If the hydraulic lines and reservoirs that thread through a powered mechanism can be compared to any biological process, it would be the circulatory network that sends oxygen through the human body. Hydraulic pumps are substituted by the human heart in this organic metaphor, and filtration is handled by the kidneys, an organ that faithfully removes contaminants before they can damage the body. In taking this metaphor to its logical conclusion, it would be accurate to say that hydraulic systems also suffer from breakdowns when filtration is missing. There won’t be any heart attacks or physical ailments, but the mechanism will deteriorate. In fact, it’s estimated that eighty five percent of all hydraulic system failures can be traced back to poor filtration, a statistic that could easily be corrected by installing the right fluid filtration solution and ensuring the component is added to a rigorously applied maintenance plan.
A Study in Fluid Pollution
Environmental conditions affect the purity of hydraulic oil. The fluid is invaded by water and other pollutants, liquids and solid particles that gradually attenuate the viscosity of the fluid. The snappy action of a quick response valves is the first victim of this poorly filtered oil flow. Next comes more obvious issues. The build-up of water and gritty particulate matter accumulates into clogs in narrower branches, bringing the fluid to a standstill and destroying the finely balanced pressure differential that should be uniformly distributed across the system. The result of this gradual clogging is premature system aging, part failures, and frustrating line blockages that can and will damage pressure sensitive parts. Hoses will split and oil leaks develop, bringing the product and its industrial brethren to a standstill. Expensive downtime is incurred, a productivity killer that can easily be sidestepped by using a little engineering know-how.
The Benefits of Fluid Filtration and Conditioning
A properly installed filtration product with an in-built pollutant screening medium represents the first line in system maintenance. The filter is directly positioned within the network of tubes and valves as a sieving device, thus ensuring the energy transmission properties of the hydraulic oil are kept within their highest functioning limits at all times. Conditioning products include the above filtration practice but take the art of purifying hydraulic oil to the next level. A conditioning strategy incorporates filtration, cooling, and hygroscopic absorption practices into the fluid cleaning methodology, thus providing system redundancies that keep oil quality high and running costs low.
With the installation of easily accessible in-line filtration products, upstream and downstream conditioners that deliver a fine sieve effect down to at least 14µm, floating system junk and near invisible particulates are eliminated, but these high quality components need help. They’re designed to operate around the clock, but they will switch to a bypass setting when the filter is full, meaning the component must be paired with a sound maintenance plan.
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