The Advisory Council that NAHAD set up several years ago under the direction of its Hose Safety Institute is making progress in identifying and addressing issues so that manufacturers, distributors and end users are on the same page.
The council includes representatives from all those groups, along with guidance from NAHAD: The Association for Hose and Accessories Distribution. The council's stated goals include:
• promote and maintain the NAHAD Hose Assembly Guidelines;
• identify emerging issues and critical applications related to hose assemblies;
• serve as a forum for addressing industry issues, providing input to the NAHAD Standards Committee and ensuring ongoing industry dialogue and communications;
• provide educational resources and tools to Hose Safety Institute members and end users who support hose assembly, quality, safety and reliability; and
• identify and engage industry organizations and related agencies that are involved in or impacting hose safety, quality and reliability.
Jim Reilly, region manager for distributor GHX Industrial L.L.C. and a member of the advisory council, said the group is starting to get good input from hose end users. At a group meeting, the end users reinforced some directions the hose makers and distributors were moving, but in other cases they asked questions that addressed issues that have festered over for years, he said.
For example, one simple question was: How long will a hose last?
"We used to say, there's no way to tell," Reilly said. "Now we're going, "We've got to come up with something more definitive.' We know it's very difficult. There are so many variables, but let's work on it."
The end users also want to see some sort of tagging in place, he said. There is a lot of hose in their facilities and just by looking at it, they can't know how old it is or exactly what it is used for. It could be a paper or metal tag, but it needs to be determined what information should be on it and where it is needed. "That's probably one of the projects we'll take on," Reilly said.
Other issues of discussion concern hose safety, including those related to hose pressure. Information printed directly on the hose will say what working pressure the hose is rated at, so end users naturally assume that the whole assembly is rated for that pressure, even though the couplings may be equipped for lesser pressure.
"They ask, "How do you know?' " he said. "We need to figure out how to communicate to the person in the field what that working pressure is for the assembly."
Reilly said meeting with end users also teaches the hose community a little more about the customers' businesses and what they expect from their vendors.
One of the end user representatives on the council is Ken Wyatt, senior compliance manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority's Equipment Support Services Group. While the TVA is federally owned, it is self-supporting and is the nation's largest public power supplier.
The TVA has a fleet of about 4,000 pieces of equipment, ranging from 1,000-ton cranes to smaller fork lifts.
"Being a federal agency, the environment has become very important," Wyatt said. "We track our recordable environmental events. In the past if a hose was blown, you cleaned it up, and it wasn't such a big thing. Nowadays, it's become much more important."
One of the main distributors that sells to TVA asked Wyatt to become involved in the council. He said he was interested because the TVA assembles most of its hoses on-site, does all of its own maintenance and has its own crimping and assembly units.
"One of the things we're struggling with is service life on hoses," Wyatt said. "We do a lot of our own internal rebuilds and do refurbishment of equipment. We will go in and replace all of the hoses. We may run into hoses that had not been in use more than a few weeks, but without some kind of method of knowing that, you have no idea. So we throw a lot of money away by not being able to tell for one thing what the average service life is of a piece of hose. This is a big issue for us."
So far, he has been impressed with the council, and notes members from the committee are in agreement on the issues that need to be addressed.
"I think a lot of people are seeing the same concerns," Wyatt said.