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The basic foundation to perform proper maintenance on a hydraulic system has two areas of concern. Preventive maintenance is the regular and routine maintenance of equipment and assets in order to keep them running and prevent any costly unplanned downtime from unexpected equipment failure. The second area is corrective maintenance, which is performed to rectify and repair faulty systems and equipment when they have broken down.
Preventative maintenance is the key to the success of any maintenance program, whether in hydraulics or any equipment which we need reliability. Preventative maintenance of a hydraulic system is the first line of defence to prevent component failure and reduce the need for costly corrective repairs.
When a hydraulic component fails in service, large amounts of metallic particles are generated. These particles circulate in the hydraulic fluid, often causing damage to other components before the system’s filters can remove them. In extreme cases, the contamination can clog the hydraulic filters, which results in unfiltered fluid being circulated through the system.
A component that fails in service is almost always more expensive to rebuild than a component that is removed from service in a semi-working condition. This is because a failure in service usually results in mechanical damage to the internal parts of the component and, as a consequence, parts that would have been serviceable have to be replaced. In some cases, components that would have initially been economical to repair now cost anywhere from 40% more.
A list of preventive maintenance tasks for a hydraulic system could be:
1. Change the hydraulic filter (could be the return or pressure filter)
2. Obtain a hydraulic fluid sample
3. Filter hydraulic fluid
4. Check hydraulic actuators
5. Clean the inside and outside of a hydraulic reservoir
6. Check and record hydraulic pressure
8. Check and record pump flow
9. Check hydraulic hoses, tubing and fittings
10. Check and record voltage reading to proportional or servo valves
11. Check and record vacuum on the suction side of the pump
12. Check and record amperage on the main pump motor
13. Check machine cycle time and record.
Preventive Maintenance procedures that are properly written and followed properly will allow equipment to operate to its full potential and life cycle.
To minimize the chances of hydraulic components failing in service, the machine manufacturers’ recommendations on expected service life should be used to schedule component change-outs. It may be possible to safely extend service life beyond that recommended through careful application of condition-based monitoring techniques, such as oil analysis (wear debris analysis). But unless an effective, predictive maintenance program is in place, running hydraulic components beyond their expected service life is usually a costly mistake.
If you’re unsure whether your equipment is in need of preventative maintenance, our engineers can assist. Contact us today on (02) 8608 2144 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can assist your equipment to operate at its full potential.
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