Although most people do the basics of hydraulic maintenance, including changing filters on a regular basis, checking oil levels etc., many neglect to carry out a lot of other tasks that could stop the equipment from failing. However, there are several things that it is important to do when the system is working well, to prevent failure and costly equipment downtime. Here are some of the most important:
Inspect the filter bypass valve
Almost all hydraulic filter assemblies feature a bypass check valve. This is there to prevent damage from occurring should an element get plugged with contaminants. This valve opens whenever the pressure reaches the valve’s spring rating. If this valve was to fail, oil would bypass the element without having been filtered, and this could lead to the early failure of a number of downstream components.
A lot of the time, this valve can be taken out of the housing, so that it can be inspected for contamination or general wear or tear. However, so few people do this that it is a big cause of mechanical failure in hydraulic systems.
Check the condition of the hose
Another thing that often causes hydraulic system problems is leakage. It is therefore important that the hose is properly assembled, and regularly inspected so that any defects that could shut down operations, are detected and rectified as soon as possible.
If serious signs of wear, including blisters, rips and tears are found, the hose must be immediately replaced by a new one.
Inspect for correct clamping
It is important to use proper hydraulic pipe clamps, and not conduit clamps, which do not stand up well to the pressure changes and vibration of a hydraulic system very well. It is also vital that clamps are inspected to check for loose mounting bolts, on a regular basis.
If clamps are broken, they will need to be replaced, ensuring that they are correctly spaced at a distance of between 5-8 feet apart, and no more than 6 inches away from the pipe’s terminus.
Check the temperature
As hydraulic components wear out, bypassing increases and this leads to the generation of heat. This heat is not good for the system, wasting energy as it does, which is why it is important to use a heat detector or infrared camera to regularly check the temperature of your equipment.