If you’ve had experience working with hydraulic equipment, chances are you’ve encountered a hydraulic system with cloudy oil, indicating contamination by water exceeding its saturation level. Typically, this level ranges from 200 to 300 parts per million (ppm) at 68°F (20°C) for mineral hydraulic oil.

The presence of cloudy oil suggests a minimum water content of 200 – 300 ppm. Recently, I inspected a hydraulic system with cloudy oil that was found to contain over 1% (10,000 ppm) water.

An effective method to remove water from the oil is to continuously pass a small amount (~4 SCFM) of desiccant dry air (with a -40°F dew point) through the reservoir. This method, known as “headspace flush,” is simple yet efficient. Another approach involves installing a desiccant breather on the tank and connecting a vacuum pump to the headspace, ideally positioned far from the breather port.

Preventing water ingress is more cost-effective than removing it from the Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida oil. One common point of water ingress is through the reservoir breather. Many hydraulic system reservoirs have breather caps that permit moisture and particles to enter as fluid volume changes occur due to temperature fluctuations or cylinder actuation.

Replacing the standard breather cap with a hygroscopic breather can prevent moisture and particle ingress through the reservoir vent. These breathers utilize a woven-polyester media that filters particles as small as 3 microns and usually incorporate silica gel desiccant to remove water vapor from the air. This setup maintains relative humidity levels in the reservoir headspace, reducing the likelihood of condensation and effectively preventing water ingress at this juncture.

Typically, there are two primary reasons for requiring an oil change, one being oxidative degradation. Determining if oil has reached the end of its lifespan due to this condition relies on regular oil analysis.

The oxidative state of Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida hydraulic oil is gauged by measuring its total acid concentration. When oxygen reacts with hydrocarbon molecules, it initiates a chain reaction leading to the creation of organic acids. These acids darken the oil, elevate viscosity, decrease resistance to foaming and air release, and contribute to the formation of varnish and sludge, rendering the oil unfit for further use.

The total acid number (AN) test quantifies the alkaline volume, typically potassium hydroxide (KOH) in milligrams (mg), needed to neutralize the acidic constituents found in one gram (gm) of used oil.

New zinc-based mineral hydraulic oils may initially exhibit a relatively high AN, ranging from 1 to 1.5 mg KOH/gm due to their additive content. Initially, this value diminishes as additives deplete. However, as oil ages and undergoes oxidation, the formation of acidic by-products reverses this decline, causing the AN to elevate.

For mineral hydraulic oils, an AN of 2.0 mg KOH/gm typically signals the need for an oil change. However, synthetic esters and certain triglycerides (such as vegetable-based oils) may tolerate AN levels as high as 5.0 mg KOH/gm before necessitating an oil change.

As per a report by Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida, it’s estimated that hydraulic equipment leaks a staggering 370 million liters of oil annually. This becomes even more alarming when considering that just one liter of oil can contaminate up to one million liters of water, as highlighted in the same article.

Let’s delve into a hypothetical scenario: What if environmental activists advocated for legislation mandating all users of hydraulic equipment to meticulously track and document all oil deliveries and disposals? This would entail recording the initial volume, subsequent deliveries of new oil throughout the year, and the volume of used oil sent for disposal during the same period. Any deficit between purchased new oil and disposed used oil (adjusted for volume on hand) would be deemed as environmental pollution, incurring penalties or fines on a per-gallon basis.

If you were to analyze your Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida hydraulic oil usage under such scrutiny, how would your figures stack up? Particularly if you oversee multiple machines, accurately measuring and recording all top-offs becomes crucial.

In my experience, many Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida hydraulic equipment users overlook this practice. However, those clients who have implemented it, albeit reluctantly, often discover the significant volume of oil lost by individual machines annually.

Undoubtedly, it’s an additional task to manage. Yet, controlling anything effectively necessitates precise measurement, echoing the wisdom of management guru Peter Drucker: “What gets measured gets managed.”

Moreover, beyond the financial implications of replenishing lost Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida fluid and the environmental impact, there’s the expense linked with cleanup, proper disposal, and the potential hazards posed by machinery leaks. Additionally, where oil escapes, contaminants can infiltrate, further exacerbating costs, especially if proper filtration measures aren’t enforced.

While downtime for leak repairs may seem burdensome, it’s frequently cited as an excuse rather than a genuine obstacle. A case in point: At a large plant, the maintenance department estimated the cost of rectifying all hydraulic oil leaks at $28,000. Management initially balked at this figure until they learned that the current oil consumption stood at around 3 drums per week, totaling approximately $1350. In essence, the return on investment for fixing leaks amounted to just five months.

As winter settles in across the northern hemisphere, it’s crucial to consider a potential issue regarding hydraulic oil heaters:

During a recent major service on an industrial Car Lift Repair Tampa Florida hydraulic power unit, technicians stumbled upon clumps of a black, tar-like substance at the tank’s bottom while cleaning it out. Tasked with identifying the cause, I investigated further.

Despite the power unit being diligently maintained, boasting sufficient cooling capacity, and lacking any history of overheating, thermal degradation of the oil seemed an unlikely culprit for the sludge deposits.

However, upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the hydraulic tank housed an electric immersion heater. Upon reviewing its specifications, it became evident that it was a standard water heating element. This mishap of installing standard immersion elements—designed for water heating—into hydraulic tanks is not uncommon.

The issue stems from the fact that immersion elements meant for heating water typically possess a heat density of 40 watts per square inch (6 watts per square centimeter), which is excessive for heating oil. Consequently, the oil in contact with the element tends to burn or carbonize.