22 February, 2024

Keeping safe and efficient with fluid power

22 July, 2013

Fluid power solutions play an invaluable role in the efficient running of plant and equipment in a variety of different vertical industrial sectors, as well as that of the mobile equipment marketplace. However, effective training in operational and health & safety matters should never take a back seat, writes Ian Morris, director, the British Fluid Power Association.

Fluid power tools, equipment and systems have an invaluable role to play in the everyday operation and maintenance activities undertaken in varous industrial sectors and that of the mobile equpment marketplace. Your business may, for example, rely on pneumatics for actuation, pressure regulation or air compression, or likely couldn’t function without hydraulic tools and equipment such as valves, cylinders and pumps – not to mention full fluid power or electro-hydraulic systems for reliable and efficient everyday motion control tasks. But critical as the efficient installation and running of these types of solutions are likely to be for your business, one theme that should never be ignored is health & safety. I am glad to report that fluid power technology has sustained an admirably safe operational record over many years. However, when incidences do happen, the effect on individuals concerned, as well as the company in general, can be considerable; even devastating and life changing.

Of the many kinds of fluid power solution regularly used in industry, the hydraulic hose is one of the most common. Despite a hydraulic hose’s unassuming outward appearance, it has to be able to operate at very high pressures as well as being capable of handling extremely high temperatures and shock loads.

When a business is largely reliant on hydraulic machinery to undertake its mission-critical tasks, the last thing it needs is for this equipment to cease functioning to the best of its ability, or to fail to operate entirely in some instances. Therefore, the process of ‘fighting fires’ after the equipment has broken down is something to avoid at all costs, and is a perfect example of the importance of ensuring hose and fittings are compatible, of a high quality and regularly maintained. Sourcing the right grade of hose is also extremely important from a health & safety perspective; a high-pressure hydraulic oil injection injury is a very serious occurrence and something to be avoided at all costs.

With these points in mind, any hose fitter or maintenance engineer tasked with fitting and testing equipment for new build or maintenance projects should ensure that the right grade of hose is coupled with the right coupling in the most safe and competent manner. In general, hydraulic hoses are highly effective in their daily tasks; it is only when something goes wrong that serious problems can occur; such as costly downtime, environmental contamination and even physical injury.

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