Posted on June 20, 2023

Popular Hydraulic Fittings and Market Applications in Europe

Baneet Grover
Written by

Baneet Grover


Hydraulic fittings are used with hose, tube and pipe in the transfer of hydraulic oil or fluid within a system. Fittings must be compatible with the fluid, pressure, temperature and environment. They come in over a dozen thread type connections and some are more popular than others, often depending on where you live. Every country and region of the world has its own way of doing things. Some drive on the left as opposed to the right, many celebrate the New Year on 1 January as opposed to sometime between 21 January and 20 February and we all know a football is to be kicked, not carried. Or even things we can’t control, like which way water drains — clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on your hemisphere.

But who’s right? No one! It’s a matter of cultural and industry differences. 

For instance, in the UK the most popular hydraulic fitting style is BSP, in Europe it’s metric DIN and North America it’s NPT or JIC. For the most part, each is used in the same applications, the primary difference being their origin and of course thread type, though some would argue anything metric is superior to the Imperial system.

The most predominant hydraulic fittings in Europe are BSP and metric DIN. Metric fittings are actually the most popular thread style in the world. However, some regions such as the United Kingdom and North America are known primarily for BSP and NPT respectively.

BSP fittings and adapters are mostly manufactured in England and used on heavy equipment and industrial machines made in the United Kingdom and some OEMs in Europe. However, metric fittings are more prevalent on the continent and manufactured in countries such as Germany, France, and Italy (and of course Asia).

Metric DIN Hydraulic Fittings

The most popular hydraulic fitting style in Europe is metric DIN which incorporates a thread type that follows the German Industrial Standard and are available in a wide range of compatible hose fittings. The most common DIN fitting is the metric DIN 24° bite type and is the industry standard for use with metric tubing, providing a positive seal and excellent reusability. Some DIN fittings include an encapsulated elastomeric seal on the mating surface for a superior connection. The male end has a 60° included angle with recessed chamfer, where the female is a straight thread and a tapered cone seal seat.  The threads hold the connection mechanically with the seals between the chamfer of the male and cone of the tapered flareless swivel.

Hydraulic Fittings

British Standard Pipe (BSP) fittings, also referred to as Whitworth threads, are the most popular hydraulic fitting in the U.K. and most commonwealth countries-- except for Canada where NPT (National Pipe Taper) is considered the most prevalent. They are also widely popular in Europe and Asia, particularly BSPP. BSP fittings seal using a combination of metal to metal and an O-ring or metal to metal angled surfaces, each having a 60° sealing surface. The two primary thread forms of BSP are British Standard Pipe Tapered (BSPT) and the British Standard Pipe Parallel (BSPP).

BSPT have tapered threads which provide a tight fit between the male and female components, allowing the connection to withstand high pressures. A sealant is typically recommended to ensure a leak-free connection.

BSPP have straight threads and incorporate a bonded seal ring sandwiched between the face of the female fitting and the shoulder of the male fitting for securing the connection. In other words, the BSPP with its bonded seal connects fittings and pipes by joining the external male thread with the internal female thread.

The most common American hydraulic fitting style used in Europe is the Joint Industry Council (JIC) thread, specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and some would argue the most common hydraulic connection style worldwide, even over metric. JIC fittings use metal to metal sealing and incorporate a 37° flare. Commonly referred to as flared, SAE 37° tube or SAE J514, JIC fittings provide exceptional sealing and versatility and are known globally for their simple construction. They are frequently used in industrial, agricultural and construction equipment and are excellent for connecting tube or hose in high-temperature and high-pressure applications.

Finally, Komatsu: This topic would not be complete without mentioning Komatsu, who is headquartered in Japan but has manufacturing facilities in the UK, Germany and Sweden. Komatsu has their own specialized metric 30° flare fitting for exclusive use in their mobile equipment. Other OEMs use common industry standard fittings, yet Komatsu developed this proprietary fitting, often superior for applications in their equipment.

Market Segments, Applications and the Main Players

After general industrial, the mobile equipment segment is the world’s second largest user of hydraulic equipment. Mobile equipment is controlled by hydraulic drives, motors, cylinders and pumps. The primary industries that use mobile equipment (a.k.a. heavy equipment) are construction, agricultural, mining, forestry and marine.
The major domestic European construction equipment market leaders are Liebherr Group, Volvo CE, CNH Industrial NV, JCB and the Wirtgen Group. The key agricultural machinery manufacturers in Europe are CNH Industrial N.V., JCB and CLAAS KGaA mbH.

In addition, the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world, Caterpillar and once again Komatsu, maintain large manufacturing sites in the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Italy. While Deere & Company, the largest international manufacturer of agricultural equipment, operates a major factory in Germany.

Fittings Follow the Hydraulic Hose Market

According to Vantage Market Research’s Hydraulic Hose Market report for 2021: “Europe is the second-largest region in terms of market share due to the growing demand for construction and mining equipment in the region. The UK, Germany, and France are some of the major contributors to the growth of the European Hydraulic Hose Market.” And where there is hydraulic hose, there are also fittings. This of course does not include the vast market for hydraulic fittings in piping applications. Popular Hydraulic Fittings

In conclusion, the market for hydraulic fittings in Europe is growing due to increases in the agricultural, construction and general industrial markets. Hydraulics power our everyday lives, from automobiles to aircraft. Without them we couldn’t drive to work, go on an amusement park ride, ride in an elevator, or even operate our dishwashers. And we wouldn’t be able to build tall buildings, harvest enough food to feed our growing populations or manufacture a dishwasher.

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