The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Safety is always the priority in industrial workplaces, especially those with hydraulic systems that transport hazardous fluids under immense pressure and heat. Consider these simple but valuable safety tips for every hydraulic hose system that should always be followed.
Perform Frequent Inspections
The only way that hydraulic hose system owners and operators can stay ahead of leaks, cracks, and other problems with hydraulic hoses is to perform frequent inspections. If hydraulic hose operators are only reactive—conducting maintenance and inspections after leaks have been found—they’ll be left catching up with replacements and repairs all the time.
Inspections should be done regularly, either based on time or usage. Most hydraulic hose system owners will conduct inspections every three months or by usage—roughly every 400–600 hours. Hoses that operate in more challenging conditions, like high temperatures, should be inspected more frequently.
Document Usage and Ages of Hoses
Another critical factor in being proactive with hydraulic hose maintenance and repair is documenting the usage and ages of all hoses and assemblies. Hydraulic hoses and components have a set shelf life; after so many hours of use, they become much more susceptible to leaks, cracks, and abrasions.
It’s up to the operators and maintenance workers to keep track of the age and usage of each hose so they can be replaced before fading and wearing down. It may seem counterproductive to replace a hose before it breaks down, but it’s much cheaper and faster to replace a working hose than waiting for it to break and cause a mess of problems.
Always Label Components
Another safety tip for every hydraulic hose system involves the assembly and installation of the system. Every hydraulic hose and assembly must be clearly labeled with vital information, such as the hose type and part number, product media, working pressure, and location.
Labeling your hose assemblies is important for productivity, efficiency, and safety. With clear and helpful labeling, maintenance workers and operators can quickly identify hoses for repair, know how old they are, and replace or maintain them before they become hazardous.
Never Patch a Leaking Hose
If a leak or rupture is found in a hose, never attempt to patch the hose like one would with a garden hose. Once there’s a significant leak, crack, or abrasion that allows fluid to escape and the pressure to release from a hydraulic hose, the hose is beyond saving.
Attempting to patch a working hose is dangerous and a waste of time. The patch won’t work or will only hold briefly before the hose cracks and ruptures again. The safest and most efficient solution is to completely replace the hydraulic hose at any sign of a leak or crack.