Condition Monitoring 101 For Hydraulic Machines

Recording a hydraulic systems vital signsMy wife often asks me why I still do consulting work. She wonders why I happily leave the comfort of my office to crawl all over hot, dirty hydraulic equipment.

Well for one, I actually enjoy it. Two, it keeps me sharp. But perhaps most importantly, it keeps me in touch with the issues that hydraulic equipment users grapple with.

One of the things I’ve learnt over the years, is in the early stages of a consulting assignment it’s better to ask good questions rather than dispense good advice.

A recent client had a series of catastrophic pump failures. These hydraulic pumps were achieving less than half their expected service life.… continue reading »

3 Curses of Hot Hydraulics

hydraulic power unitA colleague who works for a major hydraulic component manufacturer recently told me his company’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers are demanding hydraulic components which can handle operating temperatures in excess of 110°C. And this number is not for margin of safety – it’s for continuous operation.

The trouble is, heat is the biggest enemy of a hydraulic system. Bigger than particle and water contamination these days — due to the widespread understanding and adoption of modern filtration technologies.

And so in my view, a hydraulic system running at 110°C is a hydraulic system from hell – figuratively speaking of course.… continue reading »

The Hydraulic Tank: Why Size Matters

500HPU1Hydraulic fluid has a BIG job to do. It’s a power transmission device, a lubricant, a heat transfer medium – and even a sealant, in some hydraulic components at least. And this is why I consider the fluid to be THE most important component of a hydraulic system. And certainly not something to be purchased on price alone.

But regardless of whether the hydraulic fluid you use is a synthetic, high VI, ashless, zinc-free, multigrade or monograde — or any other of the many options available today, to do its job well, the hydraulic fluid needs help from its friends. The first of these, and possibly the hydraulic fluid’s BEST friend, is the reservoir or tank.… continue reading »