The Importance of Oil Coolers in Hydraulic Systems

Blog | July 15th, 2019

Whenever possible, complex hydraulic systems utilize hassle-free support systems. Take oil coolers, which are designed to prevent hydraulic fluids from overheating. While it’s true that cleverly engineered parts and superbly fabricated mechanisms help keep system oils temperature-controlled, such impeccably designed assemblies come with high price tags attached. Taking the route that doesn’t incur such high costs, a seasoned system designer instead chooses to install a simple but essential oil cooler.

What’s The Oil Coolers Job?

It’s exactly what you’d expect. By installing a cooling system, excess thermal energies are removed from the equipment-powering fluid. If that heat were to be left to its own devices, at least two kinds of damage would occur. First off, the oil itself decomposes. As it breaks down, there’s a drop in the fluid force carried in the oil. Performance attenuation comes next. Consequently, the equipment powered by the hydraulic gear becomes less responsive and generally weaker. As a further consequence, the absorbed heat travels in a circuit around the hydraulic hoses and valves. That’s a disastrous sequence of events, for the heat now has an easy to navigate pathway, which will impact everything it comes in contact with, including the rubber seals and hoses on a high-performance piece of mobile hydraulics equipment.

Installing a Fluid Cooling Device

There are two conventional cooling fluids that come into service when hydraulic oils overheat. Air is the first cooling medium, which passes at high velocity over a ventilator. Water is the other option. With water cooling, heat exchanger architectures take the place of an air fan. So let’s see how these two options perform. A forced air cooler looks like an ordinary fan unit, except it’s packed with heat-absorbing metal fins and a compact AC motor. A maintenance technician will need to check this powered unit from time to time to make sure it’s working properly. For the water-fueled oil cooler, there are no moving parts. With the fan left out, a metal cylinder channels the hot oil through a series of internally mounted copper tubes. Flowing around the copper bundle, the coolant absorbs the excess heat. Like a miniature heat exchanger, the thermal energy in the oil is transferred to the cooler water.

Although water-powered oil coolers have no moving parts, and they’re generally more efficient than forced air oil coolers, they still require maintenance. Adding a second fluid to the system can actually complicate matters. For instance, there could be an independent pump driving the water. If that pump fails, you’re back to square one. Similarly, contaminants can get into the coolant, and those watery impurities can impact oil cooler performance.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

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

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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