When it comes to machine automation, you would be hard-pressed to find a more important component than the humble hydraulic hose. In this guide, I’m going to go through a few essential facts about hydraulic hoses and explore why they are so important. I’ll also look into some of the areas and industries that you might find them. Ladies and gents, raise a glass to one of automation’s unsung heroes – the hydraulic hose.
The primary function of hydraulics systems is the transfer of energy producing liquid from one component to another. In many types of system, rigid pipes or tubes are used to complete the hydraulic circuit. While these rigid tubes allow a lot more control over bridging small gaps, it can also cause a lot of problems. Take the construction digger as the perfect example. The hydraulics system in the digger helps enable the operator to move the machine up, down, and control its position. In this scenario, a straight tube is not going to be any use – the arm needs a lot more flexibility to move in different directions. Instead, diggers have flexible tubes or hydraulic hoses. You can see running up and down the arm, and allow far greater flexibility.
How are they made?
Hydraulic hoses come in all shapes and sizes. But there are some basic design principles at work, wherever you look. The standard hose comes with three layers – an inner tube, reinforcement layer, and an outer, protective layer. The inner tube is designed to hold the type of liquid that will flow through it – and is often made of PDFE thermoplastic or synthetic rubbers. You then have the coiled or braided wire that makes up the reinforcement layer. It gives the tubing strength and helps protect against rips and tears. Finally, you have the outer layer. Given that hydraulic hose is almost always exposed to the elements, this part of the tube is made from hard, rigid materials. This tough outer layer gives exceptional protection to the inside.
What liquids run through hydraulic hoses?
In theory, you can put any liquid through a hydraulic hose. But, most will be built to carry petroleum, synthetic oils, and any high-water content liquid. That said, machine owners always have to be careful with the type of hydraulic oil they use. Use the wrong type of oil, and things can get messy. But you also need to use the correct viscosity grading. It’s important to understand that a machine may well run on a particular lubricant. But that lubricant may not be optimal for that device, which can significantly shorten the lifespan.
Hydraulic hoses in the field
So, where can we find hydraulic hoses in action? We’ve already mentioned construction, of course. But hydraulic hoses crop up almost everywhere there is a machine. Aeroplanes use them to control wing movements and landing gear. The oil and mining industries use them in vast quantities. You will also find hydraulic hoses in the automotive, agriculture, and manufacturing industries. In short, wherever you look, you will see a hydraulic hose, or at the very least, something that has been constructed with its help.
Want to learn more about hydraulics? Check out the rest of my blog for more info on this and many other automation topics!