CLEVELAND—When determining which hose assembly to recommend to a customer, sometimes it's best to go back to the basics.
That was the message of Brent Lilly, director of sales and marketing for HBD/Thermoid Inc., when delivering a talk on the "STAMPED" method for selecting hose during a NAHAD Hose Safety Institute training program in Cleveland.
With STAMPED, hose and assembly suppliers can differentiate themselves from the competition in how they do business. The acronym stands for: Size, Temperature, Application, Material, Pressure, Ends and Delivery.
"It's really a way to separate yourself from other people in the business who are just interested in quoting a product," Lilly said. "You're hopefully interested in quoting a solution."
Using the process, he contends, demonstrates you are interested in your customer's operations, and it is a way to determine what they really need.
For example, it's vital to understand that rubber compounds have different characteristics and operate in different environments. And with the three parts of the hose—tube, reinforcement and cover—it's important to know such things as how the tube interacts with the media being conveyed, and whether the cover comes into contact with the environment and even the media, depending on if the shop is messy or not.
In addition, natural rubber and the different types of synthetic rubbers have differing characteristics. "Black rubber hose that is nitrile is way different from a black rubber hose that is natural gum rubber," Lilly said. "When looking at general characteristics, that applies to the tube and cover. These differences will help you decide which recommendation to make."
The STAMPED method also is a means for gathering data that is important to the selection process. "Most important, ask questions," he said. "Find out everything you can. The form isn't important but the data you collect is. Use this to understand what types of questions to ask.
Lilly also went through each letter of the process to explain what to look for.
Size: While most catalogs list size by internal diameter, the outer diameter also can be important. That would be the case if the hose is run through a pulley or through a wall, feeding manufacturing equipment or from a production area from a big container into a smaller one.
The flanges on some fittings also can be bigger than the hose itself, he said, so that could be important to know.
Hose length is a part of size as well, which can be overall length or uncoupled length. "If you don't get the overall length properly, you end up with either a hose that's way too long and can force a bend or kink in the hose and destroy the hose before it's ever used," Lilly said. "Or if it's too short, you can't have a hose stretcher to work too well.
Temperature: This applies both to the temperature of the material going through the hose, and also what environment the hose itself will be used in, whether it's a high or low temperature environment. He said it doesn't matter how well you designed the tube, if you didn't take into consideration that the hose will be used in cold temperatures, the hose cover will develop fractures.
Application: What the hose is being asked to do is vital and can bring a myriad of questions that need answering, according to the HBD/Thermoid official. What is the type of transfer? Is it an existing application? Is the equipment the hose is going on new or used? Is the hose being asked to do something different than in prior uses? How long of a service life is expected?
"It helps narrow the scope of what you are trying to offer," Lilly said, "and all goes into your recommendation."
Material: At Thermoid, he said some of the hoses are used to convey large bore products, including construction materials such as gravel and rocks. The flow likely would be quite different for small pebbles as opposed to larger rock, and the impact on the hose would vary as well.
Whether the material is gaseous can be important, as well as what the material is made of. The Material Safety Data Sheets can help, but sometimes getting the needed information is difficult.
"Trying to find out what is going in that fracking fluid is guarded like Coca-Cola guards its secret recipe," Lilly said.
It's also important to find out the percent of a solution being conveyed. "Sulfuric acid at 20 percent behaves much differently than sulfuric acid at a much higher percentage," he said.
Pressure: Is it constant pressure or are there surges? If it's gravel or mud, it may clog up the hose. Other factors include whether the material is being pumped or vacuumed, he said.
Ends and fittings: The supplier here must understand the style of the fittings, and whether there are any regulatory considerations for the fittings being supplied. Lilly said such applications as aircraft refueling, military, and food and beverage are examples where specific certifications may be required.
Delivery: Lead time could be important and may impact a supply decision, according to Lilly. For example, it may be more vital to get an operation back up and running quicker, even if it means you can't choose the optimum hose assembly for the use.
And packaging is another consideration in delivery. "If you get a product that costs thousands of dollars to build and has a lead time of six weeks, and it's not packaged properly for shipment, how important is that when it arrives at the loading dock," he said.
In the end, though, the supplier must gather the data, go through the step-by-step process to make a recommendation that is the "best and most cost-effective way, because you still have to compete in the open marketplace for it," he said.