Hydraulic Hose Assembly Routing Guidelines to Extend Service Life

Hydraulic Hose Assembly Routing Guidelines to Extend Service Life

Looking to accommodate your heavy equipment needs without stressing your hydraulic system? Want to stop wasting money on failed high-pressure hydraulic hose systems?

It’s time to evaluate your hydraulic hose routing techniques.

The first step to creating an efficient and reliable high-pressure hydraulic hose assembly is by correctly routing and installing the hoses and tubing required for proper fluid conveyance. Extending the longevity of your hose assembly starts with a great design that makes service and maintenance tasks more accessible.

Have questions on improving the reliability and life of your hydraulic systems?
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When working with hydraulic systems, you may be limited by the machine’s components and configuration. You’ll want to plan the location of system components including hoses, tubing, valves, clamps, filters and heat exchangers.

Be sure to consider the limitation of each component in the assembly and how they work together as a system. When possible, it’s a good rule of thumb to place hoses and tubing in such a way that they are easy to connect and easy to access for maintenance, repair and service. Additionally, you will want to plan out your connections to minimize potential leakage points and get the most out of your hose assembly.

Related: Premature Hydraulic Hose Failure Costs and Prevention Tips

Proper Hydraulic Hose and Tube Routing Tips to Maximize Hose Life

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Proper routing requires a well-planned layout right from the start. By implementing the correct hose and tube routing techniques, you can save yourself time, money and stress. Here are some of our top hydraulic hose routing best practices:

Choosing Hydraulic Hose vs. Tubing

Both hydraulic hose and tubing have a place in your assembly, but each have specific benefits and limitations to consider.

  • Tubing allows for smaller bend radius than hose. It can handle hotter fluids than a hose, so it can be used in areas of higher ambient heat.
  • Hoses can withstand higher levels of wear, provide uniformity in flow patterns and are more resistant to vibration than tubing.

Choosing Hydraulic Hose Length

The criteria for measuring hose length can differ from one manufacturer to another. Check the manufacturer’s requirements to ensure correct measurement and avoid unnecessary scrap. Despite the variations, there are three key things to consider when choosing hose length: overall length, seat-to-seat length and cut length. Learn More.

Here are some pointers:

  • Begin laying out the large lines first. These are usually the most difficult to place, especially in tight areas, so it’s best to get them out of the way first. Once you have your larger lines in place, you can begin to install smaller lines.
  • Choose the correct hose length. Consider your needs carefully based on the fluid being conveyed and how far it must travel as well as the presence of motion or vibration. Too long of a hose can create space issues for placement and increase pressure drops and system costs. Always remember that high-pressure hoses can elongate and contract depending on the conditions.
  • Choose the correct inside diameter. In addition to the length, consider the recommended hydraulic hose thickness your application requires to reduce pressure loss and provide optimum flow.

Related: Use STAMPED Method for Hydraulic Hose Assembly.

Proper Selection of Fittings for Hydraulic Hose Assembly

Once you measure for the hydraulic hose’s length and diameter, choose fittings based on the system pressures, flow rates and any environmental factors such as temperatures and weather.

  • Adapt for reciprocating motions. If your hose ends must reciprocate, consider using hose reels, festooning or rolling.
  • Choose end connections with care. End connections are the weakest link in your assembly. Consider conditions, climates and temperatures when choosing end connections and other fittings.

Proper Hydraulic Hose Placement

  • Hydraulic hoses shouldn’t be exposed to edges or surfaces that can lead to abrasion or damage of outer cover. Consider using an abrasion-resistant cover, if necessary.
  • Avoid twisting, kinks or sharp bends in the hydraulic hose as they will try to straighten under pressure. When a hose kinks, there is increased potential for the hose to crack or the internal structure to break down quicker — leading to reduced service life.
    To prevent kinks, route the hose to accommodate what’s called the minimum bend radius of the hose. Find this information on SAE spec sheets and manufacturer catalogs.
  • When possible, run your hydraulic lines parallel to your equipment and follow contours of your equipment. Parallel routing can reduce hose assembly costs by reducing the number of adapters and overall hose length.
  • Route through pivot points. If your hose must flex, be sure to route the hose through pivot points that bend the hose like a hinge. Doing so will prevent the hose from taking an S-bend that can reduce service life and create excessive hose movement.
  • Prevent fires near hot zones. Use appropriate tunnel materials such as steel tubing, channel or angle iron for hydraulic lines that must pass through hot zones. Another option would be to use a sheet metal baffle as a barrier between the ignition source and the hydraulic lines.

    You can also route the lines through sleeves that will allow the oil to flow through safely in the event of hydraulic hose failure. Be sure to have guards in place to prevent failed lines from whipping around, spraying oil near any ignition sources.

Pro Tip: Danfoss (formerly Eaton) recommends installing hose whip restraints anytime pressurized hose assemblies are in the vicinity of employees, visitors or critical equipment.

Proper Use of Hydraulic Hose Clamps

Hydraulic hose clamps prevent movement and subsequent abrasion while dampening vibration. When choosing your clamps, be sure to consider the materials and application needs. Select the proper size clamp that will grip the hose firmly without compressing the hose. Because high-pressure hose length can change due to operating conditions, choose clamping options that can accommodate an increase of 2 percent or a decrease of 4 percent.

  • Too long of a hose will cost more in material and also increases the chance of extra hose rubbing or chafing against another surface.
  • Too short of a hose often results in premature hose failure due to inadequate bend radii. This causes excess pressure build up and eventual rupture at joints. Look for the minimum bend radius for each hose in manufacturer specification tables.
  • Do not use clamps to restrict hose from changing lengths under pressure. Hose must be able to maintain flexibility.

Pro Tip: Fluid Power World recommends leaving at least two hose widths of space between clamps and any bends.

Adequate Hydraulic Hose Movement

  • Consider the movement: If the hose requires a continuous 360° movement, use a rotary joint. If the movement is reversing, choose a swivel joint.
  • Hose shouldn’t bend in more than one place. High-pressure hoses should bend or flex, not twist. If a hose should twist even the slightest bit, its service life is reduced. Be sure that your hose only flexes on one plane and if multiple bends are required, break up the hose into multiple sections to prevent twisting.
  • Hose assembly components must be able to move without creating tension. Give enough slack to allow for movement or vibration but not rub against other components. 
  • Make sure to account for enough slack that hose can change in length due to increased pressure.

Protect Hydraulic Hose

Even if your hydraulic hose has a tough outer covering, constant abrasion and exposure to moisture will weaken the cover and make it more susceptible to punctures and cracking. Protect your assembly with either a protective cover or clamps to reduce exposure to abrasion and/or the elements.

7 Reasons to Improve Your Current Hydraulic Hose Assembly and Routing Techniques

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Need onsite hose repair? For reliable hose repair, we can place a hose crimping machine on-site,  complete with bulk hose and hose ends to get you back to work quickly. We also offer training on fast and effective hose repair when you need it most.

Read: Premature Hydraulic Hose Failure Costs and Prevention Tips

Give us a call at 314-638-6500 OPTION 4 and speak to a knowledgeable representative today!

Superior Industrial Supply knows how important it is to have access to the hydraulic hoses and fittings your operations demand. It’s why we specialize in hydraulic hose assembly and repairs, as well as industrial and MRO supply and fastener selection.

We carry everything you need for your hydraulic hose assemblies from top-rated brands like Danfoss Power Solutions. Give us a call at 314-638-6500 OPTION 4 or 800-783-6501 and let us know how we can help you find the products, services and advice you need.

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