Co-authored by Catlin Nalley, editorial intern
| Hose failure in mission critical applications, such as offshore platforms, can be both dangerous and costly. That is why Gates Corp., Eaton Corp., and Ryco Hydraulics have all developed “smart hose” technology which warns of impending hose failure. |
No matter the application, hose failure can be both costly and dangerous, leading to unscheduled downtime, environmental complications, and even personal injury. To help prevent some of these potential catastrophes, several companies have developed technology to help predict the life span of a hydraulic hose for any given application.
Too often personnel choose to go beyond the rated life of a hose, which they may believe to be conservative. As a result they might not replace the hose until it is too late. It is critical that replacement occur before it fails, during normally scheduled maintenance.
Gates Corp., Denver; Eaton Corp.’s Hydraulics Group, Eden Prairie, Minn.; and Ryco Hydraulics Pty. Ltd., Footscray, Australia; agree on why such technology was necessary so they all set out independently with a common goal — to anticipate hose failure — yet produced three different results.
Algorithm gives hose a high IQ
Sentry Services, which was developed by Gates, includes two components, Sentry ID and Sentry IQ. Together they offer solutions to a wide range of applications both critical and otherwise.
Sentry ID tags and tracks hose assemblies, which according to Gates allows users to build a history and a means to plan for the future. Through this program, users have access in the field to hose assembly data. Applications of a less critical nature may find this service useful.
| Gates’ Sentry IQ monitors real-time diagnostic information about the operating condition and performance of hose assemblies, continuously measuring temperatures, pressures, impulse cycles and more to calculate remaining hose life and identify hoses for replacement before failure occurs. |
Sentry IQ is geared for more critical applications, such as mining and offshore rigs and, with the help of a mathematical algorithm, can determine how much life is left for a specific hose. Sentry IQ monitors real-time diagnostic information about the operating condition and performance of hose assemblies, continuously measuring temperatures, pressures, impulse cycles, and more to calculate remaining hose life and identify hoses for replacement before failure occurs.
According to Barry Shockley, global product manager, the algorithm — which is based upon decades of documented testing, results and conclusions — monitors hose pressure to pick up pressure peaks in the system. It does the same for temperature. The algorithm then identifies wear and tear on the hose caused by each pressure peak and temperature spike, resulting in a calculation of remaining hose life.
“Sentry IQ actually looks at application details and puts them in an algorithm so the user can go online and look in a database to see how much life is left,” Shockley says. “It allows the user to become more predictive.”
The service does not warn of damage caused by abrasion, abuse, climate or other external conditions, so Gates recommends continuing regular on-site inspections.
“This is something completely different for Gates. What we are offering here isn’t a specific product. This service is helping people monitor their hose assets, whether standard or critical assets.”
Up to four sensors can be monitored through this system and each sensor can monitor up to six hoses. Sensors can handle pressures up to 8000 psi and temperatures to 250°F. According to Shockley, Sentry services are available for both hydraulic industrial and mobile equipment hoses. “We don’t limit this technology to any specific type of hose or to only hoses that we manufacture,” he indicates.
Environmental conditions’ impact
Like Gates’ program, Ryco’s Hose Assembly Lifespan Predictor (HALP) combines a computer program and visual inspection. HALP uses hose and application conditions and environment to generate a life span for a particular hose. It determines when a hose assembly’s theoretical life has been consumed and recommends replacement, says Sean Babbage, product marketing manager at Ryco.
“When the system is installed, Ryco Hydraulics personnel audit the application and compare the environment with similar known environments,” Babbage says. “The known environmental conditions of a mine, such as pH levels, working fluids, temperatures (environmental and fluid), abrasion, style of hose, twisting, bending and routing are then entered.” Babbage says that HALP covers all RYCO high- and low-pressure hose products.
A completely different concept
Unlike Gates and Ryco, Eaton’s LifeSense system does not estimate or predict through arithmetic calculations when a hose is going to fail. Instead, it actually detects when a hose is nearing the end of its useful life. Then an alert is sent to the user so that the assembly can be replaced to prevent downtime. A single monitoring unit can handle input from multiple hose assemblies.
| Eaton Corp.’s LifeSense Technology continuously monitors the health of hydraulic hose assemblies and alerts users when an assembly approaches the end of its useful life. |
LifeSense is included within the body of the hose, using sensing technology and electronic monitoring to gauge hose materials and whether or not they are still healthy, says Doug Jahnke, Eaton’s product marketing manager.
Currently, this technology is available for use with factory-made assemblies with straight JIC swivel fittings in 1/2-, 3/4-, and 1-in. sizes of two-wire braid hose.
“The system includes a new hose incorporating at least one conductor in its construction, a special end fitting that serves as both a hydraulic and an electrical connector, and a diagnostic unit containing the monitoring electronics and operator notification interface,” says Jahnke.
According to lab results comparing the use of LifeSense and a traditional estimation of hose life, Eaton’s research supports that use of this technology will provide “a 50+% extension of useful life.”
Technological updates reduce cost, maintenance inspections
When it comes to cost reduction, Eaton believes that this technology will offer results for every application. “The greatest initial opportunities will be found in offshore equipment, industrial machinery, and renewable energy equipment, where the cost of both downtime and clean up is extremely high,” says Jahnke.
Although all of the technologies mentioned above can provide comprehensive details regarding a particular hydraulic hose and its environment they do not eliminate the need for visual inspections, in the opinions of Gates and Ryco.
As Gates’s puts it, their technology looks at the hose from the “inside out. It doesn’t replace physical inspection and we recognize that a lot of failures occur due to external factors,” Shockley says.
Eaton, on the other hand, believes that their technology “will largely eliminate the need for the visual inspection of hoses.”
While each company produced very different products, all three technologies offer unique solutions to an ever-present problem.
Web exclusive: Video on Eaton's LifeSense hoseWeb exclusive: Video on Gates' Sentry Services