Hoses stretch beyond heat and horticulture
Most people never think about hoses.
Go on, admit it.
Or, if they do, their thoughts turn to the everyday garden hose or (at a stretch) the type fire fighters use when battling a blaze. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all know how useful garden hoses are. Just think how dry and unsightly the lawns of the planet would be if garden hoses weren’t a thing. And as for fire fighting hoses, well, you don’t need us to tell you that things would get bad pretty quickly if they weren’t around.
But seeing hoses as limited to battling heat and maintaining horticulture is to make a mistake. They are vitally important in many sectors of industry and we, here at puretransfer.com, are a little bit obsessed with them.
In a good way.
Yes, most people think of Pure Transfer as ‘the gasket people’, it’s understandable why they do that.
We do LOVE gaskets.
But here’s the newsflash: We also ADORE hoses.
That’s why we manufacture our own high purity hoses, right here at Pure Transfer HQ.
In this guide, we’re going to share some of our hard-earned hose know-how with you. Stand by for a twisty-turny journey through hoses, as we examine what high purity hoses are, what they do, why picking the right one for the job is essential and what can happen when a hose installation goes wrong.
Is everyone comfortable?
Off we go…
BACK TO BASICS
Let’s get technical for a moment.
When we say ‘Hose’, what we actually mean is high purity hose assemblies – which, you’ll agree, is a bit of a mouthful. Let’s cover some of the basics:
Where are high purity hoses used?
At Pure Transfer, we’re proud to manufacture the high purity hose assemblies that are to vital within the pharmaceutical and biotech process lines that create medicines, vaccines and biologics.
Our hoses are designed to thrive in these highly sensitive working environments where excellence is more than an abstract concept, it’s a daily necessity. As the 80’s band ‘Fairground Attraction’ put it, we won’t take anything less than ‘Perfect’.
No idea who we’re talking about? Ask your mum. Moving on.
We work tirelessly to ensure all aspects of our hose product range, from design and construction to installation and operation, are free of any element that could contaminate the final product. Falling below a standard of perfection could create catastrophic outcomes and is completely unacceptable.
Thankfully, here at Pure Transfer, avoiding contamination and maintaining purity is something we excel at.
Q: Where are high purity hoses used?
A: In environments where nothing less than perfection will do.
What does a high purity hose do?
The high purity hoses we manufacture, here at Pure Transfer, are used to join two high purity components together. Hoses are used for many reasons, such as ease of assembly and disassembly, the practicalities of daily usage and the requirements of load cells. As a general rule, hoses are usually found in those places where traditional stainless-steel pipework won’t fit or where flexibility is paramount to the purity process line.
Put simply, our hoses are the bendy bits between bits of kit.
It might sound obvious, but it’s vital that a high purity hose is fitted correctly. A common mistake is to put too much strain on the hose’s connections, which will result in leakage. Failure to install a hose assembly in the right way can lead to catastrophic effects, both in terms of pollution of the final product and the financial costs of assembly downtime.
Q: What does a high purity hose do?
A: It provides a flexible connection between two high purity components.
What are high purity hoses made of?
It’s not as simple a question as it may sound. A variety of materials are used in the high purity hoses we manufacture. What these materials have in common is they have characteristics that ensure contamination is not possible. Our hoses comply with many biocompatibility standards, such as FDA CFR 21, FDA CFR 177 and USP Class VI. Not only that, every end connection we use is compatible with the process fluids and cleaning solutions, without degrading the purity of the line.
Q: What are our high purity hoses made of?
A: The right stuff.
When only the best will do
At Pure Transfer, phrases like ‘that will do’ or ‘it’s good enough’ aren’t part of our vocabulary.
OK, so that’s an exaggeration.
We know what these phrases mean. We just hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Trust us, it’s hard work to be 100% committed to excellence. But then if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? So, we push ourselves to excel each and every day, because anything less would be a disservice to our valued customers.
Cheap isn’t always a bargain
We don’t play ‘The Cheap Game’.
No, we’re not talking about a new game show on Channel 5 hosted by some reality TV also-ran.
What we’re saying is we don’t get involved in any cut price races to the bottom, where quality is dispensed with in favour of cost. If you’re looking for an inexpensive hose that will ‘probably do the job’, then we’re unlikely to be the supplier for you. We firmly believe in using our unrivalled know-how to supply our customers with quality products that will last.
We know that it’s possible to fill a process line with very cheap hoses, but we don’t do that. If a supposed ‘saving’ of a few pounds puts a production line in the very real risk of contamination, which could lead to losing £10,000s of product, it doesn’t seem like much of a bargain to us.
