Factors that Affect Hydraulic Power and Performance

Blog | March 29th, 2017

The moving parts of a hydraulic system are driven by fluid forces. Curiously, that term has a double meaning. There’s a fluid contained in the hoses, actuators, and pumps, but the second meaning describes the way in which the equipment moves. It moves with mercurial power, with understated strength. What about the moments when that restrained power is hampered? In other words, what factors affect hydraulic power and performance?

Hamstrung by the Viscosity Index

A mathematically plotted chart of a working hydraulic system shows the oil’s viscosity fluctuating as its temperature climbs. The “thickness” characteristics of a hydraulic fluid would be linear in an ideal world. Meanwhile, back in the real world, its viscosity changes when the temperature varies. Now, fluids are resistive, so they heat up as they flow through their oil channels. Nonetheless, a superior oil will retain its thickness rating, no matter how much the temperature seesaws. As you’ll recall, viscosity changes are undesirable because they make fluids compressible and equipment less responsive.

Fluid Contaminants

Contaminants worsen the resistive characteristics of the oil. That, in turn, makes the oil temperature rise. Equipment breakdowns and maintenance costs climb as oil efficiency plunges. Air bubbles and water, oil formulation deteriorations and suspended machine detritus, all of these influences undermine hydraulic power and performance.

Prime Mover Problems

Like the heart of an ageing man, a worn mechanical heart has trouble producing enough drive energy. Picture the hydraulic pump and its engine or motor as the hardest working part of the entire system. As a consequence of this work-frazzled output, it wears faster than any other mechanical component. Ageing pumps can suddenly grind to a halt, but their tough design architecture and tougher builds tend to keep them chugging away until they completely fail. A gradual fall into disrepair presents itself as sluggish performance, pressure fluctuations, and thermal issues. Load sensing signals and pressure compensators keep the heart of the hydraulic system functioning, yet this deceptively poor operational condition is no longer matching the pump power to its assigned load.

An ineffectual hydraulic pump attenuates system power and performance. Oil problems are also likely to restrict mechanical performance, for damaged fluid formulas or suspended contaminants are obstructing the uniform distribution of hydraulic energy. Regardless of the cause, a maintenance crew needs to get in on the troubleshooting work. A repair and maintenance technician finds, fixes, and quickly clears up these niggling issues before they become major problems.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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