Tips For Hydraulic Fluid Maintenance In Your Machine Shop

Whether you've just taken over management of a machine shop or you're just looking for ways to save money in your existing facility, one of the things you should do is look closely at your preventative maintenance. Many machine shop owners overlook the importance of inspecting their hydraulic fluid on a regular basis. If you're wondering why you would want to do that or what you should be looking for, here's some information to clear things up.

What's The Benefit Of Inspecting Hydraulic Fluid?

There are many different reasons to inspect your hydraulic fluid, but two of them stand out for business owners with a focus on the bottom line.

Inspecting your hydraulic fluid could save you on unnecessary fluid costs – Since most hydraulic fluids are designed to hold up for several years, inspecting the fluid when you do maintenance may help you to avoid the annual fluid replacement cycle. If your hydraulic fluid is still in good condition, there's no reason to invest in replacing the fluid every year. Many machine shop owners do this as a precaution, but it's a waste of money if the fluid is still clean and functional. It's costly to buy fluid, and it's also a waste of production time and labor to do the work. Not only that, but only replacing hydraulic fluid when it's necessary reduces the environmental costs of production and disposal.

You can detect and prevent problems – Evaluating the condition of your hydraulic fluid can actually tell you a lot about what's going on with your equipment. For example, if you can see metal shavings or other debris in the fluid, that's a sign that there's a problem inside the machine that needs attention. If the fluid looks dirty, it may mean that your filters need to be replaced. The sooner you spot problems like these, the sooner you can address them. By addressing them early, you may even be able to minimize your repair costs because you can fix a problem before it leads to a catastrophic failure.

How Do You Monitor The Fluid?

In order to be sure that you're keeping up with your monitoring and getting the most from the process, there are a few things that you should do.

Work With An Analysis Provider – If you want to get the most possible information from your hydraulic fluid monitoring, you'll want all the details you can get about its condition. When you work with a company that does fluid analysis, they can test the fluid regularly for viscosity, oxidation, water concentration, any additives, and metal shaving presence. Many companies will even give you a particle count so that you know how dirty the fluid is at any given time. This can help you assess your filter operation, too.

Set And Follow A Sample Schedule – If you're working with a sample analysis company, you'll want to set a solid schedule for drawing the samples. When it's predictable and consistent, you'll be able to compare your results and identify trends in how your equipment is operating. You should try to plan each sample test for a couple of weeks before your preventative maintenance appointment so that you can identify any potentially serious problems before the technician comes to your shop.

When you understand how your hydraulic fluid affects the operation of your equipment, how important it is to keep it in good condition, and the best ways to monitor it, you can extend the life of the fluid and your equipment. Work with your fluid supplier to be sure that you have quality hydraulic fluid and a solid cleanliness target so you know what to watch for in your test results. Check out websites like to learn more.