Maintenance Technology April 2015 - (Page 19)

HYDRAULIC-SYSTEM TIPS Despite their workhorse reputation, the hydraulic systems in your plant may need more attention than they've been getting. IN MANY FACILITIES, hydraulic-system maintenance involves little more than changing filters, sampling oil and checking oil levels. Be advised, however: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," is not a best practice. According to Certified Fluid Power Specialist Al Smiley, every hydraulic system in a plant should regularly undergo 15-20 reliability tests-while the equipment is running. Several checks and procedures can be performed during down days or shutdowns. Smiley offers these preventive maintenance tips to help improve the reliability of your system. Reservoir The best time to check a reservoir is when the plant or hydraulic equipment is down. Note, too, that reservoirs on these systems should be cleaned at least once a year. Other than oil storage, the two main purposes of the reservoir are to allow contaminants to settle and to dissipate heat. If the reservoir is not cleaned, not only will its ability to dissipate heat be diminished, it will act as a heat sink. Temperatures can easily soar well above the maximum recommended temperature APRIL 2015 of 140 F. At that point, oil will begin to break down, creating sludge and varnish in the system. If the contaminants are not removed from the reservoir, they will be drawn into the pump, causing premature failure of system components. To prevent large contaminant particles from entering the pump, many reservoirs contain a suction strainer (#6 in diagram on page 20). The suction strainer usually has a 74-micron rating, whereas the tolerances inside pumps and valves are 3- to 8-micron. Be sure to use a lint-free cloth when cleaning out the reservoir. If using a solvent for this task, make sure it's recommended for hydraulic systems. Even very small amounts of the wrong solvent can impair certain additives. System cleaning and flushing When oil is removed from the reservoir it should be filtered to 1 micron into a storage tank with a flushing and filtering unit that will remove solid contaminants and water. A number of commercially available units can be used for this. Unless the oil is severely degraded, it is not necessary (or desirable) to change it. Run the oil through the 1-micron filters when refilling the unit, after the reservoir has been cleaned. The entire system should then be flushed to clean oil in the lines to the valves and actuators. MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM | 19 http://www.MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM

Maintenance Technology April 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology April 2015

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