4 Maintenance Tips for Your Hydraulic System
No matter how complex a hydraulic system may be, simple maintenance can have a significant impact on the lifetime and performance of the unit. Whether it’s the hydraulic charge pump, the pistons, or the cylinders, following a maintenance and inspection plan protects your system from damage, helping improve optimum efficiency and potentially saving thousands on repair or replacements costs. Follow these few ideas to keep your equipment in top shape.
1. Sample Your Oil
You need to prevent contamination from entering the system, as it can easily causes blockages and accelerate the wear and tear on the different components. By sampling your oil, you can have it tested for things like water droplets, solid particle contamination, or other elements. When taking a sample, have a designated sample point to help keep testing results accurate. The ideal point for testing is an active return line, as taking a sample from a stagnant source like a reservoir drain can present inaccurate readings.
2. Check Filter Indicators
The indicators on the unit monitor how much contamination is being trapped or caught up in the filter. The system may employ a visual gauge or pop-up indicator or it could have an electric indicator. If the display shows that the filter has reached its maximum holding capacity, it should be replaced right away. If it’s not replaced, the filter is rendered ineffective in protecting your system, as it usually begins to bypass fluid if it has been fitted with a bypass valve. Also, check any forward warning prior to turning on the system for cold oil.
3. Measure Temperatures
Your hydraulic system relies on the smooth flow of oil, and the temperature has a major impact on the viscosity of the oil. A low viscosity reduces the thickness of the film between moving components, which causes more wear on the system. Too high of viscosity can lead to a drop in pressure in the suction lines, creating cavitation. The reservoir temperature is usually different from the temperature of the working oil, so using a non-contact thermometer can give you the best read on working lines.
4. Keep Equipment Clean
Don’t get so focused on the interior workings that you ignore the exterior of your equipment. Letting dirt and grime build up on the exterior increases the chances that contaminants can enter the system with hydraulic components that are changed or disconnected for maintenance.
Keeping all of your equipment extends the life of your system. Add these elements to your maintenance routine to get the best of your hydraulic unit.