Swagelok Hose Advisory Services’ advice to customers? Spend more time thinking about one of the most overlooked (and potentially costly) areas of your operations—hose assemblies. Here are five key observations from our experience in the field:
1. Give hoses the attention they deserve
Hose is often not a widely considered area of the plant. Most customers have specifications on tubing, fittings, and valves on pressure-containing systems and adhere to them, but hose is rarely given the same consideration. That’s alarming because hose is part of this pressure system too, and is one of the most likely components to fail.
2. Reconsider your requirements.
Today a lot of companies are trying to get more production from their machines and processes, which can mean greater system pressures, temperatures , and vibration. In such cases, hoses that no longer meet the original design requirement should be replaced with products rated to a higher standard. When selecting new hose, pay close attention to the allowable pressures and safety factors. For instance, Swagelok designs all of its products with a 4:1 safety factor, but tests show we often far exceed even these requirements.
3. Hose failures cost more than you think.
Not only can costs add up over time, but a hose leak or break can cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars at once. One leak was costing a company over a hundred thousand dollars an hour in fluid loss. Our inspection discovered the source of the leak and we found a way to prevent it from happening again.
4. The risks of hose failure are real.
Unfortunately, risks posed by hoses are very common. Steam can be invisible, high-pressure fluids can erupt, and dangerous gases can be inhaled by anyone walking by where a hose has failed. Hoses assembled on-site by mobile suppliers often are not pressure tested prior to installation and, consequentially, they may pose a real safety risk. When you think of the potential consequences of failure, you see why customers rely on superior quality for hose.
5. It’s easy to make improvements.
Fundamental training and education should be undertaken every few years to give staff an awareness of correct procedures for hose installation and maintenance. Engineers and designers should also have a high level of understanding so that potential risks can be minimized when designing an application or system.
Be proactive in preventing hose failure
Following best practices from the start can proactively solve the majority of the problems you may encounter. Increasing liabilities to companies mean that customers need to be fully informed when selecting any pressure-containing component—particularly hoses.
Simple steps to simplify hoses
Meet with your supplier to discuss your current hose usage on-site.
Together, you and your trusted supplier can determine if a site audit is needed.
Set a preventive maintenance schedule.
Heavy equipment and moving parts can damage assemblies and end-connections, leading to costly leakage and putting people at risk. By monitoring hoses and forecasting their future life, companies can reduce the risk of injury and downtime. Work with your supplier to determine the ideal time to replace hoses preemptively.
Standardize on fewer selections.
Customers often have multiple applications where the same hose can be used, but they are unaware of it. By standardizing on sizes, lengths, and end connections, it is possible to greatly reduce the number of critical spares needed and lower your costs at the same time. An on-site audit is the place to start.