Proper Filtration & Contamination

By Gary Alexander, CFPS

When it comes to the maintenance of a hydraulic system, nothing is more important than proper filtration. Statistics show that most component failures are the direct result of contaminated hydraulic oil. The expense of having to replace hydraulic components damaged by contamination is often eclipsed by the even higher cost of unscheduled downtime for the machine.  

Today’s filter manufacturers have spent millions in testing and developing filters that have extremely high efficiencies and particle-retention capabilities. In addition, many innovative methods for testing and monitoring hydraulic oil cleanliness can take the guesswork out of knowing the condition of the oil and predicting contamination-related failures before they occur.

Hydraulic particle counters and other monitoring equipment provide the means to insure that the hydraulic fluid in a given system maintains the correct level of cleanliness. Quality Hydraulics & Pneumatics, Inc. provides equipment manufactured by MP Filtri to help quantify this hydraulic fluid cleanliness level. These MP Filtri products include:

  • A bottle sampler unit with vacuum capability to remove entrapped air bubbles
  • Twin laser analyzers to be used in conjunction with the bottle sampler unit, in either a field or laboratory setting
  • Inline twin LED monitors, to be used with either programmable controllers or a computer, providing continuous monitoring of the fluid
  • Auxiliary monitoring unit for inline monitoring of a pump/motor/valve system for use with high viscosity gear fluids with entrained air bubbles.

Cleanliness monitoring equipment is designed to work within many of the ISO measuring standards including ISO 4406:1999, NAS 1638, AS 4059E and ISO 11218. Each measuring system provides a means to monitor and evaluate the ever-changing concentration levels of microscopic contaminants in the hydraulic fluid. Continuous monitoring allows the operator to adjust filtration methods and element types to control contaminant level and maintain the filtration requirements of all the system’s components. Proper filtration and fluid cleanliness help insure that all hydraulic components attain their maximum system performance and component life.