Hydraulic Problems: Don’t Engineer Them In

hydraulic power unitA large part of being “smart” in any area of expertise comes from doing your homework. And this is especially true with hydraulics. Here’s a story from one of our members which illustrates this point pretty well:

“I’m fairly new to hydraulics and I thought coating the interior of a hydraulic tank I’d made with a zinc spray (cold galvanizing in a spray can, like paint) would be a good idea. The idea was fine but the reality was not so good. I had no way of predicting that the components of the oil would dissolve the zinc coating… I’m fortunate that there is little I can do at this point that would further endanger my soul.”

I’m not a fan of painting the inside of hydraulic tanks, period.… continue reading »

How To Make Sense Of Hydraulic Cylinder Drift

Leaking piston seal on hydraulic cylinderSome time ago I recorded a simulation video which explains what happens when the piston-seal on a double-acting cylinder leaks, and it becomes a displacement cylinder.

After watching the video, Larry from Canada sent me this in response:

“I enjoyed your video about cylinder drift not being caused by oil leaking past the seals. But I have to ask the same question as your previous skeptic: why do they have seals? If the seals are bad the oil is going to pass from the side under load to the other side. Doesn’t matter if the pressure is the same or not.continue reading »

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 »