Hydraulic Hose

Hydraulic hose in use on a machine
Hydraulic hose in use on a machine

Found in commercial and industrial environments that utilise hydraulic-powered machinery, hydraulic hoses are usually made from flexible rubber and wire. They also typically feature multiple layers for maximum strength and longevity. These usually consist of an outer layer, an inner tube and a reinforcement layer.

Hydraulic hoses are commonly used to facilitate transfers of hydraulic fluid in a huge range of industries. Some of these include manufacturing, agriculture, construction, mining and oil and gas. Faulty hydraulic hoses can lead to leaks and damage to production lines and machinery. 


Different construction types of hydraulic hoses 

Hydraulic hoses come in different construction types. Here are just some of the more popular hydraulic hose constructions on the market.


Braided hydraulic hoses for high-pressure applications 

These high-pressure hydraulic hoses feature one, two, three or even more braided wires. Usually made from steel, they are often used to transfer water-based fluids and petroleum. Stainless steel braided hoses are used for heavy-duty applications that involve chemicals. They are very durable and ideal for extreme temperatures.


Braided hydraulic hoses for low-pressure applications

Textile braided hydraulic hoses are a great choice for hydraulic transfers in low-pressure settings. Often used in anti-static delivery and return lines, they are more lightweight and flexible than braided hydraulic hoses made from steel and stainless steel.


Spiral hydraulic hoses

Spiral hydraulic hoses are made from AQP elastomer or synthetic rubber and wire. Unlike braided hydraulic hoses where the wires are threaded, spiral hydraulic hoses feature stacked wires. Engineered for even higher pressure and high impulse settings than braided hydraulic hoses, spiral hydraulic hoses are strong and durable. Spiral hydraulic hoses commonly have a smaller bend radius than braided hydraulic hoses, a quality that makes them sturdier but less flexible. 


Spiral hydraulic hoses are commonly used in the agriculture, oil and gas, construction, forestry and mining industries. Depending on the hose, they can handle temperatures up to 150 degrees Celsius and pressures of up to 450 bar. Plus, their overall pressure capacity generally does not decrease in hoses with larger diameters.


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Types of Hydraulic Hose

Hydraulic hoses are made from a variety of materials to fulfil different functions.

Rubber hydraulic hoses

Commonly made from nitrile, rubber hoses can be used with the majority of hydraulic fluids. Rubber hoses with a textile braid are generally used for applications below 70 bar and steel wire braided hoses for pressures of around 500 bar and even higher. Rubber hoses usually have between one and six reinforcing layers.


Thermoplastic hydraulic hoses

Commonly used as lubrication lines and for general hydraulics, thermoplastic hydraulic hoses feature two thermoplastic layers — including a nylon tube and a polyurethane cover — and a synthetic or wire reinforcement layer. Thermoplastic hydraulic hoses can withstand the same pressure as wire hoses and are ideal for use in low temperatures. Plus, they are often used in environments where electricity can be an issue since they are non-conductive.


PTFE hydraulic hoses

Stronger than rubber hoses, polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE hydraulic hoses, are typically used in hazardous situations that involve hydraulic oils, chemicals, paint or dissolvents. Also referred to as teflon hoses, PTFE hydraulic hoses often feature a stainless steel braid reinforcement and typically do not require a cover since stainless steel is non-corrosive. PTFE hydraulic hoses are commonly used in extreme temperatures of up to - 60 degrees Celsius and high-pressure environments. 


Return hydraulic hoses

Return hydraulic hoses, or return lines, are used to return fluid back to the start of a hydraulic system or a pump. They are often made from rubber covered in a textile brade and feature a helical wire that can handle suction.


Refrigerant hoses

Used in air-conditioning and refrigeration, refrigerant hoses feature permeation that is close to zero and a wide temperature range for extreme conditions. They are usually both flexible and highly durable. Many refrigerant hoses can also withstand high pressure.


Coiled hydraulic hoses 

Semi-rigid, coiled hydraulic houses are easy to manoeuvre and store. Often used in welding and auto repair shops, coiled hydraulic hoses can be easily pulled to reach certain areas and then snapped back into place without sustaining damage.


Seamless Steel Tubes

Seamless steel tubes are often made out of steel for maximum strength and durability. Plus, their lack of seams minimises the risk of leaks. Seamless steel tubes are commonly made by a process called cold rolling to ensure a uniform diameter. In addition, seamless tubes can usually be cut down to size for tailored applications.


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Hydraulic hose size is determined by looking at a number of metrics. These include:

  • Inner diameter. Hydraulic hose sizes are based on their inner diameter or the length of the distance between the two furthest inner points of the tube.
  • Length. The longer the hydraulic hose, the greater the friction losses that decrease pressure in the system. As such, hose length should depend on the required system pressure. Selecting a larger hydraulic hose diameter will also reduce the pressure drop.
  • Flow rate. Hydraulic hose size needs to take into account fluid velocity and the maximum system flow. Flow rate is often determined by the type of pump that is being used.

Working out what hydraulic couplings you need to connect your hose is usually pretty straightforward. A cap connector is used to terminate a line. An adapter fitting is used to connect hoses with different diameters. An elbow fitting connects hoses at a 90-degree angle to each other. Meanwhile, a T-shaped fitting can be used to connect three different input and output hoses. 

Working out what hydraulic couplings you need to connect your hose is usually pretty straightforward. A cap connector is used to terminate a line. An adapter fitting is used to connect hoses with different diameters. An elbow fitting connects hoses at a 90-degree angle to each other. Meanwhile, a T-shaped fitting can be used to connect three different input and output hoses. 

There are a number of signs that indicate that a hydraulic hose within a system probably needs a replacement. These include:

  • Fluid leaks from the hose or a hydraulic fitting.
  • Surface damage.
  • Distorted or crushed hose.
  • Twists or kinks in the hose.
  • Corroded hydraulic fittings (look for red rust).
  • Exposed wire reinforcements. 
  • Hardened or softened cover.

Replacing a damaged or worn hydraulic hose involves a number of steps:

  • Identify the problem and exactly which hydraulic hose requires replacing.
  • Look for other system components that may need replacement.
  • Prepare the system by relieving pressure to prevent leaks.
  • Loosen the hydraulic fittings that connect the hose to the machine.
  • Disconnect the hose and get rid of any residual fluid.
  • Seal the hydraulic fittings with a plug to prevent leaks. 
  • Install the new hydraulic hose.
  • Reassemble the entire system.
  • Visually check the hose and test the system to check that there are no leaks.
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Visit our pages on hydraulic fittings, pumps, cylinders, couplings, hydraulic hoses and hydraulic valves