What causes hydraulic systems to come to a crunching, lurching halt? Certainly, there are mechanical defects, breakdowns that can be traced back to a worn component. But fluid contamination is what we’re all about today. Hydraulic contaminants impair hydraulic valves, that’s just an unavoidable fact. Well, that’s not quite true, for there are filtration and conditioning solutions that are designed to take care of these fluid impurities.
Hydraulic Impurities: A Recap
As the system ages, rubber seals deteriorate. It’s hard to prevent this phenomenon, especially when the gear is distributing large quantities of heat. And that heated fluid is under pressure. Manufacturing flaws introduce tiny metal grains. They bind with the rubber particles to create a suspended cloud of floating debris. At this point, we can’t help wondering what effect this substance is having on the hydraulic parts. Take a look at this list of system-impairing factors:
In no-nonsense terms, the equipment is going to get hot, it’ll wear faster, and component failure is likely.
Hydraulic Valve Filtration
Lubrication, an essential valve feature, is hindered when contaminants find their way into their housings. The fine-grained foreign matter causes the moving cylinders to gain wear patterns. As the fatigue on the positioning valves increases, the components begin to lose surface integrity. They simply scratch and scrape until their seals fail. In the short term, the responsive performance characteristics of a mobile hydraulic machine will suffer. In the long term, well, the exactingly bored cylinders will fail. Expect valve replacements every three-to-six months. Preferably, add a high-functioning contaminant filtration system. A return-line filter, plus a clog detection feature should be sought out when those valves are being replaced.
Valve Conditioning Solutions
Of course, nearly invisible suspended particles aren’t the only threat to a hard-working hydraulic system. Chemical reactance is another issue. The fluid medium ages and splits, or perhaps it’s the introduction of water that’s fouling the mechanism. For example, water has a lower lubricity point than hydraulic oil, so properly lubricated valves won’t react well if water enters their mechanisms. Whatever the cause, the hydraulic valves are starting to fail again. Address the issue by adopting a fully realized valve conditioning solution.
Filters actively block unexpected fluid medium changes, then there are bypass relief valves that allow techs to clear clogs without impacting the rest of the equipment. Whole system conditioning methods are, of course, effective. However, embedded return-line filters and intelligently situated pressure line filters are preferred when contaminant-sensitive hydraulic valves are under attack.
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