Suppliers of hydraulic hose assemblies will face this common scenario: An end-user brings in a worn-out hydraulic hose to be replaced, but the couplings needed for this particular size hose are out of stock, back ordered or the store doesn’t stock the couplings needed to replicate the original hose assembly. However, you do stock the correct couplings in a smaller hose size inside diameter (ID).
The logical solution might be to rebuild the hose assembly using the smaller size hydraulic hose with a jump-size fitting. Though this may seem like a harmless solution, replacing a hose assembly with a smaller hose size than what was designed for that hydraulic system could cause unintended harm and create inefficiency to the equipment.
What is affected when you replace a hose with the incorrect hose size?
Flow is the movement of fluid and is broken down into two categories: flow rate and flow velocity. Flow rate is the volume of hydraulic fluid produced by the hydraulic pump over a specific amount of time and is commonly measured using gallons per minute or GPM. Flow velocity is the speed at which hydraulic fluid travels in a certain direction over a specific amount of time and is measured using feet per second.
Flow velocity is determined by both the hydraulic pump’s flow rate and the hydraulic hose size. Changing the flow rate of the hydraulic pump but leaving the hydraulic hose size the same will affect flow velocity. In contrast, keeping the flow rate the same but changing the hose size will affect flow velocity.
Flow velocity is an important consideration when replacing a larger hydraulic hose ID with a smaller hydraulic hose ID. When an existing hydraulic hose is replaced with a new hydraulic hose that has a smaller ID, the same amount of fluid that was flowing through the original, larger hydraulic hose is now forced through the new, smaller hose. This will restrict flow and increase downstream pressure, thus causing flow velocity to increase.
In some situations, this might not be a problem, so it is important to properly analyze the situation. An easy option to avoid this problem is to size up to the next larger hose size. However, larger hoses usually come at a higher price, plus larger hoses take up space and could even decrease the customer’s equipment performance.
Why can high flow velocity be undesirable for a hydraulic system?
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