One of the greatest advancements in hose technology, push to connect air, water and oil hose and fittings, was developed over thirty years ago. This hose style employs the simple finger trap technology to hold a hose onto a barb without clamps or a crimp ferrule. The textile reinforcement in the hose is pinched so that as pressure inside the hose increases, the reinforcement holds tighter onto the barb. The barb that is used for this hose type has aggressive teeth that expand the hose, providing a strong connection even when no pressure is present. When assembling, simply push the fitting into the end of the hose until it bottoms out under the plastic collar. The hose is then capable of holding up to 300 psi without any clamps.
These hoses are available from 1/4″ to 1″ inside diameter with brass, steel and stainless steel end fittings. Brass and stainless steel end fittings are common connections for air and water applications, while steel fittings are available with common JIC and face seal hydraulic end configurations.
There are five specific applications in which push to connect hose will increase your return on investment tenfold.
1. Several Short Hoses on a Machine
If you are working with a piece of equipment that has several short hoses on it, push to connect hose is a much better choice than traditional hose and hose barbs. The ability to custom fit the hoses without a crimping tool allows an assembler to quickly plumb a machine. It also allows the hose length to precisely fit to the application. This reduces the risk of excess hose length getting caught on moving parts, and provides a clean and professional look to OEM equipment. Hoses can also be shortened without the need for a new fitting. Because there are no clamps, operators do not have to worry about getting cut on the edge of a hose clamp.
2. Replacing 1/2″ Outer Diameter Plastic Tubing
Plastic tubing is a great option for air and water systems, but once it gets larger than 2/8″ outer diameter, the tubing becomes rigid and bulky. 1/4″ and 3/8″ tubes can be run cleanly and they don’t tend to kink. 1/2″ tubing never routes cleanly and easily kinks, especially if there is weight on the end, such as with a quick disconnect. 1/2″outer diameter tubing can be replaced with 3/8″ inner diameter push to connect hose without increasing the pressure drop, since the 1/2″ outer diameter tubing has a 3/8″ inner diameter. 3/8″ push to connect hose is flexible and supple, allowing it to route well without kinking.
3. Durability and Flexibility
Traditional red rubber hose that is used in air and water applications is economical and appropriate for the fluids. However, it is not a long-lasting product for real world applications in most shops. The EPDM tube and cover are not compatible with the oil and grease normally encountered in a typical shop, as the cover begins to soften and swell in reaction to oil, leaving the hose feeling dark and tacky. Rubber hoses do not handle abrasion well, and pick up dust and dirt from the floor. As a result, new, bright hoses are quickly blackened from regular use.
Push to connect hoses have synthetic rubber covers that are compatible with oil and do not have the soft feel of EPDM covers. This means that push to connect hoses stay brightly colored and don’t pick up as much dirt as traditional red rubber hoses. The hard cover material is also more resistant to abrasion. Push to connect hoses have harder walls that are less likely to kink, yet remain flexible and supple. For these reasons, this hose is an excellent choice for shop airlines for its durability, lightness and flexibility that far outlasts that of low-cost red rubber hose.
4. Color Coding
Push to connect hose is available in several cover colors ideal for color coding an application. Unlike other hose types that are potentially available in other colors, push to connect hoses are stocked in several colors, allowing your plant to color code hoses by application. Common color coding includes using yellow for air, blue for cold water and gray for oil. Manufacturer colors and branding can also be incorporated onto a machine.
5. Special Applications
Push to connect hose is available in different materials and covers to fit specific applications. There is a version in EPDM that differs from traditional EPDM hose in that it is built in a heavier duty version, which makes it a great choice where chemical compatibility is a problem for synthetic rubber. This version of hose can also be used in dry air applications that can potentially dry out a standard hose. High temperature versions allow for conditions up to 300 °F, and allow for more chemical compatibility options. Types with fabric covers can be used in fire-resistance applications for welding or non-marring covers. These alternative versions still offer the same push to connect advantages of easy assembly, color coding and durability.
Applications to Avoid
As with any product, push to connect hoses should not be used in certain applications. These include:
- High impulse applications
- Extreme temperature applications
- Fuel applications
- Refrigerant applications
- Air conditioner or heat pump applications
- High pressure applications
Downsides to Push to Connect Hoses
Push to connect hoses are more expensive than traditional red rubber hose, with the price of end fittings being closer to that of hydraulic hose ends than that of a standard brass hose barb.
For more information on hoses for your specific application, please contact your local Kaman ParkerStore or branch location.
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