Leaks in hydraulic systems are always a concern for professionals and technicians. A small leakage that was unnoticed at the right time will be dangerous to both the machinery and the workers working with it. What makes it complicated and troublesome is the type of fluid utilized, the intensity of fluid leakage, system pressure, temperature, etc… If it is one or two drops dripping in a minute, it can’t cause serious problems. But, it can be the primary reason for future failures, if this small leakage is not handled on time. So, if you notice a small hydraulic leakage in your system, do repair the leakage as early as possible. Else, it will cost you more than expected.
External oil leaks can be detected easily by any technician or operator. This makes it possible to be resolved immediately. But, internal leaks that occur within the machinery or hydraulic system can be detected, only when the system starts showing several performance issues. For example, oil levels decrease drastically, noise while operating the machine, overheating, slow performance, etc… are some easily identifiable symptoms of internal leakage. But, all these issues occur only when there is a large volume of oil leakage. A small range of oil leakage will be beneficial. Because it helps to lubricate the moving parts in order to reduce oscillations and to provide precise control. Some system designs, intentionally design an internal leakage path and in such designs, the oil is not wasted, but it returns back into the reservoir through return lines or drain passages.
So, we have found that a small percentage of internal leakage is always beneficial for hydraulic systems. But, what if it becomes severe, the most common outcome will be a power loss accompanied by overheating and many other symptoms. If a hydraulic system is experiencing serious oil leakage, it won’t be possible to control the system operation. When considering a hydraulic cylinder, it will drift down and this will be directly proportional to the oil leakage. Similarly, valves, pumps and other major components in the circuit will also loss its control, if a large volume of oil leakage occurs.
Wear and corrosion are serious concerns for most hydraulic system failures. It is the same here too. Wear and corrosion can be reduced through proper maintenance, obeying manufacturer’s guidelines, considering compatibility factors, etc… It is also appropriate not to use fluids that are having low viscosity. Because low viscosity fluids will leak more easily than higher viscosity fluids. A blown or ruptured internal seal in the system will also lead to internal leakages.
Read More: Top Ways to Fix Hydraulic Leakage