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The price of gas and diesel usually hurts the pocket of any business far more than that of the cost of hydraulic oil, unless of course you have some major leaking going with your hydraulic equipment.
Whatever the case, nobody wants to be paying out more than is necessary. So the question is, how can you make your hydraulic oil last longer and go further? Here are 4 things that can certainly help:
1. Keep it in
The most obvious approach is to keep your oil in the hydraulic system. The fewer leaks you have, the better. The slow leaks that you have can be costing you more than you think, in particular if you just ignore them and don’t attend to them.
2. Keep it cool
Keep your operating temperature down or your oil will rapidly lose condition. Remember we mentioned Arrhenius’s Law recently, about how an increase of every 10 degrees in Celsius can double the rate of reactions. Well this applies to oxidation too. With air and water in the system, the condition of your oil is going to go downhill rapidly.
Imagine what happens if you pour cooking oil into a glass. It’s going to take a very long time before it takes on the tell-tale change of colour of oxidation. However, add that same cooking oil to a frying pan and heat it and you’ll get some black cooking oil before you know it.
3. Keep it dry
Water in the system can seriously affect the additive structure. For example, the additive known as ZDDP which is for anti-wear will be very unstable with the presence of water. This could lead to undesirable outcomes.
4. Keep it clean
Particle contamination is another area of danger. Particles can cause utter mayhem by inducing greater oxidation and also hydrolysis. They can even attach themselves to additives and when they are captured by filters, they will be robbing your hydraulic system of that additive.
In summary, our recommendation for making the best out of our hydraulic oil is to keep it inside, keep it operating when it’s cool, dry and clean. Don’t change it unless it’s degraded or the additives have been depleted.
Keeping overheads low is a fundamental of good money management in business. When your supervisor tells you that the company are pulling in its purse strings and he wants you and your department to help, it’s might not always obvious as to how you can cut back on costs, in particular in this day and age of expensive parts and fuel.
One approach is to save on fluid. Although your hydraulic system may not even be leaking, if you could keep your oil in service longer than usual, whilst not putting your machine at risk of damage, then you know you’re going to be his favourite employee this month.
Here’s how to do it:
Keep it inside
The most important thing is not to waste it. Although you may have a couple of slow leaks that are on your list to be fixed at some point, they are costing you more as every day goes by. The price of oil might be lower than it was, but it’s still pricey. Solving leaks comes complete with a cost reduction. If you don’t attend to them, then you’re affecting your department’s economy.
Keep it responsive
Keeping your oil within optimal operating temperatures offers many advantages. For one, it’s going to have a longer life. By allowing it to get just 10 degrees warmer, it will not have an extended life according to Arrhenius's Law. There will be negative reactions including oxidation. This is caused by air entering the system and hydrolysis – the presence of water. The warmer the oil, the more you’ll suffer from these.
In order to illustrate this – consider what happens when you have cooking oil at home. You could pour it into a cup and leave it on the side. It will take a long time to change colour. However, if you put it into a frying pan and heat it as hot as you can, you’re soon going to have a pan of darkened oil.
Some oils have anti-oxidant additives added. In addition you may want to consider installing a heat exchanger, increasing the number of filters and magnetic plugs and even going so far as replacing any copper or brass tubings under circumstances where the pressure rating is more than 10 bar.
If you do opt to use magnetic plugs, then ensure that there is regular cleaning of them. Otherwise the particles may be dislodged by any oil surge and then they will be back circulating around your system and causing damage. In addition, using the magnetic plugs will help to reduce the work of the filter.
Keep the water out
Water can damage oil. It can also compromise any additives in it. Take ZDDP which is an anti-wear additive, add water to it and you’ll find that it’s completely unstable.
Keep it clean
It’s difficult to keep hydraulic oil clean. Every time you access the system there is a chance that it will collect dust particles. It’s also likely that particles are building up from wear inside the machine. Certain metals are worse than others when it comes to increasing how fast hydrolysis and oxidation happen. These metals include iron, copper, lead and zinc in addition to water. It’s also likely that particles will attach themselves to any additives in the oil, which will lead to depletion of the additives.
In summary, gaining extended longevity from your hydraulic oil comes from good maintenance; keeping your machine leak-free, keeping oil at optimal temperature and clean. Don’t change it until the oil has degraded or your additives have extensively depleted.
Performing maintenance often and well will keep you in the good books of your boss. There’s nothing better than good filtration and the prevention of impurities to keep the fluid clean. You may also want to look at your oil storage system prior to oil being entered into the system. For example, keeping oil barrels horizontal can protect them from water collecting near the bungs. It will also mean that the bung is kept wet and therefore will be more effective as an airtight seal.
