Consider the hidden cost of hydraulic hoses

Posted by Marek Bobik on Wed, May 12, 2010 @ 06:27 PM
Marek Bobik

money-sucking-hose-assemblyMany buyers and maintenance managers equate the cost of a hydraulic hose assembly to its purchase price. However, the cost relevant to your business is not the purchase price but the cost of ownership - cost of using one product versus another over time.

Many users of hydraulic hose assemblies would be surprised to learn that the lesser quality hose assembly is likely to cost more to use than a high quality product with a higher price tag.

Low quality hoses have a shorter service life than high quality products. The need for more frequent replacement drives the cost of owning the hose up. Every time the hose needs to be replaced, the business has to pay not only for the price of the hose itself, but also for someone to go get the replacement hose, and to do the actual work. The cost of labor alone can offset paying more for a high quality assembly that lasts longer.

Low quality hoses also fail prematurely more often than high quality products. An unexpected failure leads not only to the cost of a replacement of the blown hose assembly but it has potential to cause a lot of collateral damage:

  • Injury or even death - depending on an application
  • Loss of hydraulic oil and cost of cleaning up the spill
  • Failure of other expensive components as a result of sudden loss of pressure (cavitation damage to pumps and/or motors, for example).
  • Non-scheduled down time - expedited delivery of replacement components and over-time pay
  • Possible future damage from ingression of contaminants
  • Missed delivery deadlines

In recent years, the American market has been flooded with cheap imports competing with the American manufacturers solely on the price of parts. However, not all hose assemblies are created equal - not even if they comply with the same SAE specifications.

SAE specifications do not provide the guarantee of quality. SAE specifications call out such requirements as minimum bend radius, maximum working pressure or how many wire reinforcement layers must be used in the construction of a hose to achieve compliance. The compliance with specifications does not guarantee quality of rubber compounds or other materials used in manufacturing of any hose and it does not differentiate between a hose that far exceeds the stated requirement and one that barely meets it.

Furthermore, SAE does not actually test any products - it simply provides instructions for manufacturers how to comply with their specifications. It is up to manufacturers to test their products for compliance.

When you think about how much your hydraulic hose assemblies cost, don't forget to consider the hidden cost of cheap alternatives which are typically much higher than a cost of high quality product.

See related blogs on cost of hydraulic leaks, knowing when to replace a hose assembly and hydraulic oil injection injuries.

Posted by Marek Bobik

Topics: maintenance