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Why hydraulic fluid compatibility is so important

Specify Alternate Text

you use the correct fluid for your hydraulic system is crucial right from the start, but when it comes to mixing hydraulic oils, the sheer number of combinations of additives and agents available on the market can make even the best engineers scratch their heads in confusion.

Taking into account the above information, it is imperative that any additives present are compatible with one another. For example, with anti-foam additives which help prevent build-up of foam on a fluids surface, if two similar additives are mixed this could actually increase the amount of foam present due to the possibility of retardation of trapped air in the bulk oil.

Another combination of blends that has to be closely monitored are those that allow water to mix or emulsify with the oil as two different blends both offering emulsification properties can actually cause a reduction in these properties and changing these characteristics can lead to unpredictable operating conditions.

The safest way to ensure that you keep to the correct specifications of oils for your system which take into account areas such as operational temperature and running periods is to consult with the hydraulic systems manufacturer specifications which will identify correct grades and also which of these grades can be mixed with other relevant oils.

If your application may sometimes work out of usual operational limits, the normal manufacturer recommended oil may not be completely suitable. If that is the case then laboratory tests can be carried out with both the equipment maker and oil supplier present along with consultations to try and reach a successful result.

So, what special qualities do top-quality lubricants typically have?

In order for a lubricant to be considered high-quality, it should meet a number of important criteria. Below we have listed some of the main fluid requirements:

Anti-rust qualities
Demulsibility – this ensures that extra water, where not needed, can be easily drained off out of the system and separated from the rest of the water which is needed
Thermal and Hydrolytic stability – means the oil can maintain its specification and not degrade when exposed to certain temperatures and can resist chemical reactions when water is part of the mix
Corrosion control
Anti-wear capability
Filterability – this means the oil falls within filtering limits to control system contamination
Material compatibility – the oil must be compatible with the surrounding materials it will be interacting with. These can include pipework hose materials as well as rubber seals etc.

Why is oil lifespan so important?

As well as its useful qualities, the lubricant itself should be maintained correctly as to ensure quality and longevity. Some key recommendations are listed below:

Fluid cleanliness – Ensuring that oil is clean and free from dirt, debris and other contaminants is paramount for a system to run effectively
Keeping fluids cool and dry – It is important to minimise any water condensation affecting the fluid. Guidelines suggest that content should not exceed 1,000 ppm but this is largely dependent on system design
Fixing any leaks that occur immediately – In order to preserve both the fluid and the hydraulic system, if any leakage is identified this should be tackled immediately and thoroughly as to stop any potential problems further down the line

Hydraproducts fully tests all of its systems with its complex testing equipment to ensure that hydraulic fluid is of optimum quality before it is delivered to the end user.


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