Hydraulic hoses consist of three basic components. An inner tube carries the fluid. It is reinforced with a sheath of braided wire, spiral wound wire or a textile based yarn. The final protective outer layer provides protection from weather, abrasion or oil or chemicals. These hoses are designed or custom-made specifically for use in certain mechanical applications. In the majority of cases, hydraulic hoses are designed to be particular sizes, lengths and have custom connectors to work in specific machines.
Hydraulic hoses are not permanent. There are numerous factors that can affect the lifespan of a hydraulic hose. Hose life can be reduced by flexing the hose too much, twisting it, kinking, stretching, crushing or scratching the surface. Too low or too high operating temperatures can cause the hoses to break down as will sudden sharp rises or drops in internal pressures. Other factors that can cause the hoses to break down include using the wrong size, type or weight of hoses. Hoses should be replaced before they fail, particularly with hydraulic heavy machinery, brakes or safety critical hydraulic machinery. When worn hoses may exhibit signs of swelling, cracking, blisters and bubbles, or they may show virtually no signs at all. These hoses should be replaced as often as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent accidents.
Hydraulic systems contain the ability to multiply torque or apply force in a simple way. Mechanically systems would require an intricate system of gears, chains, pulleys and levels, to move machinery at a distance from the machine. However, hydraulic systems can transmit force from a force engine to the place where it needs to be in order to do the work simply by stringing hoses between the two. Because they do not compress, fluids can transmit force effectively. The force that is applied at one of the hydraulic hose travels to the opposite end of the hose with little loss of power. The force applied at the opposite end can increase or decrease with changes in size of hoses along the way.
With hydraulic hoses forces can turn from a few ounces of pressure into hundreds of tons of output. Using hydraulic hoses, hydraulic machines can create very powerful low speed torque and manage speed and movement of machines with extreme accuracy. A single hydraulic pump or compressor can, through hydraulic hoses power multiple different machines and machine functions widely varying power levels at the same time. Hydraulic powered machines can safely operate in areas where there are flammable vapors and electrical or electronic devices could set off explosions.
Each hose has specific ratings for specific types of fluid they are designed to carry, working temperatures ranges and pressure limits for that particular hose. They are typically printed on the hose or fittings. In some cases, they print a model number on the hose and provide a spec sheet for the various models.
Hydraulic systems operate under high pressure to drive machinery. Hoses that fail at high pressures can whip about with extreme violence and injure bystanders or machine operators. Hydraulic hoses should be properly check and replaced according to manufacturers recommendations.
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