Hose fittings play an essential role in every hydraulic system. They connect the hoses, tubes, and pipes to the pumps, the valves, the cylinders, and the rest of the components.
Hydraulic hose fittings may not look much to the untrained eye, but they have significant implications for the functionality of the equipment or installation. It is important to get the right type of fittings for a particular application to achieve the desired results.
Fortunately, choosing the right fittings for a specific purpose does not have to be difficult. Below are some tips to help you make the right purchasing decision.
Choose the Type of Material
Hose fittings are made from different types of material. Each material imparts a unique characteristic to the fitting, and you could choose which one is appropriate for your assembly. The most common materials used in the industry today are plastic, steel, stainless steel, and brass.
Plastic is resistant to corrosion but generally weaker than less resilient. They come at a low price point but find limited applications in hydraulic systems. Still, they can be used in installations with low-pressure requirements.
Steel is an alloy of iron and other metals reinforced with a little bit of carbon (usually 0.8%). It is durable and resistant to heat, making it a great material of choice for hydraulic hose fittings. Steel fittings can usually withstand temperatures ranging from -65⁰F and 500⁰F.
3. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is known for being much stronger than traditional steel. It can stand up against highly corrosive materials. It can withstand extreme pressures of up to 10,000 psi and tolerate temperatures ranging from -425⁰F to 1,200⁰F. One thing to keep in mind when considering stainless steel fittings is that it comes at a higher price point. You must weigh this against the overall value that it offers.
Brass fittings are less durable than stainless steel fittings, but they are capable of providing a leak-free hydraulic system. They can withstand pressures of up to 3,000 psi and tolerate temperatures ranging -65⁰F to 400⁰F.
Another material that finds its way into fittings is aluminum, although it is less common and used mostly in the automotive industry only.
Choose the Type of Fitting
Hydraulic hose fittings typically come in two types: the permanent crimp and the field attachable hose fitting. Crimp fittings require the use of a crimping machine when attaching them to a hose.
If you do not have access to a crimper, then the field attachable is your best option. It comes in the elbow, cross, plug, union, and other configurations.
When choosing a fitting type, make sure that it has enough engagement with respect to the thread. You must also pay attention to the brand as some fittings are brand-specific.
Other Parameters to Consider
Aside from the temperature and pressure of your hydraulic system, there are other factors to consider when looking for hydraulic hose fittings. First is the amount of vibration in the system. Vibration can shift the torque and cause premature fatigue if you pick the wrong type of fitting.
You must also determine its compatibility with the material it will handle. You can check with the manufacturer to find out if a fitting is chemically compatible. Finally, you must decide what seal type to get, especially if you use NPT pipe thread fittings.