When a hydraulic system fails, it can lead to unnecessary downtime and production loss. However, you can prevent these mishaps by troubleshooting the system properly.
The first step in the process is to identify the problem. This is usually accomplished through a detailed inspection of the machine and its components.
1. Check the Pressure
When it comes to troubleshooting hydraulic system components, one of the most important tips is to always check the pressure. It’s a great way to find out what’s wrong and avoid any unnecessary downtime.
The pressure in a hydraulic system is determined by a number of factors. Some of these include air trapped in the system, a pump that’s too hot or cold, and leaks. It’s also important to check the filter. If the filter is dirty, this will affect system performance.
In addition, it’s important to check the fluid level and condition of the oil. If the fluid is low, you should drain it and replace it with fresh oil.
If you’re unable to diagnose the issue on your own, it may be time to call in the pros. Hydraulic engineers have the knowledge and tools to identify any problems you may be facing, which will save you time and money in the long run.
To speed up the process, it’s important to study a hydraulic schematic before troubleshooting. This will help you locate the source of the problem, even if it’s in an out-of-the-way place.
A hydraulic schematic is a visual guide that shows the relationship between pumps, motors, valves, manifolds and accumulators. It also includes lines that connect the various parts.
2. Check the Temperature
Hydraulic systems are one of the most efficient ways to create movement in industrial applications. They're widely used in paper mills, logging, manufacturing, and steel processing.
The most basic hydraulic system is composed of a pipe with a weight or piston on one end to compress the liquid and force it through the other narrower pipe at high speed. It works in a similar way to how water flows through a syringe and doesn't squish.
As a result, the fluid isn't prone to overheating or freezing, even when the system is working at sub-optimal levels. That's why checking the temperature is crucial when troubleshooting hydraulic system components.
When the temperature of a system exceeds 180degF/82degC, it should be shut down immediately. This is because excess heat can damage parts, cause system failure and possibly kill workers or equipment.
While this is a serious concern, the good news is that it's easily fixed. Just remember to follow the steps below when determining what's causing the system to run hot.
During the troubleshooting process, it's important to be careful when attempting to access hard-to-reach valves and manifolds. Check a schematic of the system first before stepping foot in a difficult area.
3. Check the Fluid Level
The fluid level is one of the most important factors to consider when troubleshooting hydraulic system components. A low fluid level can lead to problems with leaks, overheating ,and reduced performance.
The first step in troubleshooting a problem with the fluid level is to check the reservoir. This is a plastic container that sits to the side of your radiator and serves as an overflow receptacle for excess coolant. Fill it to the proper level and inspect for leaks and debris.
Another common cause of a fluid level issue is a pump or motor that is leaking or a coupling that is sheared. The solution to this is to determine what caused the leak, then repair or replace. it
Leaks can occur due to a variety of reasons, including improper assembly, improper torque or alignment, burrs, scratches, nicks, foreign particles, pinched o-rings ,and faulty sealants. When repairing or replacing these parts, it is also necessary to take into account any corrosion or damage to the component.
Noise and vibration are another issues that can affect hydraulic systems. Generally, this is the result of pumps, fluid velocity, aeration, and cavitation, but it can be caused by many other sources, too.
4. Check the Lubricants
The lubricants that are used in hydraulic systems play an important role in their performance. Hence, it is essential that they are regularly checked and tested. Tests are done to ensure that the lubricants have the right viscosity, specific gravity, acidity, water content ,and contaminant level for the type of equipment being used.
If the lubricants are not of the right quality, they will affect the performance of your hydraulic system. So, it is important to check them and replace them as necessary.
Aside from checking the lubricants, it is also important to know their proper usage. This will help you maintain a healthy hydraulic system and reduce the risk of any damages occurring.
It is advisable to use hydraulic oil of the correct viscosity and temperature. This will prevent the damage caused due to heat.
Moreover, it is crucial to keep the reservoir clean and dry. This is because dirt and grime can cause damage to your hydraulic system and peripherals.
Some of the common components that require lubrication include pumps, valves, motors, and cylinders. All these components require lubrication to work properly.
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5. Check the Pressure Regulator
Pressure regulators are a common way to protect residential plumbing systems from high pressure that can lead to leaks, water hammers, and other damage. These devices reduce the pressure at which a pipe is able to open, so if you have one, it’s important that it works correctly.
When troubleshooting hydraulic system components, it’s important to check the pressure regulator first. This will help you determine what’s going wrong, and it can also save you a lot of time.
It’s also important to check the temperature of the fluid. This will help you identify if the system is overheating, which can cause serious problems.
The fluid temperature can be a result of many things, including excessive workload or heat load, a failed or worn component and internal leakage. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to make sure that the system’s reservoir is filled properly and that any airflow obstructions are cleared away.
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