During a recent seminar I presented, a maintenance manager for a large open-cut mining operation mentioned he was considering upgrading the filtration system on their fleet of hydraulic mining shovels to achieve higher oil cleanliness.

There’s ample evidence showing that improving Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic oil cleanliness extends the service life of hydraulic components, all else being equal. However, whether this initiative would yield a satisfactory return on investment for the machines in question depends on various factors that I won’t delve into here. This discussion prompted me to consider a broader issue.

The Car Lift Repair Orlando maintenance routines I teach in my books and training programs aim to provide people with the knowledge they need today to optimize the reliability and service life of their current hydraulic equipment. It’s not helpful to tell someone what they should have done in the past. With this in mind, one exercise we conduct during the seminar is a maintenance and reliability audit on an existing Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic machine.

Although equipment design and maintenance are often viewed separately, certain aspects of hydraulic machine design significantly impact operating costs, reliability, and ultimately, the machine’s life-cycle cost.

Over lunch, the same maintenance manager mentioned his mine is considering replacing their aging fleet of hydraulic shovels. 

– Specify the contamination control targets based on your reliability objectives for the equipment, and instruct the manufacturer to deliver the machine appropriately equipped to meet these targets.

– Based on the weight and viscosity index of the hydraulic oil you plan to use, determine the minimum viscosity and maximum operating temperature. Instruct the manufacturer to equip the machine with the necessary cooling capacity based on your location’s ambient temperatures, rather than accepting the machine’s default cooling capacity.

It’s crucial to understand that Car Lift Repair Orlando oil viscosity and temperature are vital. Lubrication failure due to low oil viscosity is a major cause of premature hydraulic component failure, and neglecting this issue can be costly.

We could specify further details, such as requiring flooded inlets for all pumps, but you get the idea.

Next time you or your company are looking to acquire hydraulic equipment, start with the end in mind. Define your maintenance and reliability objectives in advance and make them an integral part of your equipment selection process. Neglecting to do so could result in costly mistakes in the long run.

In my previous blog post, I discussed the benefits of defining your maintenance and reliability objectives for Car Lift Repair Orlando hydraulic equipment before placing an order. Following that post, I received a response from one of our members:

“As an Car Lift Repair Orlando engineer for a heavy equipment manufacturer, I must disagree with your advice. I believe selecting a hydraulic oil and then asking the equipment manufacturer to design around it is putting the cart before the horse.

It’s much more logical for the manufacturer to design the system based on temperature, lifespan, component availability, cost, and the many other factors that go into machine design.

Would you tell Ford you have a set of brake pads and want a car designed to use them? No, you rely on the manufacturer to provide a system and follow their recommendations.”

I feel a bit like David being pounded by Goliath. The member didn’t reveal which OEM he works for, but the possibilities are intriguing.

Needless to say, I don’t agree with my colleague’s assertion that the reliability-based strategy I recommended is “putting the cart before the horse.” Let me clarify with an example:

Suppose I’m about to acquire a 25-ton hydraulic excavator equipped with Rexroth pumps and motors. According to the pump manufacturer, optimal performance and service life are achieved by maintaining oil viscosity between 25 and 36 centistokes. I also know that in my location, I expect to use ISO VG68 weight hydraulic oil with a viscosity index of 98.

Given this, Rexroth is indirectly telling me that if my new machine runs hotter than 70°C, the performance and reliability of their pumps and motors will be compromised. 

As a sophisticated buyer, I would tell the OEM before ordering the machine: “I expect ambient temperatures at my location to reach as high as 45°C, and under normal operating conditions, I want this machine to run no hotter than 70°C. If it runs at 85°C (or higher) on a 45°C day, then we’ll have a problem.”

I’m not suggesting this approach benefits the OEM—clearly, it doesn’t. It complicates their process and cuts into their after-sales revenue. No, this approach is entirely in the interest of the person responsible for keeping the machine running. 

But you can be different. The next time you or your company is looking to acquire hydraulic equipment, start with the end in mind. Define your maintenance and reliability objectives in advance and integrate them into your equipment selection process. The system had been constructed and installed by a reputable Car Lift Repair Orlando distributor. From a hydraulic engineering standpoint, the circuit was adequately designed and the system well executed. However, from a maintenance and reliability perspective, there were significant shortcomings. My client, the end user, lacked experience with hydraulic equipment and relied heavily on the company that built the system for maintenance guidance.

Although an oil analysis program had been established, it appeared that only particle contamination was being monitored closely. As readers of this blog may know, hydraulic equipment reliability involves more than just monitoring and controlling hard particle counts.

Various warning signs indicating oxidative failure of the oil went unnoticed. The oil began polymerizing, leaving gum-like deposits on internal components. These deposits obstruct lubrication passages, hinder heat transfer, and cause valve stiction. The oxidation process also reduces the oil’s resistance to foaming and its ability to release air, leading to damage from aeration and gaseous cavitation.

We must insist that you consult all of your manufacturer’s manuals regarding the best safety practices when working on hydraulic powered equipment. Serious injuries may result from complacency when it comes to workplace safety.