A manufacturer challenges others to be more innovative and less complacent in developing new sources of profit THE RUBBER HOSE INDUSTRY is a unique and special industry that l have been fortunate to be a part of for the last 30 years. What makes it so unique is its members—good, generous, intelligent, with an entrepreneurial spirit of accomplishing the difficult and the unusual.
Chemical, oils, air, steam and higher pressures in these applications have made severe demands on hose engineers to design and certify hose for these industries.
Many hose manufacturers have done a great job in developing new hoses to meet these demands. But this has not consistently been the case with some manufacturers in hose fitting.
In some cases, complacency ora “c’est la vie” manner has set in. As a result, little improvement has been made to the attachment of swaging and crimping fittings to rubber hoses used in critical applications.
Safety and coupling retention are the prime requisites, together with ease of assembly. Now i am not suggesting that hoses are not being coupled properly. But i am emphasizing that, in the 30 years i have been in this industry, there has been little attempt to design and manufacture a better line of fittings that will ease the work load of the rubber distributor. Hose distributors are at the mercy of both thickness. The resulting hose was as good, if not better, than earlier models because of better materials and manufacturing machinery. That was all well and good. But unfortunately, the “traditional” fittings needed for these hoses left a lot to be desired and, in the end, did not work reliably or consistently. Some smaller industrial hoses have much less demanding tolerances. The norm in applying high pressure fittings to these hoses has been to use a swaging machine. Although these machines do an adequate job in fitting retention, the overall application process is demanding and labor intensive. Thus, as the hose wall thickness lessens, so does the ability to keep a fitting on the assembly withoutit blowing off and costly delays resulting. Another example is a crimping machine and the necessary fittings. Their accuracy and speed make them a must for any distributor in today’s marketplace. But, again, manufacturers must do a better job of addressing the fitting mechanism to ensure greater ease of attachment. Or take, for example, a six-inch hose. To be swaged with today’s fittings takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes; to be crimped takes about 20 minutes. I propose that we could crimp the same hose in five minutes without breaking a sweat. We manufacturers should be more committed to introducing new and innovative products to help our distributors —and ourselves—become more productive and profitable.