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Tips on preventing your hydraulic equipment from breaking down

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Repairing hydraulic systems is costly and time consuming which could cause you to lose business or hurt your reputation as a contractor when the equipment breaks down during work. Taking preventive measures to avoid the unnecessary hassles that come with broken down equipment will go a long way in ensuring its longevity, reliability and efficiency. Maintenance is a continuous process that needs to be carried out regularly and creating a schedule that you stick to for every hydraulic machine is recommended. Here are some tips on how to carry preventive maintenance.

Cleaning reservoirs before oil changes—every time you change the oil in your equipment, make sure to keep the reservoirs clean and free from contaminants. Wiping it after draining all the oil with a lint-free cloth or solvent ensures that the reservoirs does not become a heat sink that breaks down oil or creates sludge. If you use a solvent, ensure you drain it all before recharging the system.

Besides checking, refilling and replacing oil in your reservoirs, it is important that you test the oil quality regularly by looking for signs of discolouration, bad odours and contaminants. Taking samples to a laboratory once a year for analysis by experts and even more for the critical components.

Using filters—contaminants and particles reduce the performance of your machine and increase wear to your pump. They may eventually lead to equipment failure, forcing hydraulic equipment repairs. Using suction strainers and filters may help prevent damage to your equipment. While choosing filters, go for high-beta-rating ones that decrease contamination and improve reliability of your equipment. Using low-quality or dirty filters does not help and neither does letting them go past their useful stage. Replace them during scheduled maintenance to ensure your hydraulic equipment serve you for a long time.

System temperature monitoring—the optimum temperature for operation of hydraulic systems is below 60˚ C. Anything above that will decrease the life of the oil in the system. Installing temperature gauges or heat guns to help monitor the temperature.

Checking pipes, tubes and general leaks—to keep your equipment running at peak performance, you have to make sure that you check tubes, pipes, seals, fittings and other key parts for leaks or damage and replacing or repairing ones that require such as fast as possible.

Checking the pump and pressure—it is essential to prevent damage to your equipment. Check for signs of cavitation by listening for any high-pitched whine or screams. Aeration is a factor you should also check by inspecting the reservoir for foaming or bubbles of air in the suction strainer.

Additionally, checking the flow of your pump will tell you about the state of your pump and whether it requires replacement.

Install pressure differential gauges for monitoring the pressure and ensuring it runs at optimum ranges.