To give the hoses their pleasant flavor, naturally-based vanillin, which is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries, is added into the rubber used in the inner tube while it is being mixed. “It eliminates completely the rubber flavor,” says Luca Colombo, Trelleborg Engineered Systems’ sales manager for Italy. “Also we don’t use the phthalates which are often used in plastic products to increase flexibility. So divers don’t breathe the taste of rubber or any dangerous materials.”
So why vanilla? Why not strawberry? Or maybe chocolate?
“This was a marketing rather than a technical decision,” says Colombo.
“Strawberry was popular with female divers but less so with males. Vanilla was more gender-neutral – plus it also better matches Scubapro’s hoses, some of which are yellow.”
Development of the hoses took place at Trelleborg’s plant at Clermont Ferrand in central France, the company’s largest factory for industrial hoses, where more than 300km of scuba hoses are manufactured each year.
Trelleborg and Scubapro have been collaborating closely on the scuba hoses for more than 20 years, with the product undergoing a constant evolution. The rubber in today’s hoses, for example, is 0.5mm thinner than it was two decades ago which has helped Scubapro reduce the total weight of its equipment, while contributing to increased flexibility of the hose.
“We are constantly working with the customer to come up with new solutions,” says Colombo. “Having developed this product for more than 20 years we are now close to the point where it is the best it could possibly be.”
- Scubapro is one of the world's leading manufacturers of diving regulator and buoyancy compensators, as well as fins, masks and snorkels.
- The company was founded in the US in 1963 by Gusave de la Valle and Dick Bonin.
- In 1997 Scubapro merged with Swiss dice computer manufacurer Uwatech and became part of Johnson Outdoors.
- The combines company Scubapro Uwatec today emplys more than 400 people - more than half of whom are themselves divers - in 17 locations spread across 13 countries.
- The hoses have a three-layer construction: an inner tube containing the vanilla flavoring ; a textile reinforcement layer; and an outer cover.
- About 1.5 meters are used with each diving regulator. Some 350km of scuba hoses are manufactured each year at Trelleborg’s plant in Clermont Ferrand, France.
- The hoses, which are phthalate-free, meet USFDA requirements and exceed the ISO EN 250 standard for respiratory equipment. They are micro-pierced to avoid formation of bubbles.
- Trelleborg is Europe’s biggest manufacturer of rubber hoses for use in scuba equipment and the only one of have a continuous presence in the industry.