What’s That Sound? Understanding Hydraulic Power-Unit Failure

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Running machinery on a tight schedule means every component must work during each second of the workday. That knocking sound emanating from a hydraulic component isn’t welcome in any industry. There’s an issue with the hydraulics that must be addressed. If you ignore the sound, further damages occur in rapid succession.

Explore the common causes for hydraulic power-unit failure and proper services to combat these situations. Every company will have better productivity as a result.

Foreign Bodies Within Hydraulic Fluid

Hydraulic fluid is under amazing pressures. It moves, expands and contracts as the machine works through the day. If any contaminants remain in the fluid, the entire machine can break down.

Contaminants can include these items, such as:

  • Sand
  • Dust
  • Metal shavings

It’s also possible for gaseous substances to be contamination worthy as well. Because of the sensitivity involved with hydraulics, these units must be closed systems with regular maintenance built into their lifespans.

Increasing Temperatures

Hydraulics are designed to work well under specific temperatures and pressures. Go above and beyond these values, and you’ll require hydraulic power unit repair. Ideally, keep the temperature below 180 degrees Fahrenheit. This maximum temperature prevents certain damages from occurring, including:

  • Seal damage
  • Fluid degradation

Anyone working with the hydraulics should be aware of the system’s temperature at all times. If the temperature spikes and remains at that position, it’s time to troubleshoot the reasons why. Allowing the system to continue on will only damage it to a greater extent.

Cavitation Woes

Every hydraulic power unit has a different application with matching specifications. The hydraulics must have the proper amount of fluid within its system for proper operation too. High-pitched sounds emanate from your system if the fluid fails to fill the spaces during operation.

Consider these factors that arise as cavitation sounds worsen, including:

  • Vapor bubbles form within the fluid
  • Bubble compression occurs
  • Vapor bubbles pop and produce noises

The sounds may not seem like a major concern, but they indicate friction within the system. Minute materials slough off of the system’s components. You end up with contaminated fluid that further damages the hydraulics.

Excessive Pressure

Pay careful attention to pressure when it comes to hydraulic use. Over-pressurization is one of the most common causes of system failure. The fluid remains at a high pressure that’s more than the allowed specifications. These damages occur over time, including:

  • Pump failure
  • Worn fittings
  • Spent housings

Don’t operate under the impression that over-pressurizing the system will improve production. A complete breakdown will occur at some point, which leaves the company without any functionality at all.

Repairing the Parts

For minor breakdowns, repairs on the hydraulics are possible. Fittings, pump parts and other components may be swapped out by qualified personnel. Depending on the system, the repair technician might be called out to the field. Repairs performed outdoors, for example, can create their own problems with possible fluid contamination. Ideally, repair any hydraulics indoors so that a controlled environment is possible.

Rebuilding Hydraulics

At times, it makes more financial sense to rebuild hydraulics instead of repairing or replacing them. Rebuilds are perfect for situations where known failed components are isolated in the system. Replacing the failed components while retaining the good parts is quick and cost effective.

Test the rebuilt hydraulics before putting them out into the field, however. Although rebuilds have strict quality assurances, issues can arise on rare occasions.

Swapping Units

Hydraulic power unit repair or rebuilds aren’t always possible. An update might be a smart step in the right direction. Swap out the hydraulic for the latest version. Keep in mind that updated components have new specifications. Match your original specs to the new ones, such as:

  • PSI
  • Discharge flow
  • Power source

By matching the components as closely as possible, the entire system will run like brand new once again.

Take control of your hydraulic concerns by working with Motion & Flow Control Products, Inc. We can keep up with inventory levels, parts requests and even emergency needs. Maintaining your hydraulics is the best way to avoid downtime, but you still need a partner in case of such emergencies. The workday can be saved with a little observation and effort on everyone’s parts.