Oil is like the lifeblood of a hydraulic system. Just as a blood test on a living thing can reveal important facts about its health, a detailed oil analysis can give you important insights into the condition of your hydraulic equipment. By conducting regular oil analyses, you can not only ensure excellent fluid quality in your system, but also gather other pieces of vital information that may help you avoid future problems with various hydraulic components.
Choosing an oil with an appropriate viscosity for your system’s operational parameters is a must. However, just because you choose an oil that promises a certain viscosity doesn’t mean you don’t need to check it from time to time. When viscosity levels don’t hold within the recommended range, issues involving oxidation, glycol ingression, and thermal stress may occur. Oil analysis can be used to verify that your oil is performing as promised and ensure you don’t overlook a need for a fluid change.
Clean oil is very important for a hydraulic system, because even a tiny bit of contamination can throw off the tight tolerances in hydraulic pumps, control valves, cylinders, and other vital parts. Oil analysis can reveal the presence of contaminants including air, moisture, and particulates. This may give you the chance to search for the source of contamination and correct it, thereby improving the performance of your system.
Oil analysis can also be used to identify particulates within the oil and determine which, if any, of them have come from wear on various hydraulic parts. For example, if analysis reveals high levels of aluminum, this could indicate degradation in your pump or converter. Chromium particles might indicate scored hydraulic rods, and copper might suggest transmission slippage.
In order to make the most of your oil analysis, follow these tips:
If your oil analysis reveals a need for a fluid change or a parts replacement, Bernell Hydraulics can help. We carry an extensive supply of hydraulic cylinders, pumps, valves, and more, and anything we don’t have in stock we can order for you.