April 20, 2004 

'Inside Hydraulics' Newsletter

1. Think 'surplus' and save
2. The true cost of oil leaks
3. Carrying out effective repairs to hydraulic cylinders
4. Content for your web site or e-zine
5. Help us spread the word
6. Tell us what you think


Think 'surplus' and save

An often overlooked way of saving money when replacing a hydraulic component is to purchase a 'surplus' new or rebuilt unit. This is particularly the case if the component you need is no longer in production or has a high price tag.

It is not uncommon for fluid power distributors and owners of hydraulic equipment to accumulate inventory of hydraulic components, which have become obsolete or surplus to their requirements. The owners of this stock are often willing to sell these components below replacement cost.

But when you consider all the different types, sizes and variations in hydraulic components and the number of manufacturers producing them, finding the exact component you require can be like "looking for a needle in a haystack".

You can dramatically improve your chances of finding a surplus component that matches your requirements by using the Internet. Hydraulic Supermarket operates a free, online marketplace, which is dedicated to the trading of surplus hydraulic components. This marketplace allows sellers of surplus components to submit their inventory for inclusion in a database. Buyers looking for a surplus component can search this database and when a match is found, submit an offer to the seller.

To search for or sell a surplus hydraulic component using this unique facility go to: http://www.HydraulicSupermarket.com/market

2.   The true cost of oil leaks

Hydraulic systems are often considered perennial consumers of oil and in turn, make-up fluid an inherent cost of operating hydraulic equipment. But what is the real cost of one or more "minor leaks" on your hydraulic equipment? To answer this question, the costs associated with all of the following factors need to be considered:

  • Make-up fluid.
  • Clean-up.
  • Disposal.
  • Contaminant ingress.
  • Safety.

Make-up fluid

The cost of make-up fluid should be the most obvious cost of hydraulic system leaks. I say 'should be' because many hydraulic equipment users fail to consider the accumulative effect on the cost of one or more slow leaks over time.

Consider a leak from a hydraulic fitting that produces six drops of oil per minute. Hardly worth your attention, right? If the volume of each drop was half a milliliter, over 24 hours the loss is nearly half a liter - perhaps not a significant amount. But over a month this equates to 15 liters and 180 liters over the course of a year. Assuming a fluid cost of $2 per liter, this "minor leak" is costing $360 per annum in make-up fluid alone.


Where there are oil leaks there is almost always a clean-up cost to consider. Clean-up costs include:

  • labor;
  • equipment required to empty sumps and drip trays, and degrease machine surfaces; and
  • consumables such as detergents and absorbent material.
Assuming it costs $10 per week in labor, equipment and consumables to clean up the minor leak discussed above, the annual clean-up bill totals more than $500.


I can remember a time, not so long ago, when waste oil companies used to pay for the privilege of emptying waste hydraulic oil tanks. These days they bill you for the privilege. Environmentally acceptable disposal of waste oil and absorbent material containing waste oil costs money.

Assuming a disposal cost of $0.60 per liter, the annual disposal costs attributable to the minor leak discussed above amounts to $110.

Contaminant ingress

Where oil leaks out, contaminants such as air, particles and water can get in. Costs to consider here include:


In many situations, oil leaks can pose a safety hazard. Like the costs associated with contaminant ingress, the costs associated with the safety risk posed by oil leaks are difficult to quantify - short of a lost time accident actually occurring. In addition, the cost of minimizing the safety risk can be obscured. An example would be more frequent clean-up than may otherwise be required. This hides what is essentially a safety cost in clean-up expenses.


The annual cost of one slow leak, similar to that discussed above, amounts to nearly $1,000 per year in make-up fluid, clean-up and disposal costs alone. If you have multiple pieces of hydraulic equipment with several leaks on each one, the accumulative cost over an extended period of time should alarm you. Inspect your hydraulic equipment today and tag all leaks for corrective action during the next available maintenance outage. It could save you a lot of money.

"This book has the potential to save many organizations lots of m0ney. It should be on the bookshelf of every engineer, supervisor, planner and technician that deals with hydraulic equipment... it's worth its weight in gold." Find out more

Alexander (Sandy) Dunn
Plant Maintenance Resource Center

3.   Carrying out effective repairs to hydraulic cylinders

For some practical advice on carrying out effective repairs to hydraulic cylinders, read Brendan Casey's article in the January-February Issue of Machinery Lubrication magazine, available here. To receive a complimentary subscription to this informative magazine (US and Canada only) go to: http://www.machinerylubrication.com/hydraulic1.asp

4. Content for your web site or e-zine

Need some fresh content for your web site or e-zine? You now have permission to reprint these 'Inside Hydraulics' articles on your web site or in your e-zine, provided:

1. Each article is printed in its full form with no changes.

2. You send an e-mail to editor@hydraulicsupermarket.com to advise us where you'll be publishing them.

3. You include the following acknowledgement at the end of each article:
About the Author: Brendan Casey has more than 16 years experience in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of mobile and industrial hydraulic equipment. For more information on reducing the operating cost and increasing the uptime of your hydraulic equipment, visit his web site: http://www.InsiderSecretsToHydraulics.com

5. Help us spread the word

If you've found our 'Inside Hydraulics' newsletter interesting and informative, then chances are you have a colleague who would too. Help spread the word about 'Inside Hydraulics' by forwarding this issue to a colleague. If they share your interest in hydraulics, then they will surely appreciate being told about this newsletter.

New subscribers can get the newsletter by completing the form at http://www.insidersecretstohydraulics.com

6. Tell us what you think

We would love to hear what you think of this issue of our 'Inside Hydraulics' newsletter. And of course, if you have any suggestions for future issues, please send us those too.

Just e-mail the editor at: newslettersuggestions@hydraulicsupermarket.com

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