One of the best ways to ensure smooth-running hydraulic systems is to use the right hydraulic oil and keep it clean and dry.
A lubrication reliability effort that includes selecting the right fluid and implementing the correct reliability best practices will protect metal surfaces from wear, leading to improved uptime, reduced maintenance costs, and longer lubricant and equipment life.
Hydraulic systems have become more sophisticated in recent years, as speed and pressure have increased tremendously. Because of these changes, wear rates have gone up dramatically and the proper selection of hydraulic oil has become much more important.
Hydraulic Oil Selection Considerations
- The oil selected must have the right viscosity and be able to maintain its viscosity throughout its working life.
- Maintaining viscosity is influenced by the oil’s ability to withstand oxidation, resist foam, separate from water, and withstand effects from temperature fluctuations.
- Oxidation rates increase with temperature and as the percentage of contaminants in the system increases.
- The right oxidation inhibitors can help extend oil life and prevent costly changeouts.
- When present in hydraulic fluid, foam is normally a symptom of another problem; however, it can also cause several issues, including oxidation, viscosity changes, cavitation and micro-dieseling, elevated temperatures, reduced film strength, increased oil compressibility, and varnish.
- Controlling foam is essential to hydraulic performance; select a fluid that will not foam in service.
- Hydraulic oils – other than fire-resistant fluids – should shed water quickly so it can be removed. If not, emulsification will lead to equipment failure and performance loss.
Rust and corrosion
- With the right additive package, hydraulic oil will provide long-term protection from rust and corrosion.
After selecting the right oil for the job, the next step is to put the rest of the lubrication reliability program in place. Add oil analysis to begin predictive trending of oil and asset condition; and use filtration, breathers and sight glasses to keep the oil clean and dry. With these solutions, you can start to safely extend the life of the asset and the oil – saving time and money.
Identify Suffering Points
Move forward with LE’s proven solutions for extending hydraulic component life.
Oil cleanliness is imperative to the reliable operation of hydraulic components. Typical contaminants include dirt, process material, wear debris and water. Contaminated oil leads to problems such as wear, corrosion, accelerated degradation of oil, sluggish operation and component failures.
Routine filtration is a simple, effective way to extend oil and equipment life. Understanding, achieving and maintaining the right ISO cleanliness standard for hydraulic applications can extend the life of the oil by two to three times. LE offers a line of high-quality filtration equipment to help with this effort.
Time-Based Oil Changes
Changing oil on a time-based interval is wasteful and unnecessary. Instead, successful programs incorporate condition-based changes to minimize costs while ensuring efficient hydraulic performance.
A good oil analysis program is integral to any successful lubricant reliability program. With consistent, accurate monitoring of the condition of your oil, an oil analysis program can help you improve your bottom line with less lubricant to purchase, fewer parts to keep in inventory, less used lubricant requiring disposal, less labor and less downtime. LE’s oil analysis program monitors oil samples for mechanical, operational and environmental factors that can affect equipment and oil life, and helps you make informed decisions.
Underperforming Hydraulic Fluid
OEMs typically recommend an ISO viscosity grade for hydraulic systems, while other characteristics are often ignored. Hydraulic fluids vary in many key properties, including their thermal and oxidative stability, friction reduction capability, detergency, antifoam characteristics, demulsibility, hydrolytic stability, and ability to maintain viscosity across the temperature range. When any of these properties in a hydraulic fluid are not up to the challenges the equipment and environment pose, they can compound challenges in other areas. Further, some applications or environments have specific requirements, such as fire resistance, food grade, environmental and dielectric strength.
With both system performance and equipment reliability affected by the lubricant, selecting the right fluid is of utmost importance. Working with a knowledgeable consultant who can help you select and maintain your hydraulic fluid can be the difference between a trouble-free operation or continuous problems. LE provides a range of hydraulic fluids for various applications and environments, all of which are engineered to provide the best protection for your equipment.
Lubrication Engineers can help put together a lubrication reliability program for your hydraulic applications to help them last longer, eliminating downtime and reducing maintenance costs. Our certified lubrication experts can be onsite to help put together a program that will bring lubrication excellence to your operation. Get started by finding your local LE consultant or registering to purchase online.