Lubricants News and Updates

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Doug Vrooman

hydraulic oil

Fluid Management: Hydraulic Oils - Doug's Tip of the Month

A common question amongst maintenance personnel is around the life expectancy of our Hydraulic Oils in their machines. For the most part, many maintenance personnel say that they expect a very short time because of the aggressive environment surrounding the manufacturing equipment.

And this is true if we recognize that the oil will suffer just two adverse effects in the equipment: Contamination & Degradation.

Premium hydraulic oils are capable of maintaining their initial characteristics and protect the equipment for a very long time…..even several years in a properly designed hydraulic system and with a proactive maintenance program.

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6 areas to help extend the life of Hydraulic fluid while protecting equipment:

1.-Choose the Right Product:

A few Premium Hydraulic fluids characteristics:

  1. Advanced Technologies in Base Oils and Additives:
    1. Keep the oil and system clean
    2. Have Outstanding contamination control
    3. Have Exceptional protection against wear
    4. Control demulsibility

2.-Prevent Contamination:

  1. Keep strict housekeeping control.shutterstock_2056850768
  2. Change from metal screen breathers to a desiccant breather.
  3. Use proper Filtration and filters with an Absolute Ratio β according to your needs.
  4. Segregate type of lubricants to prevent compatibility concerns.
  5. Consolidate Inventory of Lubricants.
  6. Fix leaks and the air intrusion in the equipment.
  7. Do not use after-market additives or mix products.
  8. Identify and ‘Lube Tag’ the equipment and the oil being used.

3.-Avoid Waste

  1. Repair leaks
  2. Use the golden rule: The right product in the right place with the right amount.

4.-Protect against deterioration:

  1. Maintain proper storage and handling of hydraulic fluids.
  2. In outside storage, stack drums horizontally or upside down to prevent water contamination
  3. Monitor equipment operation to avoid: high temperatures, excessive air exposure, static or electric discharges.

5.-Extend Useful Life

  1. Purchase Premium products to meet your equipment’s needs.
  2. Determine the optimum practical drain interval.
  3. Establish a system of simple checks in the field to assure the integrity of the oil and its operations – Send in routine used oil samples to a laboratory.

6.-Personnel Training on Lubricants

  1. Training generates experience and this is the base of an optimum use and preservation of the lubricants and the benefits that can be achieved.
  2. Do not let unauthorized/inexperienced people handle lubricants.
  3. Hydraulic lube oils are the heart and soul of your equipment and maintaining a staff that can take proper oil samples and interpret the laboratory testing results will pay huge dividends back to any operation.

 

 

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oil levels

Maintaining Proper Oil Levels - Doug's Tip of the Month

Maintaining Proper Oil Levels in Reservoirs, Sumps, Gearboxes and Crank case

Whether the case is Automotive – (engines, transmission, differentials), Gearboxes, Circulating Systems or Pumps; maintaining proper oil levels in reservoirs and sumps is imperative for both the equipment and oil life.

When oil levels are too low, machine wear and damage can occur very rapidly. There may be an increase in friction due to the lack of lubricating boundary film and/or viscosity changes from increased fluid temperatures. The lack of oil can lead to metal-to-metal contact which can in turn cause wear. This wear mechanism, known as spalling, pitting, smearing and seizing, all of which are forms of Adhesive Wear, are most common from metal to metal contact.

When oil levels are too high, it mainly can affect the lubricant and its properties, but can also cause damage to equipment. Oil levels that are too high for long periods of time can result in the machine or equipment aerating or churning the oil. Oil that has been aerated can change viscosity, speed up oxidation, and use up additives. When equipment or machines are run in these conditions, the lubricating film strength weakens, boundary conditions form and damage to the equipment can occur.

Implementing proper programs and procedures to continually monitor and maintain oil levels will result in longer fluid life and equipment life. Properly training personnel on how to “Monitor and Maintain Fluid Levels” through dip sticks, sight glasses or other methods determined by the OEM can produce higher productivity and less down time. Checking the oil for proper levels at regular intervals will help to ensure long life for both the equipment and the oil.

 

 

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Lubricant Storage & Handling - Doug's Tip of the Month

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One of the most important but overlooked aspects of proper lubricants and lubrication,  is storage, handling and transport of the lubricants.

Storage of lubricants should be in proper containers, which are clearly labeled, to aid in preventing cross contamination.

  • All openings on bulk storage or drum containers should always be kept closed with proper venting, preferably with desiccant breathers. Desiccant breathers help prevent the ingression of contaminants, both in the air such as dust or dirt as well as water content from humidity or a moist environment.
  • Containers should be kept in an area with adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Lubricants should always be stored with proper containment in case of a spill.
  • Storage areas should always be clean and free of clutter.

Handling and Transport of lubricants should always be in airtight, sealed, color-coded, and clearly labeled container. As part of handling of the lubricants, filtration should be considered.

  • Proper filtration should be used to move lubricants to bulk storage and then again from bulk storage to the transport container.  
  • Optimally, the lubricant should be filtered again before going into the equipment.
  • Filtering systems and carts should have designated pumps and hoses to aid in preventing cross contamination.
  • Filtering lubricants and maintaining clean oil can extend the life of the lubricant as well as extend the life of the equipment being lubricated. An acceptable level of cleanliness is established via the ISO Cleanliness code which is determined by the OEM of the equipment being lubricated.

Improper handling and/or storage of lubricants can easily result in cross-contamination or cross-mixing of oils, which can be very detrimental not only to the lubricant, but also the equipment that it is lubricating. Improper mixing of lubricants can cause oxidation, additive loss, and changes to viscosity.   

If you were to cross contaminate a Gear Oil and an R&O Hydraulic fluid, for example, where only a hydraulic fluid was required it could result in the gear oil attacking (chemically corroding) yellow metals that are found in bearing materials. This is due to the EP – (Extreme Pressure additives) found in Gear Oils. On the other hand, diluting the EP additives in gear oil with an R&O Hydraulic fluid could result in inadequate lubrication for a heavily loaded gear set where Gear Oil is required.

With any lubricant, proper storage and handling should always be the best practice. Keep in mind, that it is easier and less expensive to keep contaminants from entering a lubricant and/or prevent cross contamination, than it is to remove the contaminants or solve the cross contamination issue after the fact.


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