28 Jun

Too hot to touch? The real dangers of excess heat in your hydraulics

Have you had complaints from staff about machinery being too hot to touch? Or even worse, minor burns or near misses in the last year? Do staff need to wear gloves when using some equipment? These can often be the warnings we get, which if ignored something really bad may happen.

Do you feel like your circuitry components are failing prematurely? Or there’s just a lack of consistency in machinery movement or cycle time.

The most likely cause of machinery overheating is worn out components. Worn out fittings and components effectively allow internal leakage or fluid losses to pass through an opening. Sounds innocuous – but can result in severe consequences. Occasionally, there are other causes of excessive heat such as:

  • Incorrect pressure adjustments or flow rushing over a relief valve
  • Low cost hydraulic systems that should have been installed with a cooler.

What are the risks?

The risks in running hydraulic systems at excessive temperatures range between mild and extremely serious. Apart from breakdowns and your running costs being excessively high due to unnecessary energy consumption, there is a real potential fire hazard. Not to mention the fact that hydraulic hoses are not capable of handling high temperatures and can fail, potentially spraying hot oil to atmosphere and injuring bystanders.

  • Potential Fire Hazard
  • Hot Oil spray due to hose failure
  • Running costs excessively high
  • Machine components don’t last
  • Your machines break down more often
  • Poor machine cycle repeatability

So what are the costs?

  • Workcover claims
  • Legal action
  • Component failure and machine breakdowns
  • Energy costs. Current energy costs are the highest in Australia’s history and will only rise.

It’s impossible to give an annual $ figure on what overheated components are currently costing you in energy costs and breakdowns. The potentially cost to your business in Workcover claims and legal costs is also impossible to quantify, however it’s reasonable to assume that these could be substantial.

In 2021 we had a customer who thought running their oil temperature at 70 deg C with a pedestal fan parked near the tank was ok. They’d had a couple of minor burns in previous weeks. We attended and carried out some hot spot detection (see image below), identifying a faulty unloading relief valve. The valve was replaced in one hour, and now its running at 45 deg C. The fan is now in his office!

If you have any such heat issues in your production, give Flotek a call. We have fixed thousands of hydraulics heat issues; and can have one of our hydraulics technicians out within 48 hours anywhere in greater Melbourne to identify the cause and reduce the heat. This will reduce your energy bills, but most importantly make your machinery safe again. Call 9397 0044

Flotek can also carry out quarterly service inspection on all your machines which could save your business $1000’s.

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