June 5, 2007 

'Inside Hydraulics' Newsletter

1. Breakdown Prevention Workshop - Cleveland, Ohio
2. Hydraulic equipment reliability - begin with the end in mind
3. The negative effects of overpressurization
4. Content for your web site or e-zine
5. Help us spread the word
6. Tell us what you think


Breakdown Prevention Workshop - Cleveland, Ohio

At the end of last month I ran the first of four Hydraulic Breakdown Prevention Workshops I'm presenting around Australia this year.

We had a great group - a mix of maintenance supervisors/managers and guys on the tools. The exchange of information and ideas on hydraulic equipment maintenance and failure prevention was intensive to say the least. It's fair to say none of us had much of a chance to take in the very pleasant surroundings at the Gold Coast Marriott Resort. I thoroughly enjoyed presenting the Workshop and all 14 attendees gave it the thumbs up too - average overall satisfaction came in at eight and a half out of ten.

One of the questions I asked at the start of the day was: "What is your biggest hydraulics problem?" The almost unanimous answer from the group was a lack of specific knowledge amongst maintenance personnel. While this came as no real surprise - it wasn't the answer I was expecting.

It seems awareness of the economic cost to businesses of not maintaining their hydraulic equipment properly is higher than I thought. And that's a good thing - without recognition of a problem, there can be no solution.

With all this in mind, I'm considering a fifth Workshop for the year. This one will take place in the U.S. - Cleveland Ohio, at end of November or early December. If you're interested in receiving further information, send a message containing your name, company, postal address and fax number to workshop@hydraulicsupermarket.com

In the meantime, the Hydraulic Breakdown Prevention Road Show rolls into Melbourne, Victoria on Friday August 10. For all the details, point your browser to: http://www.hydraulicsupermarket.com/workshop.pdf

"As a mechanic with more than 30 years experience, I think Industrial Hydraulic Control is excellent. I use it as my hydraulics reference." Find out more ...

R. Soebandi
Equipment Maintenance Supervisor
Oilfield Service Company

2.   Hydraulic equipment reliability - begin with the end in mind

During the Hydraulic Breakdown Prevention Workshop mentioned above, one of the attendees, a maintenance manager for a large open-cut mining operation, mentioned that he was considering upgrading the filtration on their fleet of hydraulic mining shovels - to achieve a higher level of fluid cleanliness.

There's no shortage of documented evidence to suggest that increasing hydraulic fluid cleanliness increases the service life of hydraulic components - all other things equal. Whether such an initiative would yield an acceptable return on the investment required, for the machines in question depends on a number of variables, which I don't have room to go into here. But this got me thinking about a bigger issue.

The maintenance routines I teach in my books and Workshops are about equipping people with the knowledge the need today to optimize the reliability and service life of the hydraulic equipment they have right now. And that's fair enough - it's rarely helpful and not very instructive to tell someone what they should have done yesterday. With this is mind, one of the exercises we do during my one-day Workshop is carry out a maintenance and reliability audit on an existing hydraulic machine.

Even though equipment design and equipment maintenance are often viewed in isolation, the reality is, certain aspects of hydraulic machine design have a significant impact on the machine's operating cost and reliability, and ultimately, its life-of-machine cost.

Over lunch, the same maintenance manager mentioned that his mine is starting to think about the replacement of their aging fleet of hydraulic shovels. And it occurred to me, the best time to carry out a maintenance and reliability audit on a piece of hydraulic equipment is BEFORE you buy it.

By starting with the end in mind, you get the maintenance and reliability outcomes you desire - before the machine even gets delivered. For example:

You specify the contamination control targets you want to achieve based on your reliability objectives for the piece of equipment. And instruct the manufacturer to deliver the machine appropriately equipped to achieve these targets.

Based on the weight and viscosity index of the hydraulic oil you plan to use, you determine the minimum viscosity and therefore the maximum temperature you want the machine to run at. And instruct the manufacturer to deliver the machine equipped with the necessary cooling capacity, based on ambient temperatures at your location. Rather than accepting hydraulic system operating temperatures dictated by the machine's 'design' cooling capacity - as is the norm.

If you don't think the viscosity/temperature issue is this important - you're mistaken. Lubrication failure resulting from low fluid viscosity is one of the biggest causes of premature failure in hydraulic components. If you're not on top of this issue it could be costing you big.

And we could continue by specifying things like flooded inlet for all pumps and so on. But you get the idea.

So the next time you or the company you work for are looking to acquire hydraulic equipment, begin with the end in mind. Define your maintenance and reliability objectives in advance and make them an integral part of your equipment selection process.

"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.   The negative effects of overpressurization

To understand what can happen if a pressure control device is screwed in an extra quarter turn, read Brendan Casey's article in the March-April 2007 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 17 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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