Canadian Rental Service

Features Products Tech tips
A better hose

Hoses. Every equipment rental company needs them and just like the equipment they are fitted to, they have evolved.


April 29, 2009
By Canadian Rental Service

Topics

The evolution of hoses in the rental industry

CRS13_black
Early in the industry the suction hose of choice was a black rubber hose with a metal helix wire embedded in the reinforcement.


Hoses. Every equipment rental company needs them and just like the equipment they are fitted to, they have evolved.

Back in the 1970s, the most common and popular rentals items that required hoses were air compressors and water pumps, but over the years the technology and advancements in hose products have changed drastically to meet the demands of the rental industry. This is most evident when it comes to suction and discharge hoses for pumps. 

“Back then the suction hose of choice was a black rubber hose with a metal helix wire embedded in the reinforcement and the discharge hose was also a black rubber hose with reinforcement without a helix wire,” says Mike Stone, CEO and vice-president of National Hose and Equipment, a warehousing distributor for industrial and hydraulic hose and fittings in Scarborough, Ont.

In the early stages, he says, there were many unique issues the rental industry had with these products
For example, the suction hose was very heavy, especially when used in three-, four- and six-inch sizes, with standard lengths of 20 feet. So for a six-inch-size hose the weight is seven pounds per foot for a total of 140 pounds plus couplings on the ends, which brings the average weight of a six-inch suction hose to 150 pounds. This, together with the fact it has a helix wire that quite often would kink and eventually break through the cover, posed a problem.

CRS13_award
Thanks to the rental industry National Hose and Equipment has been presented with an award from Kanaflex as one of its top 10 major distributors in North America. Right, Mike Stone, CEO and vice-president of National Hose and Equipment, is congratulated by David Beach from Kanaflex.
CRS13_Kanaflex
The Kanaflex 300 EPDM product named Flextuff has become the rental industry’s hose of choice.
CRS13_PVC
While blue PVC discharge hoses were light, inexpensive and easily rolled up compared to rubber, they are now considered disposable hoses. 

The discharge hose, while quite durable, was also very heavy in weight, especially in the three-, four- and six-inch sizes with standard lengths being 50 feet. A six-inch rubber discharge hose with fittings attached weighed about 130 pounds. “But the most evident issue the rental industry had with this product was its inability to roll up for storage. The industry much preferred a product that could roll up with ease something like a fire hose, but without the cost,” say Stone, adding that there was such a product on the market. “It is best known as Blue PVC discharge hose. This product began to stir the interest of the rental industry back then and started to get popular,” he says. 

While it solved the problem of being very easy to roll up, it was light in weight and very inexpensive compared to rubber; it was not and still is not a durable product that can stand up to the rental industry and is considered today a disposable hose.

“Given these lists of all the concerns that we were hearing from the rental industry on suction and discharge hose problems, it was very evident the industry required something better,” he says. “In the 1980s we came across a unique manufacturer by the name of Kanaflex, a Japanese company manufacturing in the U.S. They manufactured suction hoses, not a typical suction hose, but one we saw as unique and a definite fit for the rental industry so we decided to bring it to Canada.”

He explains that Kanaflex had the technology for bonding rubber and plastic together to produce a suction hose that was made of rubber, but had an external plastic helix instead of a wire one. They used what is called a uni-construction, meaning the tube cannot be separated from the cover. 

Its advantages to rental companies are obvious. It weighs almost half of what conventional rubber suction hoses weigh, it stays flexible in cold temperatures and it is much more durable than conventional rubber suction hose. It is also kink resistant and slides along the ground with ease. Even more appealing, it is priced in most sizes less than conventional rubber suction hose products.

“This is the Kanaflex 300 EPDM product which National Hose named ‘Flextuff’ and it is the rental industry’s hose of choice by its volume and demand,” says Stone. “Since this product hit the market there have been many copies introduced from other manufacturers. In our opinion these products have come close, but they are still not quite there,” he says, adding that as a result of these copies Kanaflex now puts its name right on the product so you the customer can tell the difference.

“As far as the discharge hoses are concerned we were one of the first to bring the higher grades of PVC hose into Canada,” says Stone. The most common PVC hose products in the rental industry today are the “green” and “brown” coloured hoses, which are a lot more durable than the standard blue, but are still considered somewhat disposable and not as durable as the rental industry requires.

“We have been introducing a new generation rubber discharge hose over the past few years called the Durapump, and we are impressed with its durability but the pricing of this product is still an issue which we expect to have resolved in time for spring next year,” says Stone. “Because of the demands of the rental industry we are always searching for a better hose.”