To effectively carry out and continue their core functions, hydraulic systems would typically maximise the features of hydraulic filters. One main role of hydraulic filters is to protect the components of the hydraulic system from being damaged by particles. They can prevent particles from contaminating the oils and other hydraulic fluid that travel around the hydraulic system. As long as the filters function optimally, the hydraulic system can effectively attain prolonged service life.
Given the importance of hydraulic filters, they must be regularly checked and changed to maintain the functionality of the hydraulic system. A hydraulic system typically has more than one hydraulic filter. Filters that are used between pump and actuators are known as pressure filters, while filters that are utilised between the actuators and tanks are called low pressure or return line filters.
Effects of Unchanged Hydraulic Filters
Failure to change the hydraulic filters on time can yield negative consequences to the hydraulic system. For one, it can significantly affect the longevity of the hydraulic system. Components of a hydraulic system can be extremely sensitive to elements. Once they have been damaged by extraneous particles, they can easily affect other components and compromise their functions in the long run.
As the hydraulic filters become clogged with contaminants and particles, the fluid inside the hydraulic system might not be able to enter and pass through freely. As the pressure consequently drops to a critical level, contaminants and elements that must be filtered might enter the system freely. An increase in pressure upstream of the filter can also happen once the pressure inside the system has dropped. Once the pressure upstream reaches high levels, other system components can be damaged entirely.
Unexpected downtimes and unnecessary expenses can be experienced as the hydraulic system fails to prevent contaminants from entering. Daily site operations are hugely affected by the downtime, leading to a significant drop in the performance and potential revenue of a business. Repairing the whole hydraulic system can likewise be more expensive than just changing the filters on time.
The Right Time to Change the Filters
The changing of hydraulic filters must not be done spontaneously. Filters that are changed too early will only lead to exponential waste of money since their dirt-holding capacity is not yet maximised. Changing them late, on the other hand, can easily reduce the service life of the hydraulic system and likewise cause huge expenses in the long run as more particles freely enter its components.
The best time to change the hydraulic filters is when their dirt-holding capacity is already used up. To help determine if their dirt-holding capacity is nearing its limits, an element condition indicator that can monitor the flow restriction across the filter element can be utilised. This mechanism can help notify the operator once the dirt holding capacity has reached its limits.
Changing the filters according to their manufacturer guidelines or hours of service might also be applicable for some. However, doing this approach just frequently result in changing the filters too early or too late. This drawback alone makes this approach less recommended compared to the previous option.
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