Hydraulic Fluid Maintenance

Hydraulic Fluid & Equipment

  • Should be maintained properly even before the installation of the fluids.
  • All fluids should be stored inside sealed containers, or under a roof and on their sides to minimise entry of water and dirt.
  • Caps and drums tops should be cleaned thoroughly before opening.
  • Only clean hoses and containers should be utilised to transfer fluids from cans, drums or bulk storage areas to hydraulic reservoirs. These hoses should be equipped with proper filtration devices.
  • The reservoir to which the fluid is to be placed should also contain a mesh screen on its filler pipe.

The installation of the hydraulic fluid itself

  • Should be done properly and correctly and to clean equipment.fluid
  • Use only the type and grade hydraulic fluid recommended by the hydraulic equipment manufacturer or by the fluid supplier.
  • Different types of hydraulic fluids should not be mixed.
  • Before installing the hydraulic fluid, the system should be flushed and cleaned exactly as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • All hydraulic filters and air breathers should be checked before filling.
  • The hydraulic system itself should be thoroughly checked to eliminate leaks or entry points for contaminants.
  • The equipment should them be filled to the proper level.
  • Once the system is filled proper maintenance and monitoring should be carried out throughout the life of both the fluid and equipment in question.

The Hydraulic Fluid

  • Should be replaced at recommended drain intervals and the system should be drained when it is warm and has just been circulated so that the maximum amount of contaminant is removed
  • Proper maintenance of the hydraulic system includes replacing filters and air breathers at recommended intervals and training operators to service the equipment.
  • Whether replacing hydraulic system components or in the course of general maintenance, cleanliness should be maintained at all times.
  • The use of quick-disconnect fittings is useful in eliminating contaminate entry.
  • Fittings should be wiped clean before use and should be covered when not in use.

Proper Hydraulic Fluid filtration

  • Should be provided to keep contamination levels down.
  • Selection of appropriate filters and their strategic placement in proper parts of the system is vital in a well maintained system.
  • Filter size should be checked with manufacturer before installation. Some filters employed today are so effective there is a chance they will filter out certain additives if proper selection is not maintained.
  • Filtration and contamination are important aspects of maintenance and are well-documented.

The quality of the Hydraulic Fluid in the reservoir and the system is also critical.

  • Insufficient fluid can limit complete immersion of some components and can allow the air to be drawn into the system
  • Drawing air into the system creates “spongy” cylinder action and can set up pump cavitation conditions which result in high or catastrophic wear.
  • Therefore, it is important to prevent fluid leakage and to make sure the fluid level is always full.

The Hydraulic Fluid itself should be monitored on a periodic basis.

  • Manufacturer’s recommendations should be thoroughly followed and a program should be developed to adhere to these recommendations.
  • Fluid should be drained and replaced as required.
  • Continued use of a fluid that has outlasted its life in the long run causes costly down time due to equipment outages.

Since Hydraulic Fluids are increasing in cost, and reclamation procedures have improved greatly, more and more hydraulic oil users are reclaiming their own hydraulic fluids. If reclaimed fluid is to be utilised, care must be taken that the fluid has been reclaimed properly and its quality has been put back to its original state.