This article first appeared in the Railway-News magazine Issue 3 2023.
Few people know that low-pressure hydraulic hose and fittings products (of a type) have been around since ancient Greek times; however, the 1800s brought about hydraulic machines requiring the hose and fittings we are more familiar with today, although they did not utilise the crimped couplings we now have until later.
These hydraulic hose assemblies (with crimped, swaged or press-on-style hose couplings) did not appear until the invention of the hydraulic brake in the early 20th century (for automotive applications). The need for hydraulically operated equipment grew, especially in the expanding railway industry, for such equipment as cranes and hydraulic cylinders which subsequently generated a substantial market for higher pressure hydraulics and sparked a new demand for hydraulic hose assemblies to fulfil the host of new railway innovations and to be deployed in the manufacture of diesel engines and associated rail infrastructure.
After the Second World War manufacturing companies began fabrication of a one-piece brass hose coupling for use on the SAE 100R1-type hose which became the accepted industry norm. Historically hose companies manufactured just hose products, and fittings companies produced just hose fittings, then separate hose assembly companies would fabricate the swaged-style hydraulic hose assemblies. Although current expectations are that all hydraulic suppliers manufacture a matched hose and fittings range, in the mid-20th century it was common practice to mix and match hose and fittings from multiple suppliers resulting in poor life expectancy of equipment and quality of the assemblies.
This practice continued until innovations in materials, manufacturing processes and a worldwide distribution of hose assemblies made hydraulics production in the late 20th and now 21st centuries far more technically advanced and considerably more reliable than in prior years.
Railway-News magazine Issue 1, February 2023: Argus Fluidhandling - An Expert in Hose and Rigid Tube Assemblies.
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