Hydraulics Maintenance: Why Now is the Time

Hydraulic Maintenance HandbookNow is not a good time. It’s a popular cliché and an evergreen excuse. Fact is of course, when you’re looking into the future, there’s never a good time to do anything. Because it’s always easy to identify some logical reason why right now is not a good time to act.

Sure, the future is always uncertain. But it’s a cop-out to use it as cover for permanent inaction. And my observation is a lot of hydraulic equipment users are guilty of this with respect to proactive maintenance. Consider this from one of our members who works for a large corporation which is a major hydraulic equipment user:

“Brendan, having read a lot of your information I can see the benefits to our business.continue reading »

The Problems Caused by Energy Contamination in Hydraulic Systems

500HPU1As I often remind hydraulics users here and in my work in other places, energy contamination, a.k.a. heat, is public enemy #1 of every hydraulic system. And it’s a bigger threat to system longevity and reliability these days than particle and water contamination–due to the widespread awareness and adoption of modern filtration technologies.

Adequate lubrication of hydraulic components and efficient power transmission are both dependent on appropriate oil viscosity. If system operating temperature is allowed to exceed that required to maintain viscosity at around 20 centistokes, the likelihood of boundary lubrication conditions occurring, resulting in friction and wear, increase dramatically.

The temperature at which this point is reached, depends on the viscosity grade (weight) of the oil used and its viscosity index, which is the oil’s rate of change in viscosity with change in temperature.… continue reading »

How to Calculate Ideal Flushing Flow Rate

Contaminated Hydraulic OilThe removal of contamination ‘built-in’ during the assembly of a new hydraulic system, or the removal of internally-generated contamination following a major, catastrophic failure in an existing hydraulic system, is commonly known as flushing.

This type of flushing is usually carried out with a dedicated rig designed specifically for this purpose. And while the hydraulic oil to be used in the system can be used as the flushing fluid, it is often the case that an alternative, lower viscosity fluid with no expensive additives is used instead.

For maximum effectiveness, the flushing process must be carried out in both directions with the flushing fluid heated to a temperature of ~60°C (140°F) and with turbulent flow.… continue reading »