Hose Training – Tackling the problem at source

Martin Kingsbury, Membership Director, the BFPA, outlines the association’s range of hydraulic hose courses, and explains how they can improve your staff’s ability to install and maintain hose efficiently in order to keep plant and machinery productive, reliable and safe.

Hydraulic hoses play an important role in many types of plant and equipment used in a wide range of industries, including construction, agriculture, manufacturing, engineering and offshore. A hydraulic hose often needs to be able to operate at very high pressure. It also needs to be capable of handling extremely high temperatures. Therefore, the right grade of hose installed by a suitably qualified fitter is critical for each particular application.

From a maintenance perspective hydraulic hoses need to function to the best of their ability, with minimum costly downtime. Using the right grade of hose is also important from a health & safety viewpoint. Although comparatively rare, any high-pressure hydraulic oil injection injury is a serious occurrence and can even prove life-threatening in some instances.

With these issues in mind, the BFPA has established three complementary hose training courses aimed at raising the awareness of people who work with hydraulic hose at all levels; from the system designer and field engineer, to the machine operator and the person who makes the hose. The training courses have been designed for two primary reasons; first to raise machine performance levels and further enhance the reputation of hydraulic systems, and secondly to keep operators safe. All courses have been written and developed using the expertise available to the BFPA and set out to establish a benchmark for training people involved in hydraulic hose installation, use, maintenance, inspection and management. Let’s take a look at these courses in more detail.

Foundation Course in Working Safely with Hydraulic Hose and Connectors
The BFPA’s ‘Foundation Course in Working Safely with Hydraulic Hose and Connectors’ is an accredited and certified course aimed at personnel who are involved in manufacturing and installation of hydraulic hose assemblies and connectors. The one-day course comprises a classroom-training period, followed by a practical session on the manufacture of a range of hose assemblies and pressure testing procedures.

The first part of the course looks at Basic Hydraulics, including: understanding what is meant by the terms, ‘pressure’, ‘force’ and ‘area’; flow rates; and what steps can be taken to minimise contamination levels. The course then considers the theme of Health, Safety & Environment, including: health & safety legislation; competency – how is it defined; risk assessment; hose assembly & installation safety consideration and the dangers of hose failure. The last part of the course looks at Hose and Connector Identification, including: the importance of understanding the application; hose sizing; industry standards; material types and end terminations commonly used in the fluid power industry; and hydraulic fluid types.

Hose Assembly Skills Training Programme
The BFPA’s practical, workshop-based course titled ‘The BFPA Hose Assembly Skills Training Programme’ follows in logical succession to the Association’s Foundation Course. The Skills Course takes this basic level of knowledge and trains to a fully assessed level of ability in hose assembly techniques. This two-day course covers the various theoretical and practical elements involved in working with hose and connectors. During the course the candidate is trained to an assessed level of ability in working with hose and connectors.

The first part of the course looks at Thread Awareness, including: understanding how to correctly identify an end termination; understanding the main characteristics and geometry of the male and female end termination along with how it seals for a range of end terminations. The course then focuses on Hose Assembly, including: understanding the production equipment and their associated requirements for the successful production of quality hose assemblies; understanding the test and inspection requirements for hose assembly production equipment; theoretical and practical aspects of manufacturing hydraulic hose assemblies; pros and cons of each coupling type; cleaning and protecting of hose assemblies prior to supplying to the customer; and pressure testing of hydraulic hose assemblies. The last section of the course considers Hose and Connector Identification; including: hose sizing; industry standards for hose; hose end terminations; and hydraulic fluid types.

Hose Integrity, Inspection and Management Training Programme
The BFPA recently introduced a new practical, workshop-based course titled ‘The BFPA Hose Integrity, Inspection and Management Training Programme’. Following in logical succession to the Association’s complementary ‘The BFPA Foundation Course in Working Safely with Hydraulic Hose and Connectors’ and ‘The BFPA Hose Assembly Skills Training Programme’, this course builds upon the knowledge already gained, extending it into management-related areas such as inspection, analysis, identification, registering and recording of hydraulic hose and related equipment.

Key themes covered during the one-day course include: hose life expectancy; risk analysis; competence by way of a robust competence assurance system; identify, inspect & record; hose register – recording of a hose assembly prior to it going into service; and visual hose assembly (installation) inspection check list.

As part of the courses, trainees are provided with their own personalised, attractively bound training manual featuring detailed colour images and diagrams, together with easy-to-follow technical guidance. Also, following the all-important registration to the BFPA database, a formal certificate will be issued.

Authorised training organisations
Continuing the successful execution format of the Foundation and Skills courses, the BFPA is now in the process of franchising the Hose Integrity, Inspection and Management Training Programme to a number of experienced private training companies and institutions, as well as to independent freelance trainers. Trainees will then be able to attend the course at their own site location or at the trainer’s own premises. Some of the larger fluid power organisations have already assimilated both the Foundation and Skills courses within their own internal staff training regimes, and are looking to do the same with the new course.

The BFPA is also talking to other trade associations whose members regularly use hydraulic hose and related equipment with a view to encouraging these societies and their members to adopt the Association’s trilogy of courses as their recognised standard in hose awareness.

Recognised standard
Since their introduction these courses have proven to be a major success; attracting around 2000 trainees from a wide variety of industry sectors and establishing a recognised standard in hose best practice. The efficient and safe operation of hydraulic hoses is a non-negotiable. Book your place on these courses now by calling: 01608 647900, or emailing: enquiries@bfpa.co.uk.