Hose-ending’ warning as COVID climate could encourage growers to cut corners

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GROWERS are being warned not to cut corners when it comes to repairing or replacing hydraulic hoses on their agricultural machinery.

‘Hose-ending’ is frequently regarded as a cost-saver, but increases the risk of failure and renders the manufacturer’s warranty invalid. But, worse, it can lead to life-changing injuries according to Nigel British Fluid Power Association Distributor Chairman Thomason.  

“The pandemic has us all under extra strain and I know that many company owners or workers across the agriculture industry will be looking for ways to save money – but let me tell you now, re-ending hoses to save a few pounds is not the answer,” he said. 

Nigel said the hoses are subject to all types of weather conditions and can get accidentally damaged onsite.  A pinhole leak in a hose can eject fluid at speeds in excess of 180m (600 feet) per second, almost as fast as a bullet, depending on the pressure it’s under.  

It’s quite normal for fluid to be under pressure at 2000 PSI (168 Bar) in a hydraulic hose on a farming vehicle, and can be as much as 6000 PSI (414 Bar).  Oil under this much pressure will go straight through protective clothing, pierce the skin and can lead to severe, life-changing injuries from just one tiny looking pin prick.

“Re-ending hoses is a dangerous practice which can lead to fatal injuries – ultimately you’re chancing with a liquid bullet,” Thomason continues. “Cost is the biggest driver in re-ending but it’s the integrity of the whole assembly that’s ruined when you do that, not just the end of a hose. Re-ending increases the risk of failure and is never covered by the hose manufacturer’s warranty, so it really is a false economy.”

The BFPA Approved Hose Assemblies Scheme and the associated Q ‘Quality’ Logo sets practice guidelines for hose manufacturing, distribution and fitting. Members who sell and fit hoses in the scheme must meet strict criteria to carry the Q Mark, a sign of guaranteed quality, and to never practice hose re-ending.

The BFPA is highlighting its campaign again now as Covid restrictions are placing the agricultural industry under much greater financial pressure, to caution against the temptation to re-end rather than use a Q Scheme approved supplier.