Monthly Archives: February 2015

Maintenance of hydraulic systems

Performing maintenance on a hydraulic system, the correct way, is by utilising the maintenance best practices.

Many businesses opt to spend a large sum of money to train their maintenance staff to troubleshoot a hydraulic system.
However, by focusing on the prevention of system failure, it would lessen the amount of time and money spent on troubleshooting a hydraulic system.

It is often that companies will accept hydraulic system failure as a thing that happens, instead of the opposite – it would be more beneficial to invest time and money in the elimination of a failure rather than the preparation for failure.

The forefront runner of component and system failure is the lack of maintenance of the hydraulic system, although a majority of maintenance staff won’t know or understand, the proper maintenance techniques of a hydraulic system.
To perform the correct maintenance on a hydraulic system, two areas require concern: the first is preventive maintenance – the key to the success of any maintenance program, in hydraulics or any equipment where reliability is needed. The second is corrective maintenance – if not performed to standard, this can cause additional hydraulic component failure.

The basic foundation to perform proper maintenance on a hydraulic system has two areas of concern. The first area is Preventive Maintenance which is key to the success of any maintenance program whether in hydraulics or any equipment which we need reliability. The second area is corrective maintenance, which in many cases can cause additional hydraulic component failure when it is not performed to standard.

Preventive maintenance

This is a simple and basic form of maintenance that has the ability to eradicate a majority of hydraulic component failure, if followed in the correct way.

– Identify system operating system’s condition: does the system operate 24 hours a day? 7 days a week? Does the system operate at maximum flow and pressure 70% or better during operation? Is the system located in an unclean or humid environment?

– What requirements does the Equipment Manufacturer state for Preventive Maintenance on the hydraulic system?

– What requirements and operating parameters does the component manufacturer state concerning the hydraulic fluid ISO particulate?

– What requirements and operating parameters does the filter company state concerning their filters ability to meet this requirement?

– What equipment history is available to verify the above procedures for the hydraulic system?

Hydraulic knowledge

Divide the necessary hydraulic skill into two groups: the hydraulic troubleshooter and the general hydraulic maintenance staff – those that provide the preventive maintenance expertise.

Hydraulic troubleshooter knowledge:

– Mechanical Principles / force, work, rate, simple machines
– Math / basic math, complex math equations
– Hydraulic Components / application and function of all hydraulic system components
– Hydraulic Schematic Symbols / understanding all symbols and their relationship to a hydraulic system
– Calculate flow, pressure, and speed
– Calculate the system filtration necessary to achieve the system’s proper ISO particulate code

Hydraulic troubleshooter skills:

– Trace a hydraulic circuit to 100% proficiency
– Set the pressure on a pressure compensated pump
– Tune the voltage on an amplifier card
– Null a servo valve
– Troubleshoot a hydraulic system and utilize “Root Cause Failure Analysis”
– Replace any system component to manufacturer’s specification
– Develop a PM Program for a hydraulic system
– Flush a hydraulic system after a major component failure

General hydraulic knowledge:

• Filters / function, application, installation techniques
• Reservoirs / function, application
• Basic hydraulic system operation
• Cleaning of hydraulic systems
• Hydraulic lubrication principles
• Proper PM techniques for hydraulics

General hydraulic skills:

– Change a hydraulic filter and other system components
– Clean a hydraulic reservoir
– Perform PM on a hydraulic system
– Change a strainer on a hydraulic pump
– Add filtered fluid to a hydraulic system
– Identify potential problems on a hydraulic system
– Change a hydraulic hose, fitting or tubing

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