Five Ways to Identify Hydraulics Malfunctions

HydraulicsValvesCountless industries use hydraulic machinery in different settings. Automotive repair, the construction industry, the entertainment business, aerospace companies, and municipalities all rely on hydraulics to keep their businesses running on a day to day basis.  

Keeping your hydraulic machinery functioning means regularly auditing it. You want to make sure you identify any signs of trouble before problems become serious. Some new machinery has the ability to alert you through a maintenance system when there is a problem and the machine needs service. But of course, simply checking the machine on a regular maintenance schedule will ensure that the machinery is working properly.  

You should also train all of your employees to recognize the early signs of hydraulics malfunction
This will let them alert you to any potential trouble with (hopefully!) plenty of time to fix the problem before it becomes a serious issue.  

A few ways to identify a hydraulics malfunction:  

  • Unusual sounds. Most hydraulics machinery works fairly quietly. If you start to hear noises and rattles from your hydraulics, something is probably going wrong.  
  • Exterior or interior leaks. External hydraulic leaks are easy to spot; if your machinery is leaking on the outside, you need to try and figure out what’s wrong immediately. Internal leaks can be harder to spot; watch for poor performance or sudden drops in pressure.  
  • Too hot. Any machinery will heat up when it's being used, but if hydraulic machinery gets too hot, it will stop working as effectively.  
  • Irregular movement. Sometimes hydraulics will continue to function but their speed becomes inconsistent or irregular. 
  • Clouded oil. If the fluid inside your hydraulic machinery becomes milky instead of clear, it has been contaminated. This will keep your machinery from operating properly.  

CylinderTableBefore you call in machinery repair experts, there are a few troubleshooting techniques you can try on your own.  

First, check fluids and filters. Make sure your reservoir fluids are at the right level and none of the hoses are clogged.  

Next, you can use an infrared thermometer to look for the part of the machine that is generating the most heat.   Since overheating fluids can cause problems, this can give you an idea of where to look for trouble.  

Review your schematics. These documents can help you understand how fluids create pressure and flow through the machinery, which can help you narrow down where the problem is.  

If none of these issues solves the problem, it may be time to call in professional maintenance for your machinery to avoid further damage.  


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