Considering the variables that require attention in the design and installation of a fluid conveyance system, it is no wonder that hydraulic system engineers, operators and technicians are concerned with the broad margins of error when it comes to assembly and installation. Some of the challenges faced by machine manufacturers include lack of standard routing protocols, misalignment of steel tubing, and how to reduce the number of leak points – while trying to contain costs at the same time.
Solutions to these issues come from proper assembly, installation, and specifying the right hoses and tubing for the application – factors that are critical to the trouble-free operation of mobile equipment employed in construction, forestry, mining and similar industries.
This blog examines how formed thermoplastic hoses address these challenges and details how a skid-steer manufacturer reduced labor time and realized significant cost savings.
Formed hose and repeatability
Applications requiring hoses installed in complex routings with tight tolerances create difficult installations. Many OEMs provide assembly part numbers, but not routing instructions. This can result in employees routing assemblies differently which can lead to quality issues like side load on the fitting or abrasion against edges of the frames on the equipment.
Formed hoses borrow from the principles of bent steel tubing and apply them to thermoplastics, creating an easy to drop in assembly that ensures consistent routing, mitigation of risk factors that lead to quality problems, and faster assembly times.
If a hose is misaligned and cannot be successfully hooked up, or if routing causes kinking or other damage, production will halt, reducing productivity and output.
“As little as 1/8” of misalignment to the connection could create enough issues to potentially shut down an operation and require the product to be re-worked.”
– Matt Davenport, product sales manager, Parker Parflex
With some consideration and the right choices in design, these threats can be mitigated, assuring reliable system operation.
Thermoplastic hose combines the forming characteristics of steel tubing with the flexibility of hose allowing for movement to eliminate misalignment concerns.
Reduced leak points and flow stoppage
Leaks and flow stoppage are two primary risks of misalignment and improper routing in fluid conveyance systems.
Leaks are often caused by misaligned connections. Improper measurements, resulting in forced connection and incorrect actuation of connectors will cause leaks. Additionally, the actual number of connections in a fluid system will increase or decrease the potential for leak points; thus, careful consideration should be given to minimizing the number of connections in a system. One continuous formed thermoplastic hose reduces the number of fittings required and can decrease leak points by 50 percent when compared to hose to tube combinations.
Flow stoppage can occur when hoses and tubing kink. Kinks are common when hoses and tubing are routed in ways that create an excessive bend radius. A protocol that identifies the best routing for the run will ease the stress and assure that kinking does not interrupt the flow. Formed hoses take this a step further by standardizing the hose assembly for a custom fit to the optimum routing.
Save on labor and shipping costs
In addition to the trouble-free design enhancements, employing formed hoses allows for:
- Standardized installation for faster assembly time.
- Part reduction – fewer fittings required.
- Lower shipping costs – formed hoses can be bent and placed in smaller boxes for shipping, whereas steel tubing/hose combinations require crates.
A skid-steer manufacturer who adopted ready to install formed hoses by Parker’s Parflex Division realized over $37,000 in labor savings associated with decreased assembly time and part complexity.
To read the details of the case study and learn more about how formed thermoplastic hose technology is reducing risk and enhancing productivity, download the white paper - Engineering Solutions with Formed Thermoplastic Hose and Tubing.
This blog was contributed by Matt Davenport, product sales manager, Parker Parflex.