I've always bought tubes for my mechanical tube counters from Jamar Technologies. About five years ago I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a manufacturer so I could cut out paying a middle man. Thanks to google, I've been able to track down new suppliers. I got quotes for EPDM tubing that meets the spec of the tubes Jamar supplies (60 +/- 5 Durometer Black EPDM Tubing – ASTM D 2000 3BA620 A14 C12 F17 G21). I tracked down prices for regular tube (.187" inside diameter x .600" outside diameter) and mini-tube (.187" ID x .365" OD). The minimum order size was only 100 feet with each of the suppliers. Here's what I found –
- Hanna Rubber Company: $0.38 per foot of regular tube, $0.24 per foot of mini-tube
- Thomas A Caserta, Inc: $0.645 per foot of regular tube, $0.425 per foot of mini-tube (note – they provide significant price breaks if you order more than 2,500 feet)
- Trigg Industries: $0.72 per foot of regular tube, $0.44 per foot of mini-tube
- Jamar Technologies: $0.66 per foot of regular tube, $0.45 per foot of mini-tube
As a bonus, Hanna Rubber will deliver the tubes in 50 or 60 foot lengths so we won't have to do any cutting ourselves. Caveat emptor – I don't have first hand knowledge of working with Hanna Rubber yet, although Chad Myre has been very responsive. I'll let you know if I have problems with their tubes when I order them this spring.
We use a mix of regular tubes and mini-tubes, but have been using more and more mini-tubes. Washington County has used mini-tube exclusively for many years and I just found out Mn/DOT is going exclusively with mini-tubes. In the long run, we'll probably keep a few heavy tubes around just for doing gravel roads.