Hakan Reuterwall, Technical Director, Europafilter Asia.
At least 75 per cent of all systems containing oil fail due to contamination or use of ageing oils. Contamination decreases the ability of valves to control flow and pressure, thus wasting horsepower and generating excess heat. Ball bearings break because they can't maintain their oil film. Furthermore, it causes parts to stick due to sludge and varnish built up. The key issue for everybody, everywhere, today, should be reliability in production. Keep the oil clean, stop the oxidation and never change oil again.
Hydraulic system contaminants can be particles-hard and soft-and also water. Contaminants enter hydraulic systems through the reservoir air breather; or maybe present from the start-up of the system; or be introduced into the system through maintenance and top ups of oil. However, a major concern are particles produced through oxidation-which is an ongoing process and the main cause for all oil changes.
There are two main recommendations to follow in oil maintenance. Fill the oil system with clean oil and not the oil directly from barrels. New oil in barrel is not clean. Many oil producers guarantee an ISO 4006 level of 21/19/16 for their new oils. That is not clean oil. This oil can also contain very high water levels. So Rule 1 is to filter the oil before it enters the system.
Rule 2 is to stop oxidation in the system by removing the small particles all the way down to 0.1 micron. Also remove the water-bound, free and emulsified. Particle surface + oxygen creates oxidation. By removing both these two components, particles and water (H20), the oxidation speed gets reduced and in best cases even gets stopped.
Around 70 per cent of all particles in an oil system are smaller than 1 micron. Remove them and the problem is solved. It's impossible to stop oxidation if the particle's mass remains in the oil. If the oil system follows this process, the oil will be clean and the system will also get cleaned from varnish. Once oil oxidation is eliminated, no more oil changes are required, no more in-line filters changes are required, and there is assured increase in service intervals. This leads to reduced OPEX and CAPEX.
Maintaining clean oil is an investment for the future. Lower service costs, less breakdowns, longer machine life and increased reliability in production. Proactive maintenance is not an 'expense' it is an investment which always pays off. Reliability is not a 'cost' it is a value.
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