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

Fluid Management – Hydraulic Oils

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 reply 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.

Rule of thumb: The cleaner and dryer that you can keep your Hydraulic Fluid, the longer it can stay in service and this will also help keep equipment in service.

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

1. Choose the Right Product: Premium Hydraulic Fluids such as:

  • Fleetline AW Hydraulic Fluid
  • Kendall Four Seasons, Hyken or Megaflow AW HVI Hydraulic Fluids
  • Phillips 66 Syndustrial or Powerflow NZ
  • Petro-Canada Hydrex, Environ or Purity Food Grade Hydraulic Fluids.

A few Premium Hydraulic fluids characteristics:

  • 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:

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

3. Avoid Waste

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

4. Protect against deterioration:

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

5. Extend Useful Life

  • Purchase Premium products to meet your equipment’s needs.
  • Determine the optimum practical drain interval.
  • 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. Monitor ISO Cleanliness,
  • Try to maintain and ISO Code of less than 18/16/12.

6. Personnel Training on Lubricants

  • Training generates experience and this is the base of an optimum use and preservation of the lubricants and the benefits that can be achieved.
  • Do not let unauthorized/inexperienced personnel handle lubricants.
  • Hydraulic lube oils are the heart and soul of your equipment - 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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