With proper maintenance, hydraulic compressors operate smoothly for years. Like all equipment, occasionally problems arise that are frustrating, costly, time-consuming and can lead to equipment failure. How do you know when it’s time to have your compressor repaired, cleaned and/or have parts replaced? The following are some signs that your hydraulic compressor is failing and requires maintenance and/or repair.
Abnormal noise is a sign that a compressor is not functioning properly and is often caused by aeration or cavitation.
- Aeration happens when air contaminates the hydraulic fluid causing banging or knocking noise as it circulates. Aeration accelerates the degradation of the fluid and causes damage to system components through loss of lubrication, overheating and burning of seals.
- Cavitation occurs when the volume of fluid demanded by any part of a hydraulic circuit exceeds the volume of fluid being supplied causing the absolute pressure in that part of the circuit to fall below the vapour pressure of the hydraulic fluid. This results in the formation of vapour cavities that implode when compressed, causing a characteristic knocking noise.
High fluid temperatures: Fluid temperatures above 82°C damage seals and accelerate the degradation of the fluid. Temperatures rise too high when viscosity falls below the optimum value for the system’s components. To prevent damage caused by high fluid temperature, a fluid temperature alarm should be installed in the system and all high-temperature indications investigated and rectified immediately.
Slow or erratic operation: Long cycle times or slow operation are an indication that a hydraulic compressor is failing. A loss of speed indicates a loss of flow, usually caused by internal leaks (pump, valves, actuators) and/or external leakage (burst hose). An infrared thermometer is a useful tool for identifying components with abnormal internal leakage, though a hydraulic flow-tester is often required.
How to Prevent Hydraulic System Failure
A few simple steps can reduce hydraulic system issues and increase the longevity of your compressor. Prevent hydraulic system failure by taking the following steps:
- Follow specifications: Most common hydraulic system issues trace back to incompatible or improperly installed parts. It’s essential to double-check specifications to ensure purchased parts can work together seamlessly.
- Consult with professionals: When purchasing new equipment, consult with industry peers and professionals. They can provide concrete examples of how well the equipment works for your industry.
- Perform maintenance: Review your daily, monthly and annual maintenance procedures to ensure you are covering every aspect of your system according to best maintenance practices. HIre a competent company to provide qualified service technicians for inspection and service of your compressor units.
Informed observation goes a long way toward maintaining properly functioning hydraulic compressors. To ensure your compressor continues to run smoothly, monitor noise, fluid temperature and cycle times. This helps detect conditions that lead to component failure and unscheduled downtime. To preserve functioning systