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Hydraulic hose


EVEN A TINY HOLE CAN CAUSE MAJOR DOWNTIME Hydraulic systems can contain as much as 2,000l of oil, which due to high pressures can completely drain out of a damaged hose within just 20 minutes. Even a small, pin-prick sized hole can quickly compromise an entire system as, due to pressures exceeding 100 bar or even 200 bar, a tiny hole can split or expand to the size of a golf ball within a very short space of time. Although many modern hydraulic systems sit within

a bund to collect waste oil, bursts can be unpredictable. The oil may spurt out at an angle, missing the bund altogether and damaging surrounding equipment or worse – causing considerable and possibly life-changing fluid injection injuries to individuals. Due to all these factors, the cost of a leak is not

limited to the price of the replacement hose, which could be as little as £10 (€13). Simply replacing 2,000l oil could run to £1,000 (€1,300) or more, and this may not be accomplished immediately as few lubricant suppliers keep the volumes required in stock – and oil from different sources should not usually be mixed. There is also therefore the cost of downtime to consider, as well as the cost of cleaning up and safely disposing of oil. Should oil escape


down drains, environmental fines may also apply, as well as the cost of compensation or fines if an individual is injured as a result of a leak. It is easy to imagine how the £10 cost of a replacement hose could spiral into several thousands of pounds, meaning ‘run to fail’ is neither an economic or safe option. Failure can be predicted either by calculating usage,

through the use of monitoring tools, or visually. Most hoses will last for around a million cycles, and so by analysing the run time of a piece of machinery, the average life span of the hose should be easily calculated. Alternatively, various monitoring systems exist that can be installed within a hydraulic hose assembly to detect dangerous levels of wear and send an alert at the point at which a replacement is required. Often based on RFID or infrared technology, monitoring systems offer a high degree of reliability as they are not based solely on calculations and so account for any unpredictable wear caused by misuse.

ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS Where monitoring technology is not used, a combination of calculations and visual inspection should be implemented. Before undertaking full inspection – either planned or as a result of spotting a

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