Pneumatics & Hydraulics

Condition monitoring for critical equipment

January 2024 Pneumatics & Hydraulics

Systems maintenance personnel often classify equipment as critical, based solely on its value. Instead, critical equipment should be determined by its importance to the operation and the objectives of the organisation. The importance of monitoring the condition and health of such equipment is multifaceted. When planning a maintenance management system, the inclusion of condition monitoring components is a crucial first step in achieving reliability and performance. This includes:

• Reducing downtime: Critical equipment malfunctions often result in expensive production interruptions. Consistent monitoring for contamination and system performance enables predictive maintenance − the detection of problems before they lead to breakdowns. This decreases the risk of unexpected downtime.

• Ensuring quality: The state of critical equipment directly affects product quality. Monitoring plays a key role in maintaining product consistency and adhering to quality standards.

• Financial benefits: The repair or replacement of critical equipment often comes with significant financial commitments. Monitoring ingress into the system helps prolong equipment life through early issue detection, reducing the need for costly replacements.

Hydrasales technical salesperson, Chris Banks says: “We offer a wide array of condition monitoring products tailored to different industries and applications in the field of hydraulic and lube oil systems. Our product range covers the monitoring of particulate contamination, temperature, pressure, flow rate, fluid level, and clogging. This complements our comprehensive line of filtration solutions. These ensure equipment reliability, safety and efficiency through precise monitoring and control of critical parameters.”

In a hydraulic maintenance management system, both switch products and electrical sensing, including particulate contamination monitoring, play vital roles.

Hydrasales switch products include the following:

• Pressure switches monitor hydraulic pressure and can trigger actions or alarms when pressure exceeds or falls below preset thresholds. They play a vital control function in safeguarding hydraulic components and ensuring the optimal performance and functionality of systems.

• Thermostats or temperature-sensitive switches help control the temperature of hydraulic systems. When the temperature surpasses a preset threshold, they can trigger actions like activating cooling fans or shutting down the system to prevent overheating.

• Level switches measure predetermined fluid levels in hydraulic tanks. They can engage pumps or valves to uphold the correct fluid levels, while also signalling crucial low or high levels to initiate specified actions. They play a key role in uninterrupted system operation and averting damage caused by insufficient fluid levels.

• Flow switches monitor hydraulic fluid flow rates and can trigger actions if flow rates deviate from specified ranges. They are essential for maintaining optimal flow and indicating system efficiencies.

• Clogging indicators detect clogging in hydraulic filters. They are vital for monitoring cleanliness levels, contributing to overall system wellbeing and efficiency. These indicators monitor either line or differential pressure, and signal when filter maintenance or filter element replacement is necessary to maintain optimal filtration performance for system efficiency.

Electrical sensing products from Hydrasales include the following:

• Pressure sensors continuously measure hydraulic pressure. Unusual pressure fluctuations can indicate issues such as blockage, bypass or leaks. Hydrasales supplies sensors from Euroswitch, a leading manufacturer of electronic sensors for monitoring level, pressure, temperature and flow.

• Temperature sensors have a range of functions, including activating warning alerts, controlling cooling and heating mechanisms, regulating fluid flow and viscosity adjustment, triggering system shutdowns, facilitating data collection, and supporting data analysis.

• Flow sensors provide real-time data on fluid flow rates, helping ensure proper flow and identifying system efficiencies. Hydrasales supplies variable area, oval gear, and turbine flow meters from flow measurement specialist, Badger Meter.

• Contamination monitoring products track particulate contamination and moisture as relative humidity in hydraulic fluid, with inline temperature and pressure readings. They detect the presence of particles causing wear and damage to system components. MP Filtri’s CMP range includes inline continuous monitoring products, and also the world’s most advanced mainstream portable automatic particle counter. Featuring innovative optical and photodiode technology, the LPA3 delivers a fast, accurate and comprehensive hydraulic health check.

• Particulate contamination sensors or contamination monitoring products, when combined with other electrical sensors, can support predictive maintenance strategies. Changes in contamination levels, pressure or temperature indicate impending issues, enabling proactive maintenance.

Hydrasales can assist with troubleshooting and creating the ideal maintenance management system. The integration of switching products, electrical sensing and particulate contamination monitoring enables maintenance personnel to take a holistic approach to hydraulic maintenance management. This enhances equipment performance, diminishes downtime and prolongs the life of hydraulic systems, helping to save on costly downtime.


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