Is Your Hose Happy?
A Hose Manufacturer’s Guide to Hose Selection & Application
Is your hose happy? Sounds funny doesn’t it. So many people do not give hose selection and application a second thought. However, hose is one of the most important pieces of a fluid conveyance system. Just think about it, in a self-serve application, the hose is the link between your carwash and the true customer experience. In an automatic tunnel, the hose plays vital roles in everything from the movement of the equipment to the water spray and chemical application.
There are several things that can help increase uptime and the customer experience when it comes to the hose. When looking at specifying a hose either for a new machine or replacement, certain factors must be considered. An acronym widely used in the hose industry is STAMPED. This stands for Size, Temperature, Application, Material, Pressure, Ends, and Delivery. These are important details that should be known so that you are sure your system will perform at the highest level of performance.
Take into account the environment that the hose will live in. Often, application and environment is ignored. This is not limited to just climate but also how the hose is routed, the range of motion of the hose when the equipment is operated, how the hose is secured and protected, exposure to chemicals, UV, and Ozone. These factors play a huge role in the proper hose selection and hose life.
There are several new products that are available now that were not available 5, 10, or 15 years ago.
- There are multiple types of hose protection that can be used.
- Hose clamping tools and techniques have been expanded.
- New hose ends have been developed.
- Better crimping techniques and processes have been implemented.
- New hose materials and better hose flexibilities have been achieved.
- Higher pressure hoses have also been developed in all size ranges.
- There are even new advances in technology that allow for more colors to be available.
Car wash manufacturers and owners may not be considering the benefits of selecting the best hose for the job. Many only select the hose based on price. This can be a costly mistake that can jeopardize the uptime of the machine as well as the customer experience. By sacrificing quality up front, the costs can skyrocket on the backside with loss in revenue and customers.
All is not lost if you have a hose failure. Take the time to analyze the failed hose, it can “talk” to you and give you details as to why it failed. Look for the root cause of the failure.
- Did the hose fail from the inside out or outside in?
- Was there abrasion present?
- Was the hose exposed to extreme temperatures or pressures?
- Was the hose exposed to chemicals?
- Was the environment conducive to hose life?
- Was the hose coupled correctly with the correct fittings and length?
- Was the hose twisted when installed?
- Was the movement of the hose constricted too much?
- Can the use of steel tubing be used in conjunction with the hose to prolong uptime and system life?
The answers to these questions are priceless. This information can lead you to better hose selection, protection, and routing that can increase uptime and your customers’ experience in the future. These same questions can be asked when installing new equipment and can be used to help select the best hose for the job and keep your hose “happy”.
Be proactive in the maintenance of your system. Inspect your system for abnormal wear and leaks. Identifying these characteristics early can lead to preventing hose failures. Always replace a hose if the braid is exposed or if leakage is evident. If these conditions are not addressed, a catastrophic hose failure can occur. If excessive abrasion is observed, add hose sleeves or clamps to help protect the hose from premature failure.
No hose can last forever, however if you ask some basic questions, your hose can live happily in your system and provide many years of maintenance-free operation.