The hydraulic pump is one of the most important components of the hydraulic system, so naturally you want it to last as long as possible. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to predict exactly how many years of service life you will get out of a particular type or model of pump, because pump performance can vary greatly depending upon the operational conditions within the system. However, you can help to maximize the service life of your hydraulic pump with these three tips.
First and foremost, it is important to avoid operating your pump close to or beyond its maximum allowances for system pressure, flow rate and temperature. Excessive pressure is especially damaging. During normal operation, various pump parts are subject to cyclic loads which, over time, can begin to generate microscopic cracks that can eventually grow until the part actually breaks. This process is called material fatigue, and the speed of its onset and advancement is directly linked to the proximity of the operational pressure to the pump’s maximum load. Material fatigue on the bearings is a particular concern, as when bearings wear out the drive shaft and other internal parts are then forced to bear unintended stress. Excessive RPMs are also a problem, as constant work at or near maximum RPM that results in fluid traveling through the pump at high flow rates can increase the risks of cavitation damage.
It is also vital to use the right hydraulic fluid for your operational conditions. It is especially important to ensure that the fluid’s viscosity is properly matched to the pump’s operating temperature. The correct fluid will provide all necessary lubrication, but if temperature, humidity, or pollution changes occur, the fluid may lose its effectiveness. This can create all kinds of problems in the pump as well as in other parts of the hydraulic system.
One final step you can take to prolong the service life of your hydraulic pump is to keep up with your routine maintenance, most importantly fluid and filter changes. This helps to ensure contaminants like water, air bubbles, and tiny particles of dirt or metal are not allowed to continue circulating through the pump and therefore not allowed to continue to cause damage to the various components in the hydraulic system.
If you would like help selecting the best hydraulic pump for your equipment and/or caring for your hydraulic pump, please contact Bernell Hydraulics.