Joyce Laird • Contributing Editor
What are the dangers of hydraulic hose failure?
The dangers associated with hydraulic systems, specifically, hydraulic hose assemblies can be devastating. Unfortunately, they can too often overlooked. Scotty Garst, general manager at Advanced Technology Services (ATS) said that this issue mostly arises due to a manufacturing company becoming complacent with hydraulic leaks. It is important to know that hydraulic oil not only creates slippery surfaces leading to slip and fall hazards, but can also cause skin burns and even be injected into the body when a hose may burst. Additionally, hydraulic oil can be a fire danger if around an ignition source.
Is hose failure more critical in some applications that others?
“Much depends on the type and/or temperature of the fluid being transferred,” Garst said. “The impact of a hose failure can be more serious in some applications than others. The pressure the system is operating within and location of the failure are both key issues. All could lead to environmental exposure and/or risk of injury to someone working close by, because hoses can come apart throwing debris and/or whip around hitting anything in their path and/or release large amounts of oil or other fluids, which often can be extremely hot, and in some instances toxic.”
Avoiding failure is key
Garst noted that at ATS, they believe that implementing a good preventative maintenance program with detailed machine-specific instructions and standard work tasks, is always the best preventative measure. They do this for all equipment during the integration of their maintenance programs. Following this strict procedure quite often leads to finding potential issues well in advance of ever experiencing a critical failure. Garst said, “Preventing hydraulic hose failures and other similar interrupters to operations are common reasons many manufacturing companies choose to partner with a secondary maintenance source that will implement a skilled workforce that can focus on properly training and documenting standard work for common activities such as hydraulic hose assembly and inspection.”
“Training the workforce on proper techniques through special programs that implement not only specific equipment training but documenting standard components selection and assembly procedures, are methods we have had much success with over the years,” he continued. “Additionally, we are also using new technologies offered by our partners, which are designed to provide real-time monitoring of hose condition and alert equipment operators when failure is imminent so action can be taken before a failure occurs.”
The importance of matching hydraulic hose assembly to specific applications
Safety is the overriding priority at ATS, as it should be with every company dealing in hydraulic hosing or any other potentially dangerous assembly. “You do not want to take any risks when it comes to your employees’ safety. Therefore, not only is it important to match the hose assembly to the application, it is a non-negotiable. The risk is too great not to ensure the hose assembly is rated for the specific application. If there is any doubt, contact a knowledgeable source such as your hose vendor or equipment manufacturer. This is another very important topic covered in our Skillpoint Hydraulics Training Courses,” said Garst.
Always putting safety first
It is simply a given that every manufacturing company working with hydraulic assemblies or any other manufacturing equipment and systems, must put safety first and work hard to eliminate the risks and dangers associated with any of the working components. “Hydraulic hoses and assemblies can be kept safe by implementing and continuously improving preventive maintenance and inspection programs. Deploying focused workforce training on hydraulic systems and assemblies and implementation of strict use of all required standard procedures, ensures a safe workplace,” Garst concluded.