Let us know how you get on and if you have tips to share on improving hydraulic system economy, do tell.
Are you interested in what can cut costs when it comes to Hydraulic Power in your business?
We can only imagine that the answer is ‘yes’ as most of us are. Well, we’ve got some good news for you. Today, we’re going to look at what the most common reasons are that hydraulic components fail, even those that have not been in service for long.
These points are worth making a note of:
1. Oil changes. It’s not necessary to keep changing the oil unless you have one of thes2 following conditions occurring.
The oil has degraded so far that the original additives have changed its makeup. Changing oil just because you feel it’s about time it’s changed is going to cost you a lot of outlay as oil is expensive. The larger your reservoir, the worse off you’ll be. However, if you keep operating your system with degraded oil, then that could cost you even more. Even changing the oil based on how long it’s been in service isn’t going to help. Oil needs to be analysed to fully understand its condition.
If you discover that your oil is contaminated with particles, the more economical manner to deal with this is to remove the particles through filtration.
So in summary, only change the oil when the additives have been depleted and the base oil is useless. You will have to perform oil analysis to make your decision.
2. Filter changes. It’s the same story with hydraulic filters. Changing them based on hours in service could mean that you’re too early or even too late. Early brings about waste as their capacity is not reached and you’ll be throwing away an unused amount of filter time. Changing them late is also an error as the particles will not be removed from the oil and therefore, it could lower the lifespan of each component in the entire hydraulic system.
The most effective approach is to only change filters once they have become full of dirt, but prior to the bypass valve opening. This may require a mechanism to be added that will monitor the pressure and deliver an alert when a point is reached. A clogging indicator is one of the most basic methods of handling this. However, continuous monitoring of pressure drop through the use of a differential pressure gauge or a transducer is the optimal solution. In summary, changing filters on hours is not maintenance effective, or cost effective.
3. Heat. If you’re driving along and you notice that your car engine is overheating, you would most likely stop. Most equipment owners won’t run an engine that is overheating. They know it’s going to cause problems. However, the same cannot be said about operators of hydraulic system.
Just as with a car, running an overheated engine is the quickest way to destroy hydraulic seals, hoses and other components. How hot is too hot? The answer depends on the viscosity of the oil in addition to the hydraulic components. Viscosity lessens with increasing temperature, so the answer is when the temperature is high enough to stop the oil lubricating as it should.
When it comes to hydraulic components, it’s worth noting that a vane pump needs more viscosity than a piston pump would. If you have a vane pump in your hydraulic system, then you’ll want at least 25 centistokes to be maintained.
Temperatures over 82°C will cause damage to seals and hoses in addition to accelerating the oil’s degradation. Never allow your hydraulic system to operate above 82°C with a viscosity lower than 10 centistokes.
4. The wrong oil. The most important element of any hydraulic system is always the oil. It’s what keeps everything lubricated and it is also what transfers the power. With these two major tasks to handle, keeping an eye on viscosity is a must.
The viscosity of the oil is what will determine the temperature at which the system should be run. You may have heard this referred to as temperature operating window or TOW. A temperature that is too high will prevent the oil from flowing or lubricating as it should. Oil that has a viscosity that is too low will not deliver adequate lubrication either. Keeping an eye on this will also ensure that you power isn’t lost due to either internal leakage or mechanical friction.
You don’t want increased power consumption as it will cost you more. The best way to handle this is to check what your machines temperature operating window is and to ensure that your machine operates within that window at all times. We won’t go into how to do this here, as it’s rather complex, but it’s something that does need to be addressed.
5. Filter locations. There are two locations for filters that cause the most problems – the piston pump and motor case line and the pump inlet. You may have a strainer attached to the pump inlet to collect any ‘garbage’ in your oil, but this oil is being drawn from a reservoir, not somewhere where there should be any garbage.
The pump inlet is also positioned off the bottom, so there should not be a lot of dirt passing through. By placing filters here, it can affect whether you get maximum pump life. If there is any form of restricted intake, it can reduce the lifespan of the gear pump by as much as half. Hydraulic pumps are not built with ‘sucking’ in mind! The way to handle this is to remove any suction strainers or depth filters on either the pump inlet or the piston pump.
Applying these points should be helpful to any hydraulic system operators and should deliver methods to save yourself and your business great expense.
Until next time..
Spring is finally here - in its full beautiful entirety with sunshine and plenty of tabloid coverage telling us that it’s going to be hotter than Ibiza. All part of the glorious British summertime!
This week we’ve got five tips for you on giving your hydraulic equipment a spring maintenance session.
