Getting To Know Your Hydraulic Equipment

How monitoring and maintaining your hydraulic equipment can improve its performance and lifespan

If I were to ask you what temperature your hydraulic equipment runs at or what is its regular operating pressure range, would you know?  Chances are, you probably wouldn’t and you are not alone.  Most companies do not actually have that information or even keep track of it, but it is important to know these things. Having this data can actually help you monitor and recognize problems occurring in your equipment before you end up with a system failure.

Install a pressure gauge

If your hydraulics system does not have a pressure gauge, you should go out and get one as soon as possible.  Then make sure that the pressure gauge is being checked regularly and that the readings are examined to note any pressure changes or dramatic drops in pressure.

Take temperature readings from same spot

It is not uncommon to see companies that check the oil temperature from different places on the hydraulic tank.  This is an easy fix because all you have to do is make a mark on the tank at the place where you want the oil temperature checked.  By focusing on one area, you will be able to have more accurate readings from your hydraulic system and be able to identify any issues relatively quicker.

Check the oil before changing it

A hydraulic system is not like working with your car, where you change the oil after so many miles.  Rather, the oil should only be changed when it needs to be and this should be determined by the condition of the oil itself.  If the oil is showing signs of base degradation or additive package depletion, then it is safe to say that it is a good time to change it.  This will save you money in the long run because you will not be wasting good oil through unnecessary oil changes.

Use the right oil

Your hydraulic system’s oil is its lifeblood so you want to make sure that you are using the correct oil with the right amount of viscosity.  The viscosity of the oil controls the degree of temperature by which your hydraulic system can safely work so if you discover that your hydraulic system is running an extremely high temperature, the problem could be the type of oil you are using.  Your environmental climate is another factor to keep in mind when choosing oil.  By failing to take into account the outside temperatures, you could be using the wrong oil, which can lead to problems with lubrication of your hydraulic system’s other parts and early failure of those parts.

Use pressure readings to determine filter changes

So now we are coming to the importance of knowing your pressure readings.  Many companies make the mistake of changing their filters at the wrong time and this can actually lead to problems with your hydraulic system and affect the life span of its components.  The easiest way to determine when your filters are filled is to have a process in place where you are watching the pressure readings across the filter.

How well do you know your hydraulics system?

Posted on May 26, 2012