If you know anything about plumbing, then you’ll know that flexible hoses have been steadily replacing traditional piping in contemporary installations over the last couple of decades. Behind the scenes of many industries, flexible hoses are essential flow solutions to bring adaptability, speed, and safety to a variety of sectors.
These types of hoses are stronger and more versatile than conventional hoses, so it’s no wonder that so many trades and manufacturers rely on them. However, as with any development in technology, you might be wary of whether a flexible hose is a reliable choice. This article is here to set your mind at rest and explain what these hoses do and how to get the best out of them.
How do flexible hoses work?
The most common type of flexible hose is a stainless steel hose. This is made by weaving braided stainless steel around a flexible corrugated steel pipe, adding strength and protection without limiting movement. Alternatively, a composite hose is an extremely durable variant constructed from multiple layers of tightly woven wire, thermoplastic fabric, and protective film to withstand higher pressures and prevent leakage.
In flexible hoses, the inner pipe can stretch and expand like a balloon, while the rigid outer shell protects it from abrasion and punctures. There are a wide range of end fittings and connectors available so these hoses can be used in a variety of applications. They’re the preferred choice for many reasons, namely because flexible hoses are:
· Made from high-quality robust materials
· Lightweight but incredibly strong
· Highly flexible without kinking
· Versatile for small or restricted spaces
· Available in many sizes and lengths
· Able to withstand a wide range of temperatures and pressures
· Compatible with chemicals for industrial use without eroding
· Safe and long-lasting with little maintenance required
These properties allow flexible hoses to work successfully in the environments they’re designed for. Here are just some of the potential uses for flexible hoses where their connective capabilities shine:
· Gardens (watering hoses and sprinklers)
· Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms (sinks, showers, toilets, and washing machines)
· Agriculture (drip irrigating crops)
· Firefighting (water hoses on fire engines)
· Air tanks (carrying compressed air)
· Ventilation and heating (moving air around and into/out of spaces)
· Fuel (petrol, diesel, other liquid fuel or natural gas)
· Medical chemistry (transporting liquid and gas chemicals)
· Power plants and oil refineries (transporting and delivering pressurized gases and liquids)
· Manufacturing process lines (drawing samples for analysis)
Really, a flexible hose can be used just about anywhere to connect equipment and move liquids or gases from A to B. Their high levels of performance and incredible versatility mean that flexible hoses really do work when applied correctly.
How to prevent flexible hoses from failing
One of the reasons you may be wondering about the effectiveness of flexible hoses is that many people have concerns about leakages being more likely. However, these hoses are specifically designed and manufactured to withstand abrasion and are almost impossible to puncture.
Like any durable material, flexible hoses can fail due to eventual deterioration after a long life. Stories of flexible hoses bursting only tend to happen as a result of a failed installation initially, or if the wrong type of flexible hose is being used for the specific requirements.
When choosing flexible hoses, you should assess the requirements of the project with their purpose in mind to ensure that the hose is suitable for the job. For example, if you need to transport toxic or expensive gas, a braided stainless steel hose can prevent gas permeation, while a composite hose with high resistance to chemical corrosion is a good choice for fuels like petrol and diesel.
These are all the factors you’ll need to consider to determine which type of flexible hose is best for smooth operations in the future:
· Internal and external substances
· Flow velocity
· Working temperatures
· Maximum pressure
· Vibration tendencies
· Minimum bend radius
· Inside and outside diameters
· Full assembly length
· Fitting attachment types and sizes
· Required life/service length
Once you’ve carried out an assessment and gathered all the necessary data, you can select the appropriate flexible hose for your desired usage. You should then ensure that it’s fitted and installed professionally. Leaks and ruptures happen when the hose and its connections are either too loose or too taut, or if the hose is twisted or the bend is too sharp. A professional will know to avoid these mistakes and set up the hose correctly.
When your flexible hose system is up and running, you should make sure that it’s regularly checked over to identify and assess any quality or safety issues. This means that any necessary maintenance can be carried out quickly to address potential problems before they have the chance to get any worse. Simply choose the appropriate specifications, install them correctly, and inspect them regularly and flexible hoses will work efficiently for years to come.