Working with heavy machinery and material handling equipment means working closely with hydraulic systems. You rely on these systems to perform efficiently. Unfortunately, breakdowns happen, and repairs and downtime are often costly. But, how can you keep these hard-working machines up and running and avoid chipping away at your bottom line? Triad Diagnostic Solutions has some great suggestions: Keep your hydraulic systems clean, dry, cool, and regularly tested with Jaltest.

How Hydraulic Systems Lose Efficiency

Inefficiency – or energy loss – in hydraulic systems comes from many different sources. When it comes to assessing the efficiency of your equipment, you need to evaluate the ratio of output power to input power. For example, if a system can put out 100 hp of power, but requires 125 hp of input from a prime mover, then the system is only 80% efficient. So, you might take a further evaluation and identify the source of the problem.

Inefficiency causes include:

  • Fluid selection, or oil viscosity that’s too low or too high for the machine
  • Excessive leakage in actuators
  • Inadequately set pressure controls
  • Lack of temperature control of fluid
  • Contamination of fluid
  • Conductors and connectors not optimally sized

Keeping Systems Clean

Nearly 75% of all mechanical failures in hydraulic systems can be linked back to fluid contamination!? It’s true! That’s not just because the nature of your work is messy, but because modern systems are more sensitive to contaminants than older systems. So, the best way to prevent any contamination, even in new fluid, is to keep it filtered. This is especially true when transferring to holding tanks. Industry standards suggest that hydraulic oils be filtered to 1-micron. In addition, many experts recommend you find a system capable of both flushing and filtering to ensure your hydraulics don’t run into any contamination issues.

Dry It Off

When dealing with expensive, heavy-duty construction equipment, moisture is never a good thing. While shielding your gear from the elements may not always be possible, protecting the hydraulic systems is vital! Even the slightest bit of moisture can quickly oxidize and rust hydraulic components, leaving you with a nasty repair bill. Still, storing your equipment indoors is likely to increase your chances of moisture in hydraulic fluids and the system. So, it’s best to keep your equipment in a covered but open-air location so you can avoid this problem.

Cool Things Down

Next to contamination, heat is one of the major issues that prevent hydraulic systems from working efficiently. Temperatures that reach above 140 degrees Fahrenheit will break down hydraulic fluids more quickly. Unfortunately, when this happens, the hydraulic system loses pressure and thus power, reducing your chances of getting a job done for the day. Furthermore, a breakdown in fluids means limited lubrication. Limited lubrication then results in more heat and increases your potential for catastrophic malfunctions and repairs. So, make sure your hydraulic systems remain well ventilated and cool during usage.

Perform Routine Tests

Preventative maintenance on any of your equipment is the best way to stay ahead of any potential issues. While a system may appear to be running fine, it’s always a good idea to run routine diagnostics with your Jaltest diagnostic tools. With these checks, you can prepare for regular maintenance on reservoirs, oil level switches, breathing caps, and heat exchanges. Additionally, you can dive deep into the system to identify any calibrations that need to be made to ensure you’re increasing the efficiency of the hydraulics. Further diagnostics can include inspections of the pumps, accumulators, and valves.

Finally, running a final systems check with your Jaltest kit will help you flag any areas of concern. Final repair recalibrations ensure your repair or maintenance service is done correctly and your equipment is ready for more use. Making it a habit to perform these checks will ensure that your systems remain healthy and error-free.

Diagnostic Efficiency Matters

While the performance of your hydraulic systems matter, so does your capabilities to perform efficient diagnostics. With Jaltest from Triad Diagnostic Solutions, you can quickly access the onboard OEM system and perform dealer-level scans. With system checks and calibration guides at your fingertips, you can have any of your off-highway or material handling equipment back up and running. You can even decrease downtime in maintenance related to commercial trucks and agricultural equipment. So, contact us today, and we’ll help you keep your equipment in tip-top shape and improve job efficiency overall.