4 out of 5 hydraulic failures are missed when you don’t use oil analysis

Machinery failure will cost you money, but with hydraulics that power so many every day pieces of equipment, failure can also cause accidents and loss of life. The reason is hydraulics are used to provide very precise but powerful movements. This is achieved by use of servo valves and other valve type devices to actively get oil to various parts of the machine to deliver power just when it is needed. If these become blocked by contamination or varnish then movements become jerky or uncontrolled. Equally if the fluid becomes contaminated with water under the high pressure in a hydraulic system it begins to boil causing sudden loss of power as a liquid that is not compressible becomes a gas that is. This can again lead to less powerful movements or loss of stability when carrying a heavy load.

Before continuing please consider the 3 scenario pictures below of people relying on hydraulics to perform a task. Now think of what would happen if the machine suddenly became uncontrolled or jerky at a critical point. Not only are serious failures a result but potentially a serious accident too.

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So now you realise the importance of keeping your hydraulics in tip-top condition, now think about how hydraulics fail and ways to identify them. In fact 4 out of every 5 failures is related to contamination in the oil. Of the remaining failures another key failure mode is degradation of the oil such as oxidation and varnish which means a huge percentage of failures are oil related. Only via regular monitoring of the oil with tests such as particle count, water, wear and acid number can the sources of failures be identified and tackled early before a failure. The benefit to you is that this not only boosts your safety record but also reduces the burden on your wallet too.

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If you have an important piece of equipment that if it fails would cost you money or potentially lead to an accident you owe it to yourself to get the oil tested. If you can’t tell me the current water, iron, silicon, particle count and acid number then it’s about time you considered starting or restarting your analysis programme today. If you would like help in doing so then click the chat icon at the bottom right to ask a question.