A pneumatic hose and tube distribute compressed air to components within a system, such as valves and actuators. Industrial plants and manufacturing facilities rely on pneumatic equipment. And while most of today’s systems utilize flexible tubing and hose, there are many material choices to consider when making these connections.
There are six common materials used in pneumatic hoses and tubing, which include:
#1 – Polyurethane
Readily available and durable, providing good resistance to abrasions. Polyurethane combines plastic and rubber to provide strength, flexibility, kink resistance and chemical resistance with a 150 psi or higher.
#2 – PVC
A low cost and flexible option, this type of hose offers a wide range of chemical and corrosion resistance. It’s good for wear resistance and repeatable sterilization.
#3 – Polyethylene
Good for straight piping runs and is the most popular choice. You’ll see this hose used in low-pressure applications. While it can kink, it is only rated to 135 psi with a limited temperature range. It’s popular because of its low cost, lightweight and chemical inertness.
#4 – Nylon
While it is pricier than polyethylene, it features a temperate range to 200 degrees Fahrenheit at an 800 psi. Chemical resistant and strong, this type of material holds up to repeated flexing.
#5 – Polypropylene
This is the lightest material available and good for stability and electrical properties. Chemical resistant, it resists UV radiation in outdoor settings.
#6 – PTFE
Great for high temperatures, pressure and chemicals. It can work with 370 psi. PTFE is chemically inert and can be used around static electricity.
Understanding How Tubing and Hoses Work
While a hose is used to easily connect pneumatic tools, flexible tubing is the commonly used option in industrial pneumatic systems. But before deciding, make sure to evaluate the airflow of your application. Proper flow can only happen when you choose the correct diameter.
It’s important that you don’t confuse outside and inside diameter, which is why you need to understand the difference between tubing and hoses. Tubing is specified by outside diameter while hose is specified by inside diameter.
Furthermore, the environment should always be taken into consideration when looking at the key materials used in tubing and hoses. For example, hoses can be made from multiple layers of materials. They are manufactured by adding a nylon braid between the inner and outer layers.
Therefore, ensure that the inner hose material is resistant to the oils and condensate. The second material needs to protect the hose from the surrounding atmospheric conditions.
There are variety of options for connecting pneumatics, and most facilities choose flexible tubing or hose opposed to rigid tubing. Sizes will always depend on your application since there are different requirements and sizes for pneumatic systems. Selecting the wrong material can result in shortened equipment lifespan and inefficiencies.
To learn more about connection types, visit Brennan University’s Fittings 101.