Fluid Power World Contributing Writer Joyce Laird talked with Sr. Traning Specialist for Eaton Corporation Robert J. Koehler about swaging and swaging machines. Here’s what he had to say.
Robert J. Koehler, Sr. Training Specialist at Eaton Corporation explains “In creating hose assemblies, a swaging machine is used to change the diameter of a metal fitting for the purpose of retaining it onto the end of a hose. Fitting retention is very important in any hose application. The fitting must remain attached to the hose even in adverse conditions. Proper use of a swaging machine is necessary to ensure uptime is maintained throughout the life cycle of a hose assembly. Effective swaging can also help reduce costly maintenance issues caused by leaking and other issues related to hose fittings.”
A hose is inserted into a fitting to a specific depth. Then the hose and fitting are placed into a swaging machine, with proper tooling, to create the desired form. This is usually accomplished by pushing the fitting, while on the hose, into a set of fixed dies with a smaller inside diameter than the fitting outside diameter, thus changing the form of the fitting and permanently attaching it to the hose.
How is swaging different from crimping a hose assembly?
“Swaging is pushing a hose and fitting through a fixed set of dies changing the form of the fitting onto the hose and creating a smaller diameter. Crimping a fitting onto a hose is different in that the dies are not fixed and usually come in segments (usually eight). The die segments are pushed together radially around the fitting to change the form of the fitting to create a smaller diameter. Both methods are used to permanently attach a fitting onto a hose,” Koehler said.
“There are many different types of swaging machines and a variety of manufacturers that produce them today. At Eaton, we use the model Mark IX swage machine for our Synflex product line, which is a thermoplastic hose product. We also offer a swaging machine for our Everflex product line which is a Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hose).”
Depending on the hose application, the swaging product selected by fluid power engineers largely depends on the machine that is most compatible with the hose manufacturer’s exact specifications. “OEMs typically offer swaging machines designed for specific product lines, and it is highly recommended to use both a manufacturer’s swaging machine along with their hose and fitting products. Mixing and matching elements of a hose assembly can lead to dire issues if the swaging process isn’t configured to the OEM’s specifications,” Koehler adds.
What about Automation?
“Inline automation leads itself to being more of a trend in robotics. For example, in the food and beverage industry, inline automation can be a critical factor in production efficiency as cans or bottles are automatically being filled. When using a swaging machine in these applications, it’s critical to determine the exact measurements dictating the range of motion of the machine when you’re ready to attach a fitting to the end of a hose.”
“Swaging fittings onto hose ends to create a hose assembly has been around for many years. However, one recent innovation that Eaton has developed is an Adapter Kit, which allows a crimp machine (FT1380 and ET4020) to swage. The kit FF16423 is very easy to install and use. Publication #: E-MEAD-TT002-E.”
“This allows hose operators the flexibility to crimp or swage a hose assembly. It is helpful to industries operating with a wide variety of hose types, allowing end-users to apply the correct, most efficient hose assembly specific to a machine’s optimum operating functionality.”
“There is a very long list of industries that utilize fluid power systems and benefit from the latest swaging technology. While these machines are mostly used in thermoplastic product lines, some are used in food processing and pharmaceutical applications. It really depends on the circumstances of the hose in use.”
Manufacturers recommend a fitting material depending on many factors, most notably the environment the hose assembly will be in, the compatibility with the media (fluid type) being conveyed, the pressure the hose assembly will be rated for, the temperature and so on. The tooling material may change depending on the material of the fitting being swaged.
“Any time you are changing the form of metal fittings, (crimp or swage); you should consult the hose and fitting manufacturer for proper procedures,” Koehler concludes.