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Hydraulic Systems-Handling Excessive Vibration ben lee

Hydraulic Systems Operating Problems: How to Handle Excessive Vibration

Recently we’ve been looking at ways to troubleshoot hydraulic systems and today we’re going to explore the area of excessive vibration.

When it comes to hydraulic systems, excessive vibration is a common issue. Although it’s not always a hydraulic issue, but normally a mechanical one, the design of a hydraulics system comprises of many mechanical parts and components which can also need to be considered.

For example, there are cylinders that may not be moving in a linear fashion, pumps and motors rotating at speed and even the oil itself can all contribute to a mechanical imbalance that could result in vibration.

As a maintainer of a hydraulic system, it will be down to you to discover what’s causing this issue and to remedy it.

Here is our approach for taking steps to remedy any vibration issue in your hydraulic system:

1.       Check whether the vibration is originating from the pump. It could be that the flexible coupling is not balanced. If the alignment is not correct, then realign the drive shafts.

2.       In a case like this you’ll need to either align, repair or replace it. If this is not the case, check the pump mounting for issues.   Also check whether there is air in the system. If there aren’t issues with these areas, then you may need to remove the pump and examine it.

3.       Other areas to check are the pipework. Check whether there is adequate support for it. If there isn’t then you may need to install clamps or tighten the ones already in place.

4.       Sometimes the vibration is occurring because the unit needs to be adjusted.

One of the patterns of thought that all of us as engineers can be affected by is doing our best in resolving an issue to give an immediate result. However, there are also longer-term consequences that should be considered with any resolution. Although replacing a pump may well fix something, having a design that makes it almost impossible to remove that pump can cause serious problems. Although the designers may have manufactured the unit without any issues relating to this, once the other components are added to the machine, repairing, maintaining and replacing that pump can cause a lot of stress. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to reach the malfunctioning unit due to the positioning of other components. 

One of the best practices of any maintenance staff should be to communicate any issues with management. Management need to review any issues and suggestions for resolution so that future equipment purchases can be made with these issues in mind.





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