Exploring New Options for Hose Assembly Services
Hose Assembly Services
Hydraulic hose assemblies are among the highest maintenance concerns for many operation, whether mobile equipment or industrial machinery. Beside the actual cost of a replacement assembly, there are costs of operational downtime. Surprisingly, many technicians who fabricated hoses are not well trained to insure fabrication of a standard hose assembly. Therefore, you may be at risk by trusting the life of your equipment in the hands of the wrong technician. By investing in a crimping machine, you will eliminate all costs and risks and produce standard factory-quality hose assemblies. With modern, easy-to-operate, low-maintenance, and affordable crimpers it is now a necessity to invest in an on-site hose-crimping machine. Typical portable crimpers cost from $3000 to $7,000, while bench-mounted versions range from $4,000 to $12,000. With suppliers offering payment plans and 1 to 2 years warranty on the machine.
Before taking out your cheque book, you need to become familiar with the crimper options in your market and decide which would be suitable to your application. Many types of hose crimpers are available, both portable and bench-mounted with varying power supply, including hand, battery-powered, electric, and pneumatic pumps. The hose sizes, quantities of the assemblies, and the types of fittings will determine the size of the machine. The location of your workshop must also be considered.
Portable vs. Bench-mount
Portable crimpers are powered by hand pump or DC battery (12V or 24V). They can weight anywhere from 55-88kg. Portable crimpers come with smaller pumps that will have slower cycle times and are lower in price. Bench-mounted crimpers have faster cycle times and wider application compared to portable crimpers and more suitable for high volume production.
Branded vs. Universal
Branded crimpers are suitable for a particular brand of hose and fittings (i.e. Parker, Gates, Manuli). These systems are a complete system solution, with obvious limitations in availability of local material and higher costs of hose and fittings. Although, they need less training to operate the machine, there is a high chance you will face shortage of material in certain areas.
Universal crimpers are suitable for all types of hoses and fittings, including branded products. In fact, many Parker and Gates companies have switched to Universal crimpers for their workshops.It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out!
Brands of Crimpers
Despite the barrage of choices, finding the best hose crimper to suite your application is easy. Traditionally, Finnpower and Uniflex, were the widely used machines. However, there are many good quality machines made in UK, USA, and most recently CHINA.
To get the most from your investment, look for these key features in a crimper:
• Durable – to get maximum payoff, your crimper must be durable enough to withstand the abuses of a shop environment, or worse, the demands of working in the field.
• Machine Parts – Check the individual parts that make up the machine to see if it has quality workmanship. Sometimes, a simple visual inspection will make it easy to reject the wrong choice.
• Local service and parts – This is the most important factor. Even the best brands could face technical problems. Avoid unnecessary hassle by making sure your machine has a reputable supplier and a good warranty. Make sure the unit comes with at least 1-year warranty. Some manufacturers offer 2-years warranty. Also, make sure there is a local company that supports with parts and services. The supplier should be able to setup and provide basic training for the operation of the machine. Visit your supplier to see if they have a complete range of machines in stock and to show you a similar machine during operation. Ask them to show available unit parts in stock. Get some hose and fitting suppliers’ information in the local market. Normally, hose fabrication companies purchase their parts from a local supplier.
You may want to consider several accessories to maximize the benefit of crimping equipment and increase your fabrication speed:
• Cutting Machine – for cutting spiral or multi-braided wire-reinforced hose
• Die racks – keep dies within easy reach and organized.
If you decide to purchase a crimper, you will also need to build an inventory of hose and fittings to facilitate efficient assembly fabrication. Talk to your manufacturer’s representative to determine your required inventory level. You will need to include this cost in the calculations of on-site crimper ROI.
One area many people forget to evaluate during the purchase decision is how well the manufacturer/supplier supports you in training and ongoing use of your equipment. Ask what training the manufacturer offers on proper use of the equipment and correct assembly procedure. The manufacturer should also offer readily accessible tools to help you in the everyday use of your crimper.
Calculate the ROI of an On-Site Hose Crimper
To determine the feasibility of having on-site hose crimper, compare the current cost of going to the local hose assembly fabricator to the cost of purchasing hose fabrication equipment. Remember to include all costs, including down-time, hassles of dealing with third party suppliers, and etc.
To start, write down the following:
– Number of hose assemblies replaced annually.
– Maximum Number of hose assemblies replaced at one time.
– Total hourly cost of the maintenance personnel (including salary, benefits, and all costs associated with employment). If you have technical staff on site, this cost could be negligible.
– Total hourly cost of the individual who leaves the facility to obtain a replacement hose (driver or parts runner)
– Distance to the nearest hose fabricator
– Transportation cost per mile
– Hourly cost of equipment downtime
– Cost of Hose assembly compared to Price of hose assembly parts from your stock inventory.
– Value of recommended stock order
– Price of the crimper and any accessories.
Next, consider the steps involved in off-site hose fabrication and the time it takes to complete each step:
1. Locate driver/runner
2. Provide instruction/details
3. Travel to hose supplier/fabricator
4. Wait in line for service
5. Discuss needs/application with CSR; Customer Service Representative?
6. Waiting time before hose fabrication begins
7. Fabrication of hose assembly
9. Return to shop.
This process can easily take one to two hours (or more), depending on the distance to the nearest assembly fabricator. This is time your maintenance personnel and driver/runner are not putting toward constructive work; it is also time during which your equipment is not operational. You must figure this cost, labor cost for both maintenance and the driver/runner, plus transportation cost (including fuel and vehicle costs) to drive to and from the fabricator when figuring the cost of off-site fabrication. In contrast, on-site assembly fabrication with a crimper would normally take between 10 and 15 minutes of a maintenance person’s time, reducing labor costs and equipment downtime. There would be no transportation costs or labor costs for a driver/runner. Furthermore, you will have a noticeable reduction in cost of the hose assembly.
If all this information is making your head spin, don’t worry. Visit any local supplier hose-crimping machine and if they can clarify if an on-site crimper makes good financial sense, chances are you have found the right supplier. With the number of crimper options available, in sizes and configurations to fit any operation, an on-site crimper could very well make a big impact on your operation’s bottom line. Weighing the cost against that of equipment downtime, labor, fuel and vehicle costs is the best way to ensure you are making smart decisions to control maintenance expenses.