Improving machine productivity
The increasing construction sector, manufacturing sector, and introduction of new advanced technology in agriculture are some of the major factors for the growth of the market in the country. Moreover, the Indian hydraulic hose industry is significantly driven by the increasing demand for dredging from its major and non-major ports. Owing to the recent developments to encourage local manufacturing coupled with the Make in India initiative and the government’s focus on the development of the Indian maritime sector, the dredging sector is gaining significance across the country.

The Indian market for the hydraulic hose is segregated on the basis of product type and industry. Based on the product type, the market is further classified into articulated, reinforced, coiled, and other (corrugated). The reinforced segment is projected to have a considerable share owing to the growing application in various industries such as construction and mining. Based on the industry, the Indian hydraulic hose market is further segmented into agriculture, construction and mining, manufacturing, and others.

The requirement of hydraulic hose for high-pressure hydraulic oil lines in agriculture, machine tool and construction industry is likely to contribute to the growth of the market.

In the mining industry, the hydraulic hose is used in different equipment such as dozers, hydraulic shovel, scrappers, drill rigs, haul trucks, hydraulic shovels, and water trucks. The hydraulic hose provides the required working pressure to different machines.

The hydraulic hose is used for both surface mining and under growing mining processes. The growing mining industry is anticipated to contribute to the significant growth of the hydraulic hose market. The main application of the hydraulic hose is to surge pressure as required according to the work conditions.

The hydraulic hose is used by hydraulic machines to create low-speed torque and maintain speed and movement of the machines. Hydraulic hoses are used for different purposes including the reduction in the effects of vibration or providing the movement gap between two port locations. Moreover, the hydraulic hose can also be used for ease of installation or availability of hose manufacturing equipment.

Selecting the right hose
It's not as easy to make a superior hose; it needs a complete know-how about the materials used. Quality of the hose is dependent on the design and quality of the rubber compounds, reinforcements used in the hose, fitting design and compatibility. The hoses should be able to withstand the severe pressure cycling, flexing, elevated temperatures, abrasion of the hose against the machine body or other hoses. All these have an impact on the life of the hose. Hose is typically constructed of three parts: an inner tube that conveys material, reinforcement and a protective outer cover. Cover protects the tube and reinforcement from heat, abrasion, corrosion and harsh environmental conditions. It is made of rubber, fibre braids, polymers or a combination depending on the application.

Reinforcement determines working pressure and impulse resistance. Wire reinforcement provides the hose the necessary strength to resist internal and external pressures.

Braided hose is typically made of wire or textile, with one or multiple layers and typically used for medium- to high-pressure applications.

Spiral hose, made of four or six alternating layers of high tensile steel wire handle high to extremely high pressures for longer service life on high impulse applications.

Helical hose, coil reinforcement prevents the hose from collapsing during suction transfer from reservoir to pump.

There are many types of industrial and hydraulic hoses – all designed for a particular application or several related applications. Selecting the right hose for a particular application is crucial for the smooth function of equipment. Proper hose selection is the first step in preventive maintenance. Selecting the best product for the application will allow obtaining the maximum life expectancy from the product for the most value. Various factors to be considered are: where is the hose used, what kind of machinery is used, what's the ambient temperature, what is the required bend radius: along with various external conditions. To ease out, Gates recommends to follow simple step to follow STAMPED, an acronym, which means Size, temperature, application, material to be conveyed, Pressure, Ends or couplings, Delivery (volume and velocity).

“Every application demands something different or special and hoses are being developed keeping this in mind,” says Venkatesh S Aiyer, Director, Uniflex.

Speaking on the challenges faced in the industry, Aiyer said, “Considering that most of our customers manufacture high value products, during a demand drop or slump, the first to get impacted are usually our customers and also they are the last to recover. Hence, any recessionary or downward trends are felt the longest in our industry.”

On the basic application requirements, the spokesperson from Gates adds, “Usually in construction equipment, mining equipment and forklifts, where the relative motion among the components such as the boom, bucket and forks, vibration and pressure surges are the basic requirement of application where hose plays important role. Fittings provide the convenience of routing with different bend angles, sealing methods, etc.”

Types of hose and applications
According to Gates’ spokesperson, in high or extremely high pressure applications spiral hose which meet the SAE 100R12, R13 & R15 or EN856 4SH and 4SP hoses are used. For medium pressure applications, wire braid family hoses which meets SAE 100R1, R2, R16, R17, R19 or EN853 1SN / 2SN or EN857 1SC / 2SC hoses are used. For low pressure application, yarn braid family hoses which meet SAE100R3 and R6 hoses are used. For suction application, helical family hose is used. SAE100R4 meets these requirements.

Hose manufacturers have been continuously working on the development of hoses and fittings with innovative features material technologies to meet the emerging demands from the user industry. For example, Gates has developed innovative MXT, Multimaster and MXG hoses which are compact and can be used for multiple applications.

Lack of awareness among customers about a hose assembly may lead to premature failure. 'The awareness of the importance of safety in hydraulic hoses has increased significantly and customers are preferring quality products.

Most of the leakages happen at the interface of hose and coupling, but some people resist changing, preferring local fittings available in market at cheaper prices over a validated coupling from the manufacturer. Gates offers a high performance and safe hose and coupling system, which we insist our customers to buy to get maximum output and to reduce down time. It is always preferable to buy fittings directly from hose manufacturers, which are manufactured and validated as per industry standards for leak-free performance.

Looking ahead
The market is going through tough situations owing to the Covid-19 pandemic attack and the subsequent lockdown. However, with the economy is in the unlocking mode and more segments are opening up; the market is limping back to normalcy. Though this year will go slow on recovery, next year onwards, the market is expected to be back on track. In the new changing market scenario, there is an increased requirement of components like hose and fittings sourced locally can create a better impact in time and economy for the customers. This is possible through producing and supplying these products locally.

When the market is slowly returning to the growth path post-Covid, the new practices and approaches will definitely aid in the continued growth of the hose and fittings sector.