While ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, we might say today, ‘a dollar of prevention is worth many thousands of dollars of downtime, shortened asset life, repair and maintenance costs and decreased productivity.’ When it comes to hydraulic systems, there are many factors that can compromise both the operation of machines and the cleanliness, or purity, of the fluids.
One of those factors is contamination. Contaminant particles can be solids or liquids ranging from visible to too small to see with the naked eye. Contaminates can cause degradation of fluids and sluggish system function as well as decrease the range of motion of equipment parts. Overall, they reduce system or equipment efficiency, leading to higher operating costs, lower productivity, more frequent servicing and – worst of all – system failure.
That is why ParkerStore offers two distinct services that can save money and avoid problems in the long run, and even in the short term. These use the latest technologies to monitor and test systems to ensure they operate with maximum reliability and efficiency.
The two services are Fluid Analysis and Condition Monitoring. Depending on their application, users may need one or both. Together, they offer a predictive maintenance programme that saves money and downtime.
So just what is predictive maintenance?
The terms preventive and predictive maintenance are sometimes interchanged, but they are in fact different concepts.
Preventive maintenance helps prevent equipment failure by systematically replacing deteriorating components and/or identifying and correcting maintenance issues before they lead to system failure.
Predictive maintenance is proactive and the techniques are designed to help determine the condition of in-service equipment in order to predict when maintenance should be performed. In a sense, predictive maintenance encompasses preventive maintenance, but does it in a way that minimises costs by performing maintenance only when necessary.
Implementing fluid analysis can help identify problems that cannot be detected by human senses and, in the end, can help prevent major hydraulic or lubricating oil system failures. The most obvious benefit is identifying any water or dirt in the fluid.
Whether talking about petroleum-based or water-based systems, it is important to realise ParkerStore fluid analysis equipment can help recognise potential problems that simply cannot be detected by the human eye. Using fluid particle detection, particles can be measured down to four microns in diameter.
ParkerStores will test for water in oil, which can cause corrosion, cavitation or even machinery failure. Making sure the Total Base Number is high enough in engine oils helps to avoid corrosion of components. Pinpointing the Total Acid Number: the weak organic and strong inorganic acids present within an oil helps to maintain and protect equipment. The service also tests for insoluble particles like soot, and monitors combustion-related debris and oxidation products in engine oils, while testing for viscosity can determine a change in the oil chemistry.
Condition monitoring can accurately pinpoint issues in equipment, taking guesswork out of the picture. Employing a condition monitoring system, which measures and tracks variables such as system pressure, temperature and humidity, is an effective predictive maintenance strategy, because it covers three critical bases:
• Provides real-time and historical data trends of assets and processes.
• Allows operators to detect and diagnose problems before they snowball into failures.
• Delivers analytics and alerts to operators.
Condition monitoring for predictive maintenance gives operators the power to predict and improve processes, so that they can optimise systems and assets based on what is happening in real-time, rather than simply reacting to unexpected events – or fixing problems that may not even exist.
In addition, there is no longer a need to stock a full inventory of spare parts because, with condition monitoring in place, maintenance personnel have plenty of time to plan and order the specific parts required.
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