The right carrier can extend the life of industrial cables and hoses, enhancing safety and reducing operating costs. These products are structures that surround cables and hoses to facilitate the safe travel of electricity, hydraulic fluid, and data, but they are not all created equal. Some types of carriers are better for manufacturing applications, while others are ideal for oil and gas industry use. This article will focus on how to choose the right carrier to meet any specific need.
Prioritize Quality Above All Else
In selecting cable and hose carriers, the primary consideration isn’t whether the airline is open or enclosed. Instead, buyers should first emphasize the quality of materials and the manufacturing standards the producer upholds. High-quality carriers safeguard lines for extensive periods, while inferior alternatives might degrade rapidly, potentially jeopardizing the cables and hoses they are designed to protect. The importance of carrier quality is evident, yet the integrity of the hoses housed within carries equal weight.
The selection of a hose manufacturer can significantly influence the system’s longevity and efficiency. The Hose Shop, for instance, distinguishes itself in the sector with its robust hoses, designed meticulously to withstand challenging conditions without compromising performance. The Hose Shop’s resistant hoses reduce the need for frequent replacements and maintenance. Pairing a superior carrier with hoses from trusted manufacturers like The Hose Shop guarantees unmatched performance and safety, highlighting the interdependent nature of both components.
Choosing the Right Carrier Configuration
There are three primary design categories of cable and hose carriers. Each of them offers unique advantages and drawbacks, so no one design is best for all applications. Regardless of what industry they work in, here’s what buyers need to know about the three different common cable and hose carrier designs:
- Open Link-Type Carriers
Open link-type carriers can be made from metal or heavy-duty, glass-fiber-reinforced nylon. They’re typically the first choice for high-speed applications, including machine tools and industrial robots. Lighter designs are appropriate for some types of lightweight automation machinery and are the best option when quiet operation is important.
Open link-type carriers are available in a range of sizes, from less than an inch in width to over four inches in diameter. They can accommodate travel distances of up to 300 feet and can be outfitted with various accessories to help buyers meet the specific needs imposed by their unique applications.
- Completely Enclosed Carriers
Completely enclosed carriers also feature a link-type design. However, they are enclosed on both the top and the bottom to provide more protection for the hoses and cables held within. Completely enclosed carriers can also be used in applications that require high speeds and long travel lengths, and they are better for environments where abrasive materials could damage the hoses or cables.
Like open-link carriers, completely enclosed carriers come in multiple sizes. They can be made from metal or nonmetallic materials and can be outfitted with accessories to provide even greater levels of protection for the hoses or cables enclosed within.
- Conduit-Type Carriers
Conduit-type carriers offer maximum protection in situations where contaminants must be kept away from control cables, power cables, or hydraulic hoses. They are totally enclosed, which also provides a noise-free environment. Conduit-type carriers are low-weight and offer vibration-free movement, which makes them appropriate for applications that require fast acceleration in addition to high speeds.
Deciding on the Right Material
There are some applications for which both metal and reinforced nylon or plastic links are appropriate. However, there’s usually one material that will provide a better fit, typically because of its strength, weight, or cost. Follow these general rules when deciding on a material for the cable and hose carrier:
- Choose metal for applications where loads are greater than 15 lbs./ft.
- Choose nylon if the speeds will be over 100 fpm.
- Choose nylon for travel lengths of greater than 50 ft when possible.
- Choose metal for applications with temperature extremes.
If there are multiple materials that would be a good fit for the application, that’s when it becomes appropriate to consider comparative costs. This is the case with long travel lengths, for example. Metal carriers are just as effective as nylon alternatives for long travel lengths, but reinforced nylon usually provides a more affordable option. In some cases, the appearance of the material is also an important concern.
Sizing a Cable and Hose Carrier
A properly sized cable and hose carrier will provide around 10% clearance around cables or 20% clearance around hoses to stop them from getting bound up. Installers can purchase sleeves or separators to keep unlike service cables apart and should also group similar diameters together.
The minimum bend radius of the carrier must be greater than the recommended bend radius of whichever hose or cable is stiffest. The best way to get minimum bend radius specifications for hoses and cables is to contact their manufacturers. However, if there’s no way to get this information, the recommendation for minimum carrier bend radius is eight times the largest hose or cable’s diameter.
When determining maximum length, buyers need to consider not just the total travel and curve length but also the combined weight per foot of the cables and hoses held within the carrier. This measurement should include the weight of any liquids the hoses might contain.
How to Make the Choice Easier
Buyers who aren’t sure which type of carrier they need or how to size it appropriately should reach out to a reputable manufacturer. Expect to provide information such as the length of travel, height limits, width clearance limitations, anticipated travel speed, number and type of hoses or cables, and environmental conditions.
In some cases, there may be a need to customize the carrier to meet these specifications, but most of the time, a customer service representative can help buyers find the right existing products to meet their needs. Whether buyers know exactly what they’re looking for or just have an intended application in mind, they should start the search on the right foot by contacting a reputable manufacturer as soon as possible.