A non-compressible fluid, hydraulic oil is used for transferring power inside hydraulic equipment. While typically hydraulic oil is employed for this purpose alone, it can also perform many other useful functions, including acting as a lubricant, coolant and sealant for hydraulic machinery.
Mineral-based and synthetic oils
A hydraulic oil that is mineral based is made from crude oil fractions, while synthetic hydraulic oils are created from base fluids that are chemically produced instead. In comparison to oils that are strictly mineral based, synthetic oils can be further formulated with additives designed to enable them to pass on enhanced physical properties that are beneficial to the equipment employing them. Examples of these are areas such as oxidation stability, biodegradability and improved performance working under high temperatures.
Additives offering advanced protection and improved performance
Many of today’s hydraulic oils include bespoke additives designed to equip them to answer the intensive demands of hydraulic equipment. Additives with anti-wear properties offer a high level of protection to a wide variety of integral parts, such as motors and hydraulic pumps. Other additives have been developed to fight corrosion, such as rust, and to stop contaminants building up, clogging working parts and causing damage.
Additives for increased oxidation and thermal stability can result in the life of the oil being extended, even if it is exposed to harsh conditions when operating. Requiring replacement less often, this is one of the many cost-reducing aspects of using a modern hydraulic oil.
These invaluable properties protect equipment effectively, making it far less likely that machine parts will need to be replaced or repaired. Hydraulic equipment using oils with additives like these can often add years to machinery.
Saving time and money with hydraulic oil
Clean equipment that is well-lubricated and unhampered by contaminants will operate more efficiently, making business processes run smoother and more effectively, even in mechanically stressful conditions. Hydraulic oil will also cool equipment while it works, which means less downtime for overheated machinery and more continuous operations. Less prone to requiring maintenance, well-oiled hydraulic equipment will not disrupt workflow while parts are replaced and fixed, saving valuable time and money on repair costs.
The difference between hydraulic oil and hydraulic fluid
You may have heard the terms ‘hydraulic fluid’ and ‘hydraulic oil’ and wondered if they are the same. Although these terms can sometimes be interchanged, they are not always the same thing. Hydraulic oil is technically delivered in a fluid state, which means it can be a hydraulic fluid. However, a hydraulic fluid can be comprised of not just oils, but other fluids as well, such as water-oil emulsions, plain water and even salt solutions. Hydraulic fluid that does not contain oil was developed to provide a less flammable form of lubrication in parts of equipment located near ignition sources.