This section provides an overview for flexible hoses as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 flexible hose manufacturers and their company rankings.
Table of Contents
A flexible hose (flexible tube) is a hose that can be bent freely.
The materials used include rubber, plastic, and fluoroplastic, but in most cases, the term "flexible hose" refers to hoses made of metal. Most flexible hoses made of metal have a wavy structure called bellows.
Bellows are a piping made by bending metal into a jagged shape, which allows even hard-to-bend metal pipes to be bent flexibly.
Flexible hoses are used for piping in factories and for connection to vibrating devices such as mobile equipment and pumps. They are used not only for industrial applications but also for household gas and water piping.
Other applications include the middle section of automobile exhaust pipes, vacuum piping for semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and sprinkler connections for firefighting piping.
Flexible hoses are used not only for water but also for other liquids and gases. Because it can be bent, the hose can be freely installed. The material of the hose is selected according to the liquid or gas to be flowed through the hose, and flexible hoses made of fluorocarbon resin may be used for highly corrosive liquids or gases.
Flexible hoses are used in a wide range of situations by taking advantage of their flexibility, as described above. The following characteristics are demonstrated in each usage scenario.
Used in locations where straight piping cannot be connected or where intricate piping connections are required. Even a slight misalignment in rigid piping makes it difficult to connect, but flexible hoses make it easy to do so.
When a hose expands, contracts, or becomes eccentric due to aging deterioration of equipment or ground subsidence, the connection part or the hose itself is loaded if it is a normal hose. (Elongation refers to a change in the length of a straight hose relative to the direction of extension, while eccentricity refers to a change in the direction perpendicular to the direction of hose extension.) The use of flexible hoses can absorb such displacement.
When a hose is connected to equipment that constantly vibrates, such as a pump, the vibration places a load on the hose itself and its connections. Flexible hoses absorb the vibration, thereby reducing the load on the equipment and, as a result, contributing to extending the service life of the equipment. It also absorbs shaking during earthquakes to reduce damage to equipment.
Rigid metal piping does not appear to expand or contract at first glance, but it actually expands and contracts slightly due to rapid temperature changes. Because it is a rigid structure, the slightest change in size can lead to loading. Since flexible hoses are themselves expandable and contractible components, they can accommodate such expansion and contraction.
Normally, metal is too rigid to be bent and stretched, but flexible hoses can be bent freely and used as hoses.
Typical flexible hoses structures and features are described below.
As mentioned at the beginning of this section, it has a structure called bellows. It is a thinly stretched piping formed into a structure with continuous peaks and valleys like an accordion. It is easy to understand if you imagine a folded straw. Each mountain is independent and separated by a valley.
Similar to the one-pitch type, there are mountains and valleys, and each mountain is independent. However, in the one-pitch type, the mountains are U-shaped, whereas in the annular type, the mountains are omega-shaped. The feature of this type is that each mountain is independent, which reduces twisting at the neck.
The U-shaped mountains are formed in a continuous spiral shape. The spiral structure is characterized by its resistance to liquid accumulation.
Instead of the structure of peaks and valleys as described so far, this type has a tubular structure made of thin metal wires woven together like fibers of clothes.
Not only the above structures, but also combinations of them are made. In many cases, a one-pitch or spiral type hose is reinforced on the outside with a braid type to create a double structure, making the hose both flexible and durable.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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