Customer demand for more powerful and easier to operate equipment has elevated the importance of proper hydraulic system management. The condition of a machine’s hydraulics can make a big difference in the amount of work that gets done and at what price. Cat® Dealers offer a range of integrated system management services to help machine owners maintain top performing hydraulics.
Poor system management can lead to hydraulic system component failures. When these occur, they generate large amounts of abrasive debris that circulates throughout the system. Cleaning up after a hydraulic component failure can take weeks and thousands of dollars!
Fluid contamination is the leading cause of hydraulic system failures. By learning to control contamination, you can help maintain system efficiency, extend component life and correct problems before they lead to costly repairs and unscheduled downtime. The Caterpillar Hydraulic System Management Guide explains what contamination is, how it gets in, why it’s harmful to today’s hydraulics, and how machine owners can team with Caterpillar and Cat Dealers to control it.
Internal clearance range in size from 5 to 30 microns. To put this in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is 80 microns. The smallest particle seen by the human eye is 40 microns. So, even particles too small to see can damage today’s hydraulics.
Hydraulic systems are closed systems, which means much of what you need to know is happening internally. The best way to monitor contamination and the overall health of your hydraulic system is the use of your Cat Dealer’s S.O.S℠ Services.
Regular fluid sampling identifies problems early and helps you head off major repair expenses. Caterpillar engineers and chemists have developed oil analysis tests to evaluate not just the oil, but also the condition of hydraulic components. Our skilled technicians interpret the findings and can quickly diagnose problems more accurately than independent oil labs.
- Oil Cleanliness Analysis (particle count)
- Wear Rate Analysis (component wear)
- Oil Condition Analysis (oil degradation)
- Oil Contamination Analysis (external contaminants
Efficiency loss is not easily detected and silently robs your machine of performance. Daily hydraulic system inspections performed by you and your operators can catch leaks and other small problems before they result in unscheduled downtime.
To make sure hydraulics-intensive equipment is preforming at its best, Caterpillar recommends detailed checks of the engine and hydraulics every 2,000 hours or when fluid analysis reports show high levels of contamination. These periodic inspections include checks of system pressures, cycle times and more-which can identify problems and help us recommend corrective actions.
Hydraulic System Productivity
One of the effects of fluid contamination is hydraulic system efficiency loss which occurs slowly over time. Studies show hydraulic system efficiency can erode as much as 20 percent before even the best machine operators detect there’s a problem. This equates to increased fuel usage, decrease in production, extended job times and additional wear and tear on the machine.