hydraulic Systems Solutions Provider!

Hydraulic systems are crucial in all industrial processes to the extent that a faulty hydraulic hose has the potential to stall or completely halt operations. For this reason, it’s vital to maintain the component periodically and replace all damaged parts. When choosing a partner to assist you with your industrial needs, consider one that holds high standards and offers only the finest services. 

Gregory Poole is a full-service hydraulic solutions provider with over 70 years of experience in the industry. We pride ourselves on quick turnaround times and pay close attention to your needs. Contact us today and take advantage of our reliable and supportive services.