The Importance of Hose Crimps
Hose assemblies are a critical equipment investment at breweries. They’re expected to last a long time and need to handle harsh conditions. The assemblies are cleaned frequently, and they may be dragged across brewery floors and experience other rough handling. Brewery hose assemblies need to transfer your beer products at various stages in the brewing process, and you want consistent performance along the way.
Although the durable hose is the main component, its fittings on the ends are just as important. After all, you need to attach the hose to tanks and pumps to move the fluids from one brewing process to the next.
We use technology called smooth bore crimping to attach sanitary fittings to brewery hoses. We learned this process through experience with our AdvantaPure® high purity products that are used in the biopharm and pharmaceutical industries. It’s critical to supply these industries with hose assemblies that are clean and smooth on the inside – from one fitting, through the hose, to the next fitting – so there’s no place for bacteria to grab hold.
You should consider the same level of cleanliness when moving your beer through its brewing processes.
We’ve seen in-the-field examples of bad hose crimps. In one case, when the fitting was pushed into the hose, the hose liner buckled and folded over on itself. All those creases and folds make perfect spots for beer-spoiling bacteria to hang out and grow. Those spoilers can lead to nasty odors and flavors that end up flowing right into the beer when it passes through, potentially ruining an entire batch. Besides the yuck factor, that’s a lot of wasted time and money.
So, a smooth bore crimp is just what it sounds like – a hose crimp that results in a smooth transition inside, from the end of the fitting to the surface of the hose. This crimping process allows little area for beer spoilers to establish themselves, and if they can’t do that, they can’t enter the flow and affect your brew. That leaves you with the flavor you intended, unaltered by bacteria from your hose assembly.
Collar crimping technology is important here as well. Hose assemblies fabricated by experienced crimp equipment operators, using radial 360-degree crimps, result in smooth bore finishes with properly-engaged fittings and collars. Suppliers can evaluate the quality of their brew hose assembly connections by testing for vacuum ratings and burst pressures.
Another consideration for hose crimps is the fitting material. Some fabricators use 304 stainless steel, some use 316 stainless steel. 316 is a higher quality material that offers benefits over 304.
304 stainless steel contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, while 316 stainless steel contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel and 2% molybdenum. The molybdenum helps the steel resist corrosion and chemical attack, making it ideal for tough brewery environments. 316 stainless steel is considerably more resistant to solutions of caustics and acids, like those used in brewery cleaning operations. The bottom line is that although 316 stainless steel costs a little more, you’ll save money overall. Take a look at your brewery hose assemblies . . . are they constructed with 316 stainless steel fittings?
Help ensure that your beer tastes the way you want it to by keeping the importance, construction and condition of your brew hose’s crimps in mind.