Take stock – As the old Chinese saying goes, ‘He who fails to prepare, prepares to fail’. That’s definitely something to consider when it comes to hydraulic systems. It’s an often forgotten task to prepare for failures by ordering spare parts upfront so that they’re on hand for a speedy change out.
It’s a recommend practice to keep your paperwork up to date of what you’ve purchased on each machine so that you can cross reference your parts including valves, pumps and cylinders with inventory to ensure that you have what you need on hand and ready to use.
You’ll no doubt already be aware of the lead times on some parts. It’s a smart move to stock the parts you may need that are critical to operation. By revisiting what’s required for each machine, you can either opt to order parts or you can remove what you don’t need from the list.
Revise your schematics. Nobody can troubleshoot successfully with an out of date schematic, in particular if your machine is particularly large or of a complex design. Drawings need to be accurate and in line with the current inventory.
Oftentimes machines are upgraded or modified to be in line with safety regulations and overall safety considerations. If the schematic wasn’t revised to show the new layout of a machine, then engineers and technicians can waste time trying to fix a circuit they have no idea about. Although it’s best practice to change schematics at the time of the change, confirming that this has been done is a smart proactive move.
Check out your fluid. It’s important to investigate the condition of your fluid at least 4 times a year, and spring should be one of those times. Take a sample of your active fluid in to a clean sample bottle, so that you’re able to judge what true condition it’s in. Ideally your sample will be from the centre of a reservoir or from a return line so that you can get a fair representation of the fluid moving around the hydraulic equipment circuit.
You can measure what the particle count is in addition to the water contamination levels. You can also check the additive content and how long the oil is likely to be able to stay in service, thus potentially preventing needless maintenance.
Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Use a graph with your baseline so that you can see if there’s a big change from typical conditions. You should then have enough time to identify any issues and fix them before a major breakdown occurs.
Change filters. If you don’t have an electronic or other indicator to warn when the filter is full, you will need to schedule in regular checks. Spring is a good time to put this into practice. In an ideal world you will have a sign that the filter is clogged, emanating either from a light, a pop-up or a switch.
Although it’s great to schedule in filter changes, the only true way of knowing if one needs a change is by manually and visually checking whether it’s clogged. You will also need to look at the component wear whilst you’re there.
Spring clean. This is the actual spring clean itself. Of course, getting a very clean machine is every engineer’s dream. In reality hydraulic equipment attracts an incredible amount of dirt!
Although it’s fine to have dirt on the outside of your machine, having it on the inside is another matter entirely. It’s smart to ensure that the grime from the outside cannot reach the inside. Keep entry points closed and reduce the chances of contamination to keep your machine operating happily.
Hydraulics has been around for a very long time. But are you aware of how far it has actually come? You wouldn’t be alone if you responded with no. It is a very technical subject that can be quite difficult to understand, but in this article we want to tell you the story of hydraulics! We want to share with you who discovered hydraulics, what it was originally used for and how hydraulic power got to where it is today.
So why don’t we start at the beginning! Where does the word hydraulic come from?
The word hydraulic originates from the Greek word ‘Hydros’ which means water. Why water? Well, this is because water was the first liquid to be used in the hydraulic system. Today, hydraulics includes the physical behaviour of all liquids, not just water.
In this article we want to explain the ins and outs of hydraulic powerpacks. A vital piece of equipment that is used with so many machines we see every day.
In a nutshell, hydraulic powerpacks are self contained units that are used instead of a built in power supply for hydraulic machinery. Hydraulic power uses fluid to transmit power from one location to another in order to run a machine. It really is as simple as that.
So what do they look like?
In order to recognise and better understand hydraulic powerpacks, it is a good idea to get to know the key components. Hydraulic powerpacks come in many different shapes and sizes, some are very large and stationary whereas others are much smaller and more compact. In fact, some hydraulic powerpacks are so compact that they can easily be transported in a small van or even an estate car.
The only real way to identify hydraulic powerpacks is through its main components. No matter the size of the unit, all power packs will have the following; a hydraulic reservoir, regulators, a pump, motor, pressure supply lines and relief lines.
What do these components do?
It may be obvious to some but in this post we wanted to explain every component as simply as possible. So here goes.
First up is the hydraulic reservoir which quite simply holds the fluid. Reservoirs will come in different sizes.
Then we have the regulators. Regulators are vital as they control and maintain the amount of pressure that the hydraulic powerpack delivers.
Thirdly we have the pressure supply lines and relief lines. The supply line simply supplies fluid under pressure to the pump and the relief lines relieve pressure between the pump and the valves. The relief lines also control the direction of flow through the system.
