If fluid pressures power hydraulic components, the tests used to inspect those system parts should also be fluid-based. That’s just common sense. Accordingly, engineers employ their finest hydrostatic leak testing paraphernalia when they’re running fluid circuit punctures to ground. So far so good, then, but what is hydrostatic leak testing all about? From question to answer, this post will seek out a succinctly stated response.
Why Is System Leak Testing Important?
Like any other branch of engineering, hydraulic technology doesn’t function at its best if it’s not fully optimized. All the fluid-operated components have to be functioning properly and hooked up correctly. Moreover, there can’t be any leakage in those parts, for this is a closed system. That means the glands and couplings that connect the discrete circuit elements together must be fully tightened so that they won’t leak. In conclusion, hydraulic leaks are viewed as performance-attenuating weak spots.
What Is Hydrostatic Testing
If leaks could only occur when hydraulic glands and couplers were first fastened, perhaps during the commissioning phase, then a dedicated test rig could soon track down the issue. Unfortunately, breaches can happen at any time. Field leaks are especially common because mobile hydraulics gear is under constant duress. The investigation needs a more universal test rig, one that will fill the suspect circuit components with oil or water. Then, with the fluid pressure under the control of a test tech, a predetermined baseline pressure can be locked down. Now, measured on an external gauge, the needle should remain motionless. If it drops, then there’s a leak in the hydraulic system.
Pump-Tailored Leakage Testing
Massive pressure spikes materialize when hydraulic pumps are working normally. If a leak should occur here, then the entire fluid circuit will experience a significant performance drop. Sometimes, because this is such a dynamic component, oil mists and/or ground puddles demonstrate a clear and urgent pump fault is in progress, so the equipment stops until the fault can be addressed. Oftentimes, the leakage goes unobserved, except for a niggling performance slump and a drop-off in actuator responsiveness. To confirm an operator’s suspicions, a hydrostatic test rig needs to be called in to check out the pump and see if it’s leaking.
A scaled-down hydrostatic tester is little more than a chamber filled with oil. A long handle functions as a cranking mechanism when it’s connected to a problematic hydraulic circuit. For mobile hydraulic systems, which can lift large payloads, skid-mounted motors/engines replace the hand crank. The motor shaft couples to a valve test stand and a nest of adjustable pressure controls. With this gear parked next to a leaky pump, the test will soon track down the location of its leaky interior or exterior component.
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