Hydraflex Metal Hose & Bellows, Hydraflex Plumbing & Cooling

EPDM Hose vs FleXprotect Hose for Plumbing and OEM application in the Medical Industry

The Advantages and Disadvantages of using EPDM and FleXprotect in critical hygienic plumbing applications.

  • Benefits of FleXprotect in Hygienic, Medical and Hospital Environments
  • The science behind a FleXprotect hose
  • Identifying EDPM and FleXprotect flexibles

Introduction to the Hose Liners

Traditionally WRAS approved EPDM was the preferred choice for assemblies in the medical and vending industry. However, the introduction of FleXprotect has offered a superior alternative with many benefits that out way the use of EPDM, despite this EPDM still holds in own in building service applications. This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of FleXprotect predominantly in the medical environment and look at the benefits of EPDM in specific applications.

FleXprotect’s Main Benefits in Medical Environments

Let’s begin with the main benefit of FleXprotect over EPDM, which is the Antimicrobial Biomaster additive that is added directly into the tube liner and cover compound. The biomaster protection is dispersed throughout the polymer and will not wash off, providing effective protection from the growth of unwanted bacteria. In independent tests the biomaster has been proven to be effective against Pseudomonas, E. coli, Legionella and MRSA among many other harmful organisms and is especially effective where there is infrequent use of the water supply in warm conditions. It has also been proven to remove over 80% of these bacteria in as little as 15 minutes and will potentially last for the life of the product. This immediately offers a greater advantage over any stainless-steel braided EPDM lined assembly, which is already becoming less favourable in hospitals in all areas from OEM medical equipment to tap flexibles.  

The Science Behind FleXprotect

Diagram 1 illustrates the superior benefits in the medical environment of FleXprotect’s effectiveness to contain bacteria spread. However, there are also applications where an EPDM hose, either Building services or WRAS approved will be more suitable than FleXprotect; such as domestic tap flexibles. The material EPDM is a synthetic rubber that is used in many applications and stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber. EPDM braided hose offers advantages in terms of pressure and temperature requirements with Hydraflex’s bore sizes ranging from DN08 to a DN50 in stock. Offering a larger variety in terms of bore size and end fitting selection that is available in comparison to FleXprotect; these ranges have been designed and expanded on depending on market requirements and applications.

Identifying Material Types for Flexible Hoses, Tap Connectors or Feedpipes

Identifying these two materials is simple to differentiate, regardless of the application they are used in. As shown in Diagram 2 the Building Services EPDM or WRAS Approved EPDM have a 304 stainless steel braid, this encapsulates the EPDM liner. You will see from the diagram that the WRAS approved is distinguishable by a red fleck that runs through the braid, although, other manufacturers will have different way to identify these hoses. FleXprotect stands out with its white outer coating, that feels powdery, as apposed to the smooth outer coating of Aquavend Hose. If you need anything further on this topic or any other technical information, then please contact one of our technical team to discuss your required specification, Hydraflex also offer Plumbing and Cooling hoses in PEX, Silicone, Aquavend and Nitrile to meet any requirement.

What is the Best Hose Liner?

It is clear that EPDM hose with a stainless steel overbraid has its place in certain applications, it offers little to no competition in comparison to FleXprotect in the applications mentioned in this article from a medical application. An EPDM hose is a cheaper alternative for plumbing but is not a suitable product for hygienic, medical and hospital environments, although EDPM will suit a domestic environment better than a FleXprotect assembly. The main factor in selection of hose between EPDM and Flexprotect, while effected by price point, should be the application and parameters in which the hose is going to be used.

Need More Information?

For further information on FleXprotect assemblies or alternative hose liners please call 0845 260 4334 or email [email protected] where Harry or James in our Technical Team will be happy to assist.

Written by James Beacon, Operations Manager at Hydraflex Plumbing and Cooling Hoses Division.