If you’ve recently suffered from an unexplained hydraulic pump failure, then you’re most likely to keen to find out what caused it.
A number of different factors can go into causing a hydraulic pump failure. With so many different pumps on the market, each one can have its own specific failure reason. However, in some situations there are some failure modes that are common in every type of pump. Some of these might be caused by bad design, using inferior fluids or just failing to effectively control contamination.
One of the most effective ways to prevent future hydraulic pump failures is to use quality fluids. The quality hydraulic fluid is one of the most important parts of any hydraulic system, so using the right fluids with the correct viscosity can make a huge difference to its longevity.
Primarily, it’s essential that hydraulic fluids are kept cool, dry and clean. In fact, this is one of the most important factors in keeping them high quality. Using quality filtration is another way that this can be achieved. Only use filters that are matching with the target cleanliness levels that have been determined for the hydraulic fluid in the system. Use filters in locations that will deliver protection and upgrade them when it’s necessary.
In addition to this, offline filters should also be considered. It’s quite often cheaper to remove dirt during offline times rather than doing it when the system is under high pressure.
The majority of hydraulic system failures (70%-80%) are caused by contamination. One of the worst culprits is particle contamination. Oil analysis should be performed regularly to measure particles.
With hydraulic pumps being the most expensive components, they also happen to be very sensitive to contamination and can cause chain reaction style failures. If the pump fails then it can push out debris into the pipe and this can affect components such as valves and actuators and lead to destruction of those too.
It’s important to set the cleanliness and dryness targets of your hydraulic system so that you don’t get pushed into firefighting mode which will cost you more in time, lost productivity and repair and replacement costs. Regular hydraulic pump failure can be avoided by understanding what causes it.