Three Common Causes of Hydraulic Failure

Hydraulic failure can occur through lack of adequate maintenance and damage. The results can be extremely expensive and even worse, cause long lasting damage and even injury.

Diagnosing hydraulic failure is essential to establish what remedial or other action needs to be taken.

Here are three main common causes of hydraulic failure:

Hydraulic lines

Lines that are improperly routed can become damaged through abrasion, vibration, and movement.

The risk of failure due to line damage can be avoided by ensuring that lines are correctly routed using appropriate protective sleeves clamps and brackets. Another cause of line failure can be exposure to pressures above operating tolerances, but prevention can be achieved by choosing lines that are rated above expected pressures, anticipating common surges. Lines should also be chosen in consideration of ambient and operational temperatures.

hydraulic lines

Contamination of hydraulic fluids

This is one of the most often encountered of causes of hydraulic failure.

It has been suggested that as many as 80% of failure in hydraulic systems is caused by contamination of hydraulic fluid, with the largest proportion of contamination being from particles.

Contamination can occur when the hydraulic pump fails, and debris is introduced into the hydraulic fluid. These particles can find their way into a multitude of components within a system, for example valves and actuators, causing damage to these and other components.

Hydraulic pumps are the most vulnerable and often expensive components of a hydraulic system. The fluid needs to be kept cool, dry and clean. The introduction of particles or water to hydraulic fluid will drastically compromise its efficiency and promote wider-spread system damage.

Water will reduce the viscosity and load-bearing ability of the fluid. A serious result of this can be higher levels of contact between surfaces, resulting in greater component wear. Water will corrode system components leading to increased wear and failure as the by-products of corrosion are introduced to the system.

Particle and other contamination can be reduced by the use of appropriately-located filters.

Due to the extensive variety of hydraulic fluids available, levels of cleanliness will vary from fluid to fluid. For this reason, it is vital that any filters employed should be able to achieve the degree of cleanliness required by a specific fluid. Before filters are added and located, the precise nature of contamination needs to be established. Particle contamination is analysed by measuring the size and weight of the particles found in a specific volume of fluid.

Reducing contamination also requires extremely careful and attentive handling of hydraulic fluids, ensuring containers are properly stored and sealed.

Hydraulic seal failure

Seals are composed of relatively soft materials such as polyurethane or rubber and are therefore vulnerable to damage from heat, chemicals, and contamination.

Prevention of damage from chemicals requires ensuring seals are matched with the chemicals they encounter. Heat damage can be avoided by using heat-resistant components in the seals.

Contamination damage will be reduced by filters and appropriate regimes of handling fluids. Seals should of course be properly fitted and kept clean.

Ensure effective servicing, and you can avoid all these problems!

An effective maintenance schedule will ensure you avoid all the problems above, and keep your hydraulic equipment running smoothly and safely.

Worlifts offers a wide range of service options, as well as comprehensive training for your staff.

So why not give us a call today?

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