The benefits of layflat hoses in mine dewatering

Thirty-three years ago, Crusader Hose was borne of a fire hose division at fire safety company Wormald. It stood on its own feet and became the first Australian fire hose manufacturer in 1985.

As Crusader Hose grew its technical skills and competencies, the company started to develop a wider range of products that were suitable for other industrial applications.

Within five years of founding the company, the bore water pumping hose series Flexibore joined the family. It was ultimately developed with mine-dewatering applications in mind.

The making of the bore water pumping flexible riser was made possible because the company leveraged its core strengths and capacity; Crusader Hose was already equipped with the necessary weaving and extrusion machinery.

National sales manager Daniel Seow says, “Crusader Hose focused on its ability to manufacture everything that was layflat – all the fittings, the winders, the systems – that’s what we do, and we do it to the best quality possible.”

At the time, only one overseas brand supplied layflat hoses to the Australian market, and those hoses were imported at a premium price.

“Our customers wanted to support an Australian-made product. That’s when we went about developing a hose that is made for Australian climate and conditions,” says Seow.

And so through market research and feedback, Crusader Hose introduced the Flexibore 250 series flexible riser hose.

Mindful manufacturing

“I thought a hose was just a hose. But there’s so much more to it,” says Seow, who has held prior senior management roles in the electronics industry.

The Flexibore 250 series is a high-pressure hose that can go up to 250 metres underground. “If we’re going to go down 250 metres, the hose must have the tensile strength to be able to handle all that weight,” explains Seow.

“The key to the layflat hose manufacturing process is building the right jacket for the right pressure, and precision extrusion with proper quality checks.”

Fibre is spun into different gauges of polyester yarns and then into bobbins; these are weaved into different high-tensile jacket sizes to suit different kinds of applications; and thermoplastic polyurethane is extruded through the high-tenacity polyester jacket. This process produces a high tensile strength and working pressure hose. 

Unlike most rigid pipes, the Flexibore 250 series is designed for high pressure bore water pumping. Thus, the hose pulsates during pumping and prevents the build-up of iron-bacteria inside the hose. 

The Flexibore 250 series hose is also capable of pumping more water out as it swells by up to 15 per cent. Users can be assured they will get maximum pump efficiency and flow rate at all times.

However, malleability is not equal to being fragile. The Flexibore 250 series can hold the weight of the pump as well as the water travelling through its course.

Seow says, “Because of how strong it is, the use of a safety cable to secure the pump is almost negligible.”

This is how Crusader Hose truly puts customer ease at the centre of Flexibore 250 series.

Little details such as loops are incorporated every metre through the length of its power cable strip, allowing a power cable to be easily secured onto the hose.

Every component of the Flexibore layflat hose system, including its customised stainless couplings, is also specifically developed to work with and deliver the performance of the entire Flexibore system.

And requests for specific lengths and hose types are welcome by the company. “We are able to customise our hose to user requirements, and we pride ourselves in our customer service,” says Seow.

Thanks to its layflat nature, the hose is easy to transport to mine sites. Its convenience trumps many rigid pipes that require multiple truck loads. Significant time and cost savings are produced, while ease of retrieval is ensured during maintenance.

But each hose will not leave the factory before passing a hydrostatic pressure test. This proves just how the production of the Flexibore 250 series bears down to details.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of Australian Mining.