Wind Turbine hose assemblies play an integral role in the health and performance of your gearbox. Without robust hose assemblies designed to handle the harsh additives in gearbox oils, you run the risk of premature hose leaks, cracks, and failures. All too often, a failed hose assembly is discovered after gallons of oil have spilled into the bedplate or down-tower.
Why is Remanufacturing Hoses Common in Wind?
In short, Wind turbine gearbox hose assemblies are 60%+ non-standard, metric fittings with severe bends and quirky offset angles. It is next to impossible to find a non-standard fitting on the shelf in the United States unless you’ve climbed, documented, and manufactured the components well in advance.
For Wind farms, availability is paramount to a site’s success. When a turbine has a failed or leaking hose and a replacement is needed as fast as possible, site managers are running into long lead times from (primarily) overseas hose assembly manufacturers. The opportunity cost of losing revenue, especially during high wind seasons, far outweighs awaiting a new hose assembly from your hose provider.
When you’ve exhausted all options of sourcing a new hose, what can do you do? In the past, many companies have turned to a local hose facility to have fittings remanufactured and get turbines back online. This is seen as a better solution than a down turbine…. but is it good for the health of the turbine long term?
What is the Standard Manufacturing Process of a New Hose Assembly?
The crimp socket and crimp fitting is assembled onto the hose and rests inside the crimp dies (see below). The pressure is applied at 125 tons of force, squeezing the barbed socket onto the hose close enough so that the barbs on the socket and or crimp fitting do not penetrate the steel braids in the hose. This enforces a strong bond between the hose and fitting, creating a leak-proof connection and reliable hose assemblies.
Once this process is complete the appropriate crimp spec is achieved (see below).
What does it Mean to Remanufacture a Hose and Why We STRONGLY Recommend Against It
Remanufacturing a hose requires you to cut off the crimp shell and re-crimp a new hose onto the existing fitting and barbs (barbs shown below).
When a new hose is crimped to manufacturer’s specification, the combined socket, and hose barb bites onto the circumference of the hose at 125 tons of force (roughly 5000 PSI per Parker Hannifin’s Hose Products Catalog). The crimp fitting is meant to be used once – at 125 tons of pressure, you’re crimping the fitting with tremendous force.
By reusing a crimp fitting, the barb can be compromised during the crimping process in addition to fitting wear and tear while it’s in use. In the short term, your hose might perform fine. Long term, there is a high likelihood of premature failure, leaks, or complete detachment of hose and fitting.
Between oil clean-up costs ranging from $5,000-10,000 dollars and the lost revenue from turbine downtime, the long-term ROI of replacing your hose assembly with a new assembly is the best and the right choice.
How to Identify a Remanufactured Hose Assembly
It is critical to spot remanufactured hoses before installing a hose assembly in your turbine. The risk of unscheduled downtime, oil clean up and oil replacement are not worth the risky Quick Fix.
Refer to the picture below of a remanufactured hose assembly. Do you notice how the crimp socket is Chromate plated and the bent tube fitting is not Chromate plated and painted with a rust-free primer? This is a telltale sign of a reused fitting.
Solutions to Sourcing New Hose Assemblies Quickly
We recommend sourcing new hose assemblies that prevent unplanned down-time and are designed to handle the unique challenges seen with Wind Turbine gearbox oil. For more on that, read our Blog series on Wind Gearbox Hoses Here: 5 Reasons Why Wind Hoses Matter, 4 Reasons Why Your Hose Assemblies Fail, and How Kurz Has Fixed Gearbox Hose Issues.
In short, your hoses should:
- Have lab-tested and confirmed oil compatibility with the Hose inner tube.
- Withstand the heat and temperature demands of your oil provider for your gearbox system.
- Have a minimum bend radius spec that’s suitable for the distinctive routing of wind turbine gearbox hoses.
Kurz Wind invested 18-months to understand the difficult challenges and demands of Wind Turbine gearbox hoses. We stock all non-standard hose and fittings right here in the United States. We understand the needs of your turbines and the importance of downtime. As a US-based manufacturer of hose and fittings, our goal is to ship you hose assemblies within 24 hours to help you get that turbine back into service.
When in need of a hose assembly, we’re happy to support your site’s efforts in strengthening the American Industry and furthering the growth of Wind.