It’s simply not how we do things. Not today. Not ever.
The price of peace of mind
We’re justifiably proud of the way our hose assemblies are designed, tested and manufactured. With hoses, as with our gaskets, we have a well-deserved reputation for supplying the best.
Our clients understand that our hoses don’t come with bargain basement price tags. What they come with is a guarantee of reliability and quality, which provide a peace of mind which is truly priceless.
Leveraging our know-how leaves our customers so relaxed that, if you listen carefully, you can probably hear the sound of stress leaving their bodies. At least, we think that’s stress.
So, which hose does what?
It’s not always a simple process to decide which hose is going to be best suited for a specific role. Luckily, the Pure Transfer team has decades of experience in making these decisions. Our bank of high purity know-how is something you simply can’t fake.
Getting the right hose for the job
All too often, the ‘right hose’ for the job is the closest bit of hose to hand when the user needs to replace a failing section. This haphazard approach never works and will inevitably lead to a breakdown in the system.
Choosing the correct hose means a careful process of selection. At a basic level, picking the ‘right’ hose means matching the material it’s made of to the demands of the particular part of process assembly where it will be used. Questions must include:
- How resistant to solvents must the material be?
- How easy to clean does the material need to be?
- How flexible does the material need to be?
The list goes on.
Which hose is which?
Sometimes (even for seasoned professionals) telling one hose from another, especially in a complex process system, can be tricky. Tangles of lookalike hoses can become a real headache.
That’s why we’ve invested in cutting-edge equipment that stamps easy to distinguish information onto each hose, meaning an end to confusing spaghetti junctions of kit.
Watch out for our blog post on this innovative approach: Coming soon!
Share our hose know-how
At Pure Transfer, we don’t expect our customers to be experts in the world of hoses. We genuinely think that would be too much to ask. Although, if you are a high purity hose expert, get in touch, we’d love to discuss our mutual passion with you.
Assuming you’re not mad about hoses, we’ve put our know-how into some amazing online resources to help customers navigate these waters. Our, easy to read, straightforward guides explain the most important things to look for when choosing hoses and what questions to ask of us.
We believe if an ordering system isn’t set up to aid a customer in their choice, then, frankly, it’s failing. That’s why ours is so user friendly. For more thoughts on this subject from Paul Murphy, our founder, see his blog ‘Is Your Ordering System Out of Order?’
Need help finding the right hose?
Sometimes even the most in-depth guides aren’t enough and talking to a real person is what a customer needs. We pride ourselves on a quality of customer service that is unsurpassed. Our clients know if they contact us about a hose issue, they’ll be talking to someone with real know-how.
We’ll happily walk our clients through the pros and cons of various hoses. We can also give practical advice on the dos and don’ts of installation (like when to use a 90-degree elbow), the manual handling of our hoses and how to put efficient maintenance programmes in place. Basically, if you need help with a high purity hose, we’re there for you. Full stop.
If you need some help with a garden hose, we’ll do our best, but it’s not really our thing.
Hose who? Meet the team
If you’d like to find out more about our wonderful Pure Transfer team, each overflowing with hose and gasket know-how, then take a look at our ‘Meet the Team’ section.
If you’re having a crisis with a high purity hose, give us a call. We’ll move heaven and earth to help. The Pure Transfer promise is simple:
Our customers’ problems become our problems, until we solve them.
Hose failure: What to remember
It’s sad to say it, but much of what we do, here at Pure Transfer, is dealing with the aftermath of bits of kit going wrong. We’re specialists in dealing with failures and getting high purity process lines back in working order.
Of course, in an ideal world, it would be better to spot and deal with a problem before something catastrophic occurs. So here are some tips on what to look for as signs that a hose may be failing.
Giving it some welly?
Are you finding that you get wet socks when you walk around your process assembly? Unwanted puddles on the floor are never a good sign in high purity manufacturing. If you need to wear your wellies inside, it may be time to examine your hoses and find that leak.
There’s nothing romantic about steamy windows in a production assembly. An excess of steam can only point to one thing: product is escaping somewhere. If you find the factory floor is filled with water vapour, it’s time to discover which of your hoses is struggling in its role.
When your product or process repeatedly fails its purity tests, it’s often a clear sign that one (or more) of your components may be struggling. Failing hoses don’t only lead to leaks. Using the wrong hose, or incorrectly fitting the correct hose, can lead to the device breaking down and polluting the process line. This usually means unwanted extractables and leachables showing up in purity tests. Getting an ‘F’ on a product purity test is no laughing matter…
So, why do hoses fail?
