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  • Writer's pictureBarry Michael Aldridge

A Flotec Story | Railtec Hydrostatic Hose

Updated: Nov 16, 2022

Loughborough-based Flotec, is an SME engineering and manufacturing company whose primary function is to supply hydrostatic and coolant hoses to the UK rail rolling stock market.

Flotec also manufactures an award-winning variable pitch fan, encompassing a technology which helps eliminate ‘return to idle’ engine failures for train fleets.

The UK rail infrastructure is critical in transporting both people and goods throughout the land in an economical, environmentally friendly, safe, timely and efficient manner.

As such, a reduction to vehicle downtime is vital in keeping the network running smoothly and to its full capacity.

When hydrostatic hoses fail, trains grind to a halt.

In addition to causing major disruptions to services, fleet downtime also incurs substantial costs.

Also critical is safety and sustainability whereby Flotec continuously addresses these issues through the application of innovation and technology.

The Product.

With a commitment to supplying innovative and solutions-based products into the rail sector, Flotec has developed and recently introduced to market, its own Railtec branded hydrostatic hose.

Five years in the making, the Railtec hydrostatic hose has undergone a rigorous design, testing, assessor approval, branding and manufacturing process and is now available to UK train fleet operators.

For the Railtec product to be truly innovative, it must comprise of new, different, and unique qualities that substantially outperform alternative products within the marketplace.

Flotec has ensured to make its vision for innovation a reality by devising a mission to reduce critical downtime, improve safety, whilst addressing sustainability and environmental betterment.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) was a critical success factor and played a pivotal role in the development of the Railtec hydrostatic hose.

The Innovation, Benefits, and Improvements.

Flotec understands that people and the protection towards human life matters.

With safety being a priority concern, Flotec wanted to develop a product which went far beyond official EN safety standards.

Hydrostatic train hoses are often required to operate in extreme heat due to their proximity to vehicle engines.

The EN 45545-2 regulation enforces strict fire safety requirements to rail rolling stock.

Industry standards require applicable hose products are tested to a working temperature of 100°C.

Flotec didn’t believe this standard to be exacting enough due to hoses all too often failing because of a ‘baking’ of materials from frequent exposure to high temperatures.

R&D ensued and Flotec discovered a way to blend a mix of raw materials capable of withstanding temperatures up to 150°C.

As well as being innovative, the hose material construction has proven to make the Railtec hydrostatic hose a genuinely market leading product whilst addressing incredibly important safety matters.

Reducing Critical Downtime and Disruption to Service.

When taking into consideration the need to reduce critical downtime and delays to the UK rail network, Flotec’s goal was to develop a hose which could last longer than competitor alternatives.

Impulse cycle testing is a process undertaken to determine the durability and lifespan of a hydraulic hose.

International regulations state that hydraulic hose assemblies must pass 200,000 impulse cycles whereby Flotec set a personal challenge of exceeding this figure as much as possible.

After five years of investigating, innovating, experimenting, and trialling, Flotec was able to develop a product capable of 600, 000 impulse cycles.

Laboratory and live-track tests have proven that the Railtec product outperforms all current market competitors, increasing product lifespan by an impressive three times.

Measurements have demonstrated that the Railtec hydrostatic hose will last between scheduled overhauls.

There is no Plan B. Embracing Sustainability and Protecting the Environment.

Whilst hydraulic hoses are a necessity for a wide variety of industrious applications, when they blow or suffer a pinhole leak, there can be detrimental effects to the surrounding environment.

To preserve the environment where hoses are in use, Flotec has introduced a variety of add-on products. Applying Flotec’s XtraTuff abrasion resistant hose cover helps to protect against ballast strike hose damage and provides an additional 25x protection.

Applying MegaCrimp couplers with their ‘C-Insert’ technology guarantees a leak free solution.

Combined with the variable pitch fan which eliminates ‘return to idle’ issues for DMU fleets, making the train engine more efficient and environmentally friendly, Flotec continues to contribute towards green initiatives.

The Future.

Already a trusted supplier to the rail sector, Flotec can supply the Railtec innovation to existing clients and grow additional sector market share.

There is an opportunity to gain business with train/freight operators, train leasing and track maintenance companies as well as OEMs.

Railtec can form part of a wider system overhaul/installation such as the variable pitch fan and accompanying components.

The Purpose.

With the sector being worth approximately £45 billion to the economy, Flotec plays a vital roll in keeping the rail network operational.

Flotec does this by continuously innovating and developing new technologies to reduce vehicle downtime.

With an understanding that safety is paramount, Flotec develops products with the protection of human life at the forefront of its thinking and manufacturing output.

Flotec is committed to developing innovations which protect the eco-systems within which they operate.

The Flotec Ethos:

Keep the rail network moving. Protect people. Preserve the planet.

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