It is evident that no hydraulic system can be operated without a compatible hydraulic oil. For selecting a compatible fluid, the physical and chemical properties of the hydraulic oil need to be considered. But, even though the right hydraulic fluid is selected, as the system operates for a more extended period, these properties will change due to contaminants. This will lead to system malfunctioning and to prevent these issues, the ideal solution is to follow the best hydraulic oil maintenance practices. The following are some of the hydraulic oil maintenance tips for improving equipment performance.
Before learning the oil maintenance practices, it is suggested to understand the common reasons affecting hydraulic oil quality. Some among those are listed below.
Oxidation: With oxidation, the oil will become very viscous, just like a gel that can’t be pumped when the pressure is applied. This issue occurs when the oil is having a chemical reaction with oxygen. The after results of oxidation are reduced heat transfer abilities, promote foaming, and blocking oil ways.
Contamination: Contamination mainly occurs from water, air, fluid-soluble materials, fluid-insoluble materials, and more. This is a serious issue that can result in overall oil failure. The consequences of oil failure due to contamination are reduced compressibility of fluid, reduced volumetric efficiency, cavitation damage, interference to oil flow, localized oil oxidation, and more.
Thermal Degradation: Thermal degradation leads to cracking in high temperatures due to the lack of oxygen. This issue results in losing the lubrication property of the hydraulic fluid.
Demulsibility: This is the ability of the oil to release or shed water.
After understanding the major reasons, next is the maintenance practices for hydraulic oil. Using a proper oil filtration system is the common method used in the industry to protect the system from contaminants. The listed are some of the best hydraulic oil maintenance practices to follow for improving the life span of hydraulic oil and thereby enhancing the overall performance of the hydraulic system.
Scheduled Maintenance: Hydraulic oil planned maintenance is a bit costly and it includes switching out the existing oil and replacing filters. This approach is time-consuming and it affects the system productivity.
Preventive Maintenance: Since scheduled maintenance is expensive and time-consuming, most technicians didn’t prefer this. Instead, they go for preventive maintenance by carefully monitoring the system performance and taking the right decision at the proper situation. This approach will allow a certain rate of degradation, but this will be solved before it intervenes in system performance.
Predictive Maintenance: This approach includes monitoring, analyzing and making the proper judgment. This method is suggested when scheduled maintenance is not possible.