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Filtration of hydraulic fluid ben lee

What Every Engineer Should Know About Hydraulics Filtration

Hydraulic filtration is a vital component of keeping a system running smoothly.

For example, did you know that up to 75% of failures with fluid power can be attributed to contamination? With the use of hydraulic filters, contamination damage can be significantly lowered which can not only cut down on expense but lower that 75% drastically. 

Filtration of hydraulic fluid can cut costs

If you’re looking to save costs from less downtime then it’s also time you looked into what a difference hydraulics filtration can make for extending the life of your equipment. Running your system optimally is essential when it comes to cost saving, but protecting its longevity is also a critical element in running any business efficiently. 

Muck and dust can destroy a hydraulic system, that’s why it’s essential to make the best use of hydraulic filters. You wouldn’t even be able to remove that dirt yourself, as it’s likely to be dust that is so fine that you won’t be able to see it without the use of a microscope. Dirt has the same detrimental effect as sandpaper or gravel and not only will generally deteriorate the system, but it could even destroy it.

However, through the use of a hydraulic filter system you will be able to maintain control over the level of contamination and by doing so reduce the failure of systems by as much as 75% just be removing that dirt.

Hydraulic parts are expensive. Combine that with down time and having to keep engineers on hand to fix worn components and that’s a lot of expense to deal with. Putting filters into place can even save costs by increasing how long the hydraulic fluid will last.

Avoid wear and these damages

Degradation of fluid – hydraulic fluid that contains fine metallic particles can degrade rapidly through chemical breakdown. Without protecting against this, there could be issues such as slippage, internal leakage, corrosion or sticking parts.

Scoring of surfaces – this can occur when particles get trapped between surfaces of seals

There’s no doubt about it, but …

·         System performance is affected by dirt levels

·         Hydraulic filters can control levels of dirt. Without using this management method, the system will get dirtier and dirtier until it fails.

Use hydraulic filters to avoid dirt induced system failure

In fact, hydraulic filters are the only way to control how much dirt is in fluid. Without them you will be forced to change out the hydraulic fluid regularly, which can be a time consuming and costly event.

Hydraulic system dirt particles are incredibly small. In fact, they are so small that they cannot be seen by the human eye – and 98% of hydraulic fluid has some dirt in it.

Engineers have found that when it comes to size of particles in samples taken from operating systems, the smaller the particles, the more dirt there is in the system.

So where do these particles come from that we have to work so hard to deal with?

How Dirt Gets Into A Closed Hydraulic System:


Although hydraulic systems are closed, they get surprisingly full of dirt.

In order to have an idea of what goes on inside the closed system, let’s examine where these particles come from.

  • Dirt from inside – this is dirt that is there before the equipment is even turned on. Particles will be present from the manufacturing process of the machine. You should also expect to find some abrasive dust, weld spatter, core-sand and lint in the machine.
  • Introduced Particles –particles can enter through breather caps, fluid filter tubes and even seals. There is always the point when the system has been opened for maintenance too. Opening any hydraulic system is a contamination risk.
  • Wear Particles- this is a major source of particles into your system. As your components are used, there will be some wear that will produce fine particles. Hydraulic filters are the only way to collect and remove particles.
  • Breaking down of fluid – sludge, acids and more can come into play when the fluid begins to breakdown.   Although sludge is not always abrasive, it can leave a coating on other moving components and this will not only slow movement but it can leave nasty clogging throughout passages. Acid can leave pits and corrosion throughout the system, without being fussy about how vital those components are that it attacks.

What happens if you don’t use hydraulic filters in your system?

Instead of enjoying the typical 20 gpm that is the measurement of a pumped flow from a 2000 psi system, you can expect to see something in the region of just 10 gpm.  Although your pump will still produce for you, you’ll discover that the degradation results in just 50% efficiency and you should als be prepared to experience extra heat and other unwanted issues.

As with any hydraulic system, there is an optimum level of cleanliness, but there is a point where you cannot get any better performance out of the system by improving the quality of the fluid. However, with the use of hydraulic filters you should be well set to extend the life of your machinery.

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