Hydraulic equipment can be expensive to operate. Naturally you wouldn’t want to make any mistakes in operation or maintenance that could add to your costs unnecessarily. Unfortunately, in our many decades in the hydraulic parts and service business we have seen firsthand that many people do end up increasing their costs through entirely preventable mistakes. Here are our top 4 mistakes to avoid to help keep your hydraulic equipment-related costs down.
Clean oil is of course an essential for any type of hydraulic equipment. Many hydraulic equipment operators are so afraid of dirty oil that they choose to err on the side of caution, replacing their fluids at pre-set intervals based on hours of service rather than on the condition of the oil. While this does ensure good operation from the system, the problem is that hydraulic fluids aren’t cheap. By replacing your fluids before they are actually dirty or the additives have been used up, you are wasting money. A better option would be to rely on fluid analysis to tell you when to change your fluids.
A similar problem is often seen in filter maintenance. Because filters are very important for keeping fluids clean, many people replace them based on hours of service. This means they may risk replacing the filters too early, which would waste money on new filters, or replacing the filters too late, which would allow dirty fluids to damage hydraulic parts and lead to increased repair costs. The ideal solution is to replace the filter just before it becomes used up. This can be determined by installing and monitoring a clogging indicator or differential pressure gauge.
Another common mistake is failing to monitor the operational temperature of the equipment and turn the equipment off if it overheats. This is extremely important because all of the parts in a hydraulic system are rated for specific temperature and pressure allowances. If you exceed these allowances, multiple different parts may be affected. Most problematically, the viscosity of the fluid will change. This may not only damage parts but also reduce the efficiency of the system.
Unfortunately, many hydraulic equipment operators ruin important components by failing to prime the system after maintenance. Then they try to submit warranty claims which are of course denied. To prevent this frustrating and embarrassing mistake, it would be wise to compile a list of the necessary post-maintenance startup procedures as described by the equipment manufacturer and keep it on hand for easy reference.