Powered by Blogger.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Choosing the right hydraulic oil.

Choosing the right hydraulic oil.

Choosing the right hydraulic oil can save your business a lot of money... but choosing the wrong hydraulic fluid could cost you a fortune.

Most industrial machines, construction machines, aircraft, motor vehicles and marine craft use hydraulic systems. The hydraulic system refer to the mechanism of using fluid to generate power or force to perform a function; and the hydraulic oil is the fluid used to provide the power.

Before choosing the right hydraulic oil we need to know what’s available. 

Hydraulic oil is basically made of a basic oil which is
combined with other additives like anti-wear additives, anti-oxidants, detergents, anti-foaming agents; which all play a role when choosing the correct hydraulic oil for the application.
  • Mineral oil: This is basically petroleum or mineral based oil. This oil is of low cost and easily available. This is one of the commonly used oil as it serves all almost all the properties of hydraulic oil. The disadvantages are low fire resistance and low biodegradability. 
  • Phosphate ester oil: This type of synthetic hydraulic oil is basically phosphate ester based, which is formed by the reaction of two compounds: phosphoric acid and aromatic alcohols. This oil has properties like very good fire resistance. Its drawbacks are low compatibility with adhesives, paints, polymers and it is also toxic. 
  • Polyol ester oil: This is another synthetic hydraulic oil formed by fatty acids and synthesized alcohols reactions. This oil has good lubrication properties and is fire resistant. It is expensive compared to other oils but very environment friendly. 
  • Water glycol oil: This oil consists of 35-60% water in a solution with additives. It is highly fire resistance, biodegradable and non-toxic. The basic drawback is that there is deterioration of hydraulic oil properties with water evaporation. 
  • Vegetable oil: This hydraulic fluid is made mainly of Canola oil. It is similar to polyolesters in chemical structure. It has good lubrication properties, non-toxic and biodegradable. Its main drawback is its low oxidation resistance. 

How to go about choosing the right hydraulic oil to maximize performance of a system. 

According to numerous research studies, the majority of problems in hydraulic machines can be attributed to problems with the hydraulic fluid. Factors to consider when choosing the right hydraulic oil
  • The first factor the user should check is the OEM manual. He should also check the specific lubrication rules or standards and other specifications. 
  • The most critical and expensive part of a hydraulic system is the pump. The operators need to find the maximum viscosity or thickness of the oil when the machine starts and how long it will run considering seasonal and other influences as well. 
  • It is to be noted that higher the viscosity, the higher the energy input, and therefore costs increase.
  • Higher viscosity oil can also cause cavitation and filter damage, leading to expensive downtime. 
  • On the other hand, there is risk involved in low oil viscosity as well. It can lead to insufficient lubrication between the moving parts, which results in accelerated wear. This usually happens in areas of high load contact and can lead to catastrophic failure. 
  • Increased wear and tear of the hydraulic system can lead to problems like leakage and system noise during operation. 
  • It is thus advisable to always to check the OEM guidelines to find the correct viscosity when choosing the right hydraulic oil for use in a particular application. 
  • Once you select the correct viscosity oil, the next factor to consider when choosing the right hydraulic oil is the operating temperature of the system. Most hydraulic machines have wide operating temperatures depending on location, season, and application area. All these have an impact on the hydraulic oil viscosity and its lubrication properties. 
Take time and do your homework when choosing the right hydraulic oil, it could make a difference in the way your plant operates. If you have any doubts or need professional advice contact the professionals at Habot Synthetic Lubricants.