Finally we have the pump and a motor. We will begin with the simpler component of the two, the motor. The motor is simply there to power the pump. Easy as that. Now the pump generally performs two actions. Firstly, it operates as a vacuum at the pump inlet and through atmospheric pressure forces fluid from the reservoir into the inlet line and then to the pump. It then delivers the fluid to the pump outlet and pumps it into the hydraulic system. We did warn you that the second part would be slightly more confusing.
So what is the function of hydraulic powerpacks?
Hydraulic powerpacks deliver power through a control valve which in turn runs the machine it is connected to. Hydraulic powerpacks come with a variety of valve connections. This means that you can power a variety of machines by using the appropriate valves.
Hydraulic powerpacks are relied upon by a range of different machines that use hydraulic power to do its work. If a machine is required to carry out heavy or systematic lifting then its likely it would need help from a hydraulic powerpack.
To make it easier for you to understand, we have included a list of trades that regularly rely on our powerpacks. On a building site you will see machines like bulldozers and excavators, which both need hydraulic powerpacks. But, it is not just on building sites that you will find these types of machines. Fishermen and mechanics both need hydraulic powerpacks too. If we did not have them then how would fishermen lift their nets or how would mechanics lift our cars?
When picking a hydraulic powerpack there are a variety of pumps and options to pick from and it is important to pick the right pack to meet your machines needs. It is also important to consider a pack that will help maximise productivity and minimise cost.
Many people will overlook the necessity of hydraulic powerpacks, but they really are vital to ensuring our society runs efficiently.
Do you need to maintain hydraulic powerpacks?
Yes you do and this is hugely important! Hydraulic powerpacks require regular maintenance to ensure they are working properly and safely and to help extend their life. Maintaining hydraulic powerpacks is relatively simple and includes checking the tubing, this can be for any noticeable problems such as dents or cracks. It is also vital to regularly change the hydraulic fluid and look at the reservoir to check for any corrosion or rust.
What hydraulic powerpacks do we provide?
Generally we provide four different types of hydraulic powerpacks. You can pick from a standard powerpack, a mini powerpack, a micro powerpack or a bespoke powerpack.
The standard hydraulic powerpack uses a standard range of modular components and is ideal for the most demanding industrial applications. The mini powerpack is ideal for applications requiring up to 5.5kW. The micro hydraulic powerpacks were originally produced for mobility applications, so are great for when space is limited. Finally, if none of these seem to fit your needs then we offer bespoke hydraulic powerpacks ensuring your application gets the hydraulic powerpack it requires.
Finally, who is the genius behind hydraulic powerpacks?
The man behind hydraulics was Laissez Pascal. A French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher who lived in the mid seventeenth century. Pascal made observations about fluid and pressure which led to Pascal’s law. Pascal's law states that when there is an increase in pressure at any point in a confined fluid, there is an equal increase at every other point in the container. Hydraulic powerpacks have been designed based on Pascal's law of physics, drawing their power from ratios of area and pressure.
So, interested in our Power Packs? Come on over to the main website and see what we can do for your Hydraulic Power Pack Needs .
If you’re in charge of the hydraulic machines for your company, one way of really annoying the company’s budget holder is to run your machines too hot. It’s going to cost you far more than either you or the financial director had bargained for. Another way that you won’t be a favoured employee is if you don’t get leaks fixed up, but we’re going to look at that at another time.
Here’s how an overheating hydraulic machine can cost so much money:
O-rings are going to fail. Running a machine outside and above the manufacturer’s or designer’s recommended temperature limit is going to cause issues, in particular with the o-rings and seals. The fluid will degenerate them and in turn, degrade the oil faster.
Your hydraulic fluid will need to be replaced more regularly. It will also affect how the hydraulic fluid performs and could cause it to deteriorate in terms of quality and cleanliness as viscosity will fall below optimal value.
Check your fire resistant hydraulic fluid. If you are using this, which is quite likely if your hydraulic machines are run underground or in any other very enclosed area, then you will need to check that it’s compatible with the rubber compound used in your o-rings and seals.
Running a hydraulic machine too hot is probably one of the most costly mistakes that any engineer can make. It needs to be brought down to under 82°C to operate in a way that isn’t going to be using up all spare company cash in repairs and replacements.
We recommend that you take these actions to ensure that your machine is not affected negatively;
· Bring the temperature below 85 degrees – knowing that even at 82 there could be some damage
· Check the condition of your seals and o-rings
· Check whether the fluid is fire-resistant
If you don’t check these then you could find yourself on the ‘naughty list’ of your finance director.
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