Pumps are the heart of hydraulic systems. When the pump fails, the entire system is down until the pump is operational again. This poses a serious threat to any operation relying on hydraulic systems for productivity. Recently, a hydraulic valve manufacturer was losing 25 pumps a year on their centralized hydraulic system at a cost of $2,440 each. That’s only the pump cost, when you account for maintenance resources, lost oil and lost production each failure costs ~$25,320.
Today’s oil suppliers are often required to provide fluid at or below a specified ISO Cleanliness Code. One such supplier was experiencing short filter element life (15 days) on the system (7 element multi-round housing) used to achieve the required ISO Cleanliness Code of 18/16/13 in a single pass as 15W-40 oil is transferred from their bulk storage tanks to tanker trucks for delivery.
The ApplicationAn Australian aluminum refinery was consistently performing premature gearbox lube oil changes on 7 base drive units due to oil and particulate contamination. With an average operating ISO code of 20/18/16 and average water levels of 4742ppm, the 360 liters / 90 gallons of ISO VG320 gear oil was being changed far too often. Cost per gearbox oil change (excluding crane, lost production, labor) is $17,962.60 which adds up to $125,738.20 for all 7 units.
A hydraulic valve manufacturer required pristine fluid (< 14/12/9) to test flow across an 80 micron orifice on their test stand. Gross amounts of contamination in the fluid would skew the test results, invalidating any data collected. The system held 100 l (26.4 gal) of ISO VG 32 fluid with a flow rate of 25 lpm (6.6 gpm).
Through observing the manufacturer’s sampling practices, discussing fluid handling best practices and interpreting their lab reports; 3 independent problems were identified:
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Topics: Fluid Analysis