The Top 10 Rubber Tubing Buying Errors . . . and Their Solutions

from NewAge® Industries, Inc., the Fluid Transfer Specialists®

Have you ever ordered hundreds of feet of rubber tubing or hose and then discovered it wasn’t right for your application? Did you experience downtime while you waited for a replacement? Additional costs? The boss’s anger? A headache?

The buying errors and their solution listed below were developed to help avoid this situation. It points out details that are often overlooked and may pertain to your particular application.

1. Failing to check for approved ingredients.

Must the tubing you’re going to use be constructed with FDA (Food and Drug Administration), NSF (National Sanitation Foundation), Class VI, 3A, or other association-approved ingredients? If so, look at the supplier’s catalog or specification sheets for these approvals. If you do not know if the application calls for association-approved ingredients, find out from a knowledgeable source.

2. Not being aware of pressure or vacuum requirements.

Will your products travel through the tubing under pressure or by vacuum? Certain tubing materials cannot handle these situations, but reinforced hose often can. In fact depending on their reinforcement (polyester braid, fabric, stainless steel wire , corrugation, convolution), certain types of hose are well-suited for pressure applications, while others are better for vacuum. You should consider a reinforced hose if your application calls for pressure or vacuum.

3. Failing to know the temperatures involved.

Can the tubing you’re investigating withstand the temperature of the product traveling through it, as well as the temperature of the environment it’s in? Be certain you’re aware of the temperatures operating within the tubing and those surrounding it. And keep in mind that the higher the temperature, the less pressure the tubing is likely to handle.

4. Neglecting to check for tubing flexibility and resistance to kinking.

Will the tubing bend around machinery in the application? If so, products manufactured with characteristics to prevent kinking should be used. Does the application involve repetitious movement, such as those dealing with robotics? The tubing you select must be able to withstand this repeated flexing. And, if the tubing rubs against other equipment in your application, make sure the product can withstand that abrasion.

5. Not checking on incompatible ingredients or substances.

Does the product flowing through the tubing contain any ingredients that may react to the tubing material? Or, does the material of the tubing contain substances that may be reactive to your product? Be sure to ask about any adverse ingredient combinations relating to your product and the tubing material.

6. Failing to know if the tubing will impart a taste or odor to the product flowing through it.

Certain tubing materials will, simply by their nature, not transfer a taste or odor. If your application involves items such as foods, beverages, laboratory fluids, or medicines, any taste or odor transferred to those items could be of critical concern. Also, some tubing materials contain plasticizers to help them stay flexible. These plasticizers can occasionally leach out from the tubing, thereby contaminating the product. Other materials (silicone, for instance) are naturally flexible, so no plasticizer is needed. When selecting your tubing, you must be aware of these characteristics and how they can affect your product.

7. Not knowing whether the products being conveyed must be viewed through the tubing.

Does the user need to see the flow of the product to check for consistency or to note measurements? Make sure you’re aware of the eventual application of the tubing or hose and whether products must be viewed as they run through it. Transparent and translucent tubing materials for visual contact with the flow are available.

8. Failing to ask whether the tubing can be reused to save costs.

Will the tubing withstand sterilization with a specific chemical cleaning agent? Can it be autoclaved? Does it simply flush clean? Can it withstand low-pressure steam sterilization? Knowing the answers to these questions could save you money, so be sure to ask. And depending on the labor and equipment involved to clean the tubing, you may be better off simply replacing it.

9. Not knowing your packaging requirements.

Is a 100-foot coil of tubing acceptable? Or do you need twenty pieces, each five feet long? Must it be polybagged, double bagged for extra cleanliness, boxed, or are stacked coils on a pallet acceptable? Knowing how the tubing will be used can help you determine your packaging specifications, allow for easier handling, and mean less waste. Often the product can be packed so it’s ready to use right out of the box.

10. Neglecting to explore custom options.

This can relate closely to your packaging requirements. For instance, if the ultimate use of the tubing requires that it be cut into 6” pieces, why not have it shipped to you that way? Save time, labor, and cost. Other customization can include special colors, shaped parts, thermally bonded tubing (two or more tubes attached to each other along their sides), printed or coiled tubing, or hose assemblies. Don’t just look at stocked products—know the end use of the tubing and determine if a custom product will save time and cost.

NewAge® and Fluid Transfer Specialists® are registered trademarks of NewAge Industries, Inc.