There are many reasons why hoses fail. Far too many to list here.
At Pure Transfer we’ve dealt with many, many, issues around hoses and, although the exact problem with the appliance may change, 9 times out of 10 the root cause is always the same.
- Hoses do not badly install themselves.
- Hoses do not badly maintain themselves.
- Hoses do not overbend themselves.
- Hoses do not place themselves in unsuitable parts of a purity line.
Getting beyond the blame game
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not in the blame game. There’s really very little point.
What we like to do is get to the bottom of problems, meaning that the customers involved can learn from their situation so that, hopefully, the central issue doesn’t arise again.
Over the years we’ve learned to tread carefully, to avoid pointing fingers and to use a lot of tact. We find a non-confrontational approach is the best way to find the cause of hose failures. In fact, we’re so good at not escalating situations we could probably get jobs at the United Nations! What follows are the main human errors that lead to faulty hoses.
Poor or inadequate maintenance
It’s probably best to be blunt. If there isn’t an adequate maintenance programme in place, to ensure the continuing health of a system’s hoses, the hoses in that process system are doomed to failure. Simple as that.
How will a failing hose be discovered if not through a regular process of inspection?
Overextending hose life
We understand the desire to get your ‘money’s worth’ from products, we really do. In the world of high purity however, ancillaries (such as hoses, gaskets or diaphragms) have a clearly defined life cycle. Working the device beyond this specified period runs the risk of failure and everything else that comes with it. Time and again we see companies who try to save money by overusing hoses, find themselves footing huge bills when the hose in question fails.
Incorrectly installed hoses
We know that a hose can seem like a pretty basic bit of kit. You just connect it and ‘Hey Presto’ it works. The truth is a little more nuanced than that. It’s incredibly easy to install a hose incorrectly and you wouldn’t believe the amount of damage a badly fitted hose can create in a very short period of time.
At Pure Transfer we’re advocates of continuous training. We believe that any outlay a company makes to instruct its staff on installing these surprisingly delicate bits of kit is always money well spent.
Using the wrong hose for the job
Although they can, to the untrained eye, look very similar to one another, hoses in high purity systems are not interchangeable. We’ve already discussed the vital need to match the material a hose is made from to the demands of its usage. Sadly, here at Pure Transfer, we often find that hoses are all too often installed within process systems to do jobs they weren’t designed for.
We’ve discovered, from grim experience, that some equipment users, instead of fitting the ‘correct’ hose, will fit any hose they have, regardless of the properties demanded by its context. It can be of no surprise to anyone that this approach frequently leads to failing equipment.
Facing Facts: The true cost of a hose failure
At Pure Transfer, we strongly believe in education.
Time and again we see problems that occur within process lines that are the result of a failure to install, monitor or maintain a piece of equipment properly. We believe that investment in training would prevent these issues from occurring and save a lot of money in the long run.
In the grand scheme of things, hoses are not expensive items. Even ‘expensive’ hoses aren’t going to break the bank. That said, a failing hose can trigger a sequence of events that could lead to an incredibly costly outcome.
Cost of lost output
A failed hose may only have an intrinsic value of a few pounds, but its failure could easily bring an entire process line to a grinding halt. Very quickly a small, seemingly unimportant, bit of kit can start to rack up bills of £10,000s if polluted product must be destroyed. As we’ve said before, a cheap product very rarely signals value for money.
Money for nothing
Time, as they say, is money. Companies soon discover this when a piece of kit fails, and their staff are suddenly being paid to stand around and watch until the production line is fixed. A faulty hose, worth only a few pounds, can lead to employees being sent home on full pay, which could mean a substantial financial hit for manufacturers.
Not only will a failing hose have a financial implication, it could also pose a very real risk of injury to the process line staff. Health and safety is, and should always be, paramount within the manufacturing sector. The worrying reality is a hose at the point of failure might suddenly introduce dangerous substances into the vicinity of the staff working on the line. The effects of steam, hot or cold liquids or even noxious chemicals on a process line worker could be very serious indeed. As such, a thorough inspection regime must be part of any site’s risk assessment.
Risk to reputation
Reputation, reputation, reputation.
A good reputation can take a lifetime to build and mere seconds to destroy. In the world of high purity manufacturing, reputation is everything. The implications of pollution entering a high purity environment as the result of a failing hose could be huge. Legal cases over lost earnings and the impacts of impure products getting into the market have gone on for years. Compared to them, the cost of properly servicing equipment seems tiny.