Why is hydraulic equipment maintenance so important and what does it entail?
Hydraulic equipment is essential for a range of industries from construction to recycling, we wouldn’t be without it in the modern world. Preventative hydraulic maintenance is key because without it your equipment will not run efficiently. Also, you may not be aware that there is a problem with a piece of equipment and something that begins as a small issue can become a larger, more serious, and more expensive problem to repair or even replace. If you experience hydraulic failure in your equipment the downtime you will have as a result will decrease your productivity and adversely affect your operations.
What are the 3 types of hydraulic maintenance?
The types of hydraulic equipment maintenance that you should be aware of are:
- Reactive maintenance (RM)- this means breakdown maintenance and involves repairs that are needed to fix equipment that is already broken.
- Preventative maintenance (PM)- this is regular, important maintenance that is conducted on the equipment to prevent it from breaking down in the future. This type of maintenance is implemented through a Preventative Maintenance Programme.
- Predictive maintenance (PdM)- also called condition-based maintenance makes use of sensor devices to collect information about the system and components and prompts the personnel to perform maintenance exactly when it is needed. However, due to high costs and technical demands it is still fairly new to the market and not used very often.
What does preventative hydraulic equipment maintenance entail?
The Preventative Maintenance Programme is defined by the manufacturer requirements and operating conditions of each component and the hydraulic system as a whole. It is important to update the procedures for each preventative maintenance task and sure all employees know, understand, and follow the procedures effectively. The typical weekly preventative maintenance task list should include but is not limited to the following:
1) Check hydraulic fluid levels- add fluid of the same brand and viscosity grade if needed.
2) Check breather caps, filters, and fill screens.
3) Check pressure/return/ hydraulic filter indicators and pressure gauges for readings.
4) Take a sample of hydraulic fluid, look for visible signs of contamination and see colour and odour.
5) Monitor system temperature using an infrared thermometer if the temperature is higher than recommended check the condition of the cooler and relieve valve settings.
6) Inspect the inside of the hydraulic reservoir for signs of aeration. Aeration can be a sign of a leak, so it is important to check the reservoir on a regular basis.
7) Inspect hydraulic hoses, fittings, and tubing for frays and leaks. If the fluid level gets too low the system will operate at reduced capacity and will become overheated.
8) Check the hydraulic cylinder is fully functioning with no visible damage or issues with operations.
9) Check the hydraulic pump for anything unusual. Problems in the pump can lead to cavitation which is the formation of bubbles or cavities in the hydraulic fluid. It is caused by air gathering in areas of relatively low pressure around an impeller. This can damage the pump, decrease the flow, and cause vibration if not resolved.
10) Scan the motor for hot spots with an infrared thermometer.
Preventative maintenance is the most important type of maintenance you need to conduct on your hydraulics. Regular monitoring of equipment will ensure no unnecessary repairs are needed as well as maximising the efficiency of your operations. However, sometimes issues do arise that you can’t avoid so if you do have any problems with your hydraulic equipment don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at CJ Plant. As one of the UK’s leading plant maintenance and hydraulic repair specialists we can get you back up and running as quickly as possible with fast, high quality repairs.