At Asset Plumbing Solutions we know first hand the importance of being proactive instead of reactive, resulting in huge cost benefits.
The Powerful Impact of Preventive Maintenance
The best way to avoid the substantial expenses and headaches associated with unscheduled maintenance is to take measures to prevent them.
Avoiding System Shutdown
How to Avoid the Effects of Contamination
Importance of Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics
Prevent corrosion – Ongoing System Care & Maintenance
Hydraulic fluid lines are the arteries of the hydraulic system. The fluids may be typical petroleum based mineral oils, synthetic fluids, fire-resistant fluids or special biodegradable fluids.
There are four primary considerations when it comes to the fluid to ensure the optimal service life of a hydraulic system:
Most hydraulic system temperatures range from 110 to 150°F. There are some specialty hydraulic fluids that can operate at temperatures up to 250°F.
Even new systems can have contamination in the lines. It is critical to clean a new system before putting it into service, in order to prevent contamination from the beginning.
Even new fluid can easily become contaminated. It is important to store new fluids in an isolated clean environment in dedicated containers. In systems considered critical use quick-acting
Some manufacturers recommend a 10-point check of a hydraulic system as part of the regular preventive monitoring:
- Inspect filters, fill screens and breather caps.
- Check fluid levels. If adding oil, do not mix with other oils. It is essential to use the same brand of oil and equal viscosity grade the system is currently running.
- Check system temperature, ideally with built-in thermometers. You can also use handheld infrared detectors if they are on hand. Again, follow the OEM recommendations for temperature range. If the temperatures are above the limit, check the cooler operation and settings of the relief valves.
- Check pressure differential gauges or filter indicators, or both.
- Visually inspect the inside of the reservoir for signs of aeration (via the fill hole using a flashlight). Aeration is a condition in which discrete bubbles of air are carried along in the stream of oil as it enters the pump. Visual signs of aeration in the reservoir are generally foaming or small whirlpools taking small gulps of air into the suction strainer. Aeration can be caused by a variety of situations; one primary cause is accidental ingesting of air. If the pump is taking on air, the system may make a gargling sound.
- Visually inspect pipes, hoses and pipe connections for leaks or cracks. Leaking of hydraulic fluid is uncommon. Without maintaining proper fluid levels, a system can overheat and cause permanent damage.
- Listen for potential cavitation in the pumps (the formation of bubbles in the fluid). This can happen when air is released from the hydraulic oil when there is depressurization at the pump suction. It can then implode on metal surfaces when discharging. Should this happen, the pump will give a high-pitched type whining noise. If it is not stopped immediately it can permanently damage the pump. The installation of a vacuum gauge on the suction side of the pump with equalized pressure, as detailed by the pump manufacturer, can alleviate this catastrophic problem.
- Check servo valves with an infrared thermometer. If the temperature is over 150° the valve is likely sticking.
- Use an infrared thermometer to check the rotor bearing temperatures and hot spots in electric motors.
- Take a small sample of fluid and inspect it for colour, odour, and any indication of contamination. Though visual inspections are limited and will only identify excess contamination, it is still a very important step.
Preventive Maintenance Reduces Failures
As discussed, optimum preventive maintenance starts with quality test-point fittings and components that provide leak-proof connections before the ball check is open to minimize contamination and have self-locking metal caps to protect the system. Having test points installed along the hydraulic system lines allows for regular, quick, and accurate testing of system pressure and other variables critical to the health of the system.
Regular monitoring of system performance, analysis of fluid, and scheduled fluid changeover are the keys to a long service life of equipment and components. Otherwise, unplanned, and more-frequent equipment shut-downs that are far costlier than the preventive measures will likely occur.
Keep a variety of test point kits on hand that include all styles of connections, test hoses, couplings, pressure gauges, gauge adapters, plugs, and probes required for the various off-road or industrial equipment you have in service.
At Asset Plumbing Solutions we are Sydney Strata specialist and preventative maintenance professionals. Call us today to see what we can do for you!