How many machines on your site are hydraulically operated?
One of the greatest challenges in the mining industry is balancing an increase in output productivity, while minimising machine downtime, and keeping equipment well-maintained. This is a tricky task, with many systems contingent on each other, causing a knock-on domino effect if one fails. So, what can be done to make this process easier?
Don’t stop the flow with hydraulic hoses!
A hydraulic hose plays a vital role in keeping mining operations running smoothly. Featured on most machinery – from surface to underground – the humble hose can make or break a system. Hydraulic hoses are typically featured on the following industrial mining equipment:
- Haul trucks
- Hydraulic shovels
- Continuous miners
Advances in industrial processes and hydraulic powered mining equipment now demand better quality hoses, higher pressure flow, and advanced assemblies. Hoses are pushed to their limits when companies demand more out of them to meet productivity goals.
Purchasing quality hydraulic hoses and fittings for mining activities can be a costly investment, so how can you extend its service life and ensure you get the most out of the hose?
What is a hydraulic hose service life?
Hydraulic hose service life terminates when the hose is not safe, there is a heightened likelihood of failure, and generally the hose is no longer fit for use. Generally, a hose lifespan is 8 years. This is of course dependant on its operating conditions, maintenance, and ensuring a correct assembly. The NSW Resources Regulator highlights key factors that an reduce the service life of a hydraulic hose – these include:
- External damage: Damage to the outer hose layer caused by abrasion, impact, rubbing
- Environmental factors: The effect of extreme temperatures, UV, chemicals
- Mechanical loads: This includes vibration, tensile, shear
- Incorrect routing: Not adhering to minimum bend radius, twisting, orientation, equipment extension, inappropriate fittings
- Fluid: Incompatible with hose, velocity, contamination
- Accidental damage caused by: Falling debris, crushes, fires, collisions
- Corrosion of hydraulic fittings: alkalinity, acidic water, coal and sulphur
To maximise a hydraulic hose service life, and ensure your equipment is producing an effective output, hose assemblies should comply with SAE J1273 or ISO 17165-2. These hydraulic hose assembly standards provide guidance against poor design, a leading factor in premature hose failure, and suggest best practice procedures for hose fabrication, fittings, and equipment.
How to maximise hydraulic assembly efficiency
As the humble hose drives a significant number of mining operations, it is important that your hydraulic hose assembly is maximised to achieve an efficient output. No matter what machine, it all starts at the beginning – planning your system. You may be asking questions like “how to choose the right hydraulic hose”, “what hydraulic fittings do I need”, and “what preventative maintenance can I perform to enhance the performance of a hydraulic hose?”.
Firstly, how do I choose the right hydraulic hose?
Selecting a hydraulic hose and fittings to for your assembly is dependent on the circumstance in which the hose will be operating. For example, underground mining operations might demand a FRAS (fire-retardant, anti-static) certified hydraulic hose, and haul trucks require a large width hose. When choosing hydraulic hoses remember the STAMPED acronym; Size, Temperature, Application, Material, Pressure, Ends, Delivery.
Routing your hydraulic hose assembly is now the next daunting task. This involves planning the path of the hoses according to assembly requirements. Mining operations often require complex assemblies, processes, and systems – so it is important to be aware of minimum bend radius requirements, abrasion points, and twisting.
Secondly, what preventative maintenance can I perform on my hydraulic hose?
Hydraulic hose repair for the mining industry is a costly expenditure – time and money are power – and waiting for a repair to reach your remote site can cause a significant loss in production. Routine inspections play a vital role in identifying the potential for premature hose failure before it occurs. Failures caused by abrasion, incorrect clamping, and flexing can all be resolved when identified during a preventive maintenance inspection. Mine machine operators should also be trained on identifying issues within a hydraulic system and reporting these to site supervisors for immediate action to be taken.
Find out the top 5 causes of hydraulic hose failure to look out for during your next site inspection.
So where does HoseMateTM fit in?
HoseMateTM is an engineered control against hydraulic hose failure caused by external abrasion. External abrasion is identified as one of the leading causes of failure. Current ‘statistics on the failure of flexible hose assemblies in workplaces indicate that the major mechanism of hose failure is abrasion followed by stresses inducing pin holing near the hose ends.’
HoseMateTM is an innovative hose clamp designed to separate hydraulic hose hoses, while allowing flexible hose movement through 360-degree rotation, and no requirement of being mounted on a stabilising surface.
We encourage HoseMateTM to be fitted during hose routing and installation. HoseMateTM can also be integrated into existing mining processes where abrasion has been identified as an issue during routine maintenance inspection.