SMARTER HYDRAULICS

A Three-Step Strategy to Restore Your Contaminated Hydraulic System – And Keep it Clean

by Scott Schneider & Daniel Williams


INTRODUCTION

Machine owners and operators are focused on squeezing the most production possible from their machines to optimize profitability, and since most machines use hydraulic systems in some form, failure of these systems is a persistent threat. For the most part, machine owners and operators are aware that contamination is responsible for most of all hydraulic system failures; however, knowing that dirt will destroy your hydraulic system does not always mean translate into knowing what to do when it happens or how to prevent contamination from reentering the system and causing another costly failure.

The purpose of this white paper is to explain how to restore your hydraulic system following failure due to contamination, how to keep contamination out of your restored system, and what to look for in a hydraulic system service provider.

STEP 1: DIAGNOSE THE FAILURE - AND YOUR SERVICE PROVIDER

Repairing or rebuilding your machine’s compromised system is an opportunity to learn about why your hydraulic system failed. The operation will also give you an opportunity to evaluate your service provider’s competence and contamination control procedures. Your service provider should be able to identify the specific source of the contamination that compromised your system by examining the system’s damaged components. This information will allow your provider to determine the extent and severity to which your system is contaminated and respond appropriately.

STEP 2: RESTORE THE SYSTEM

Since contamination is responsible for the vast majority of hydraulic system failures, it’s safe to assume that any failed system will require a thorough cleaning to be returned to optimal condition. The extent to which contamination is present in a system will determine your appropriate response; kidney-looping, using a powered flushing machine to remove impurities from your system, may be sufficient, or a complete system rebuild may be necessary. Talk to your service provider about their diagnosis: what response is appropriate for your machine?

STEP 3: PREVENT FUTURE CONTAMINATION

A fully restored hydraulic system should perform as well as it did before it was contaminated, but unless several important steps are taken to prevent future contamination, your hydraulic system will require additional costly repairs as further damage compromises its performance. With a bit of care and a regular maintenance schedule, though, it is possible to keep any system, in virtually any application, running smoothly and contamination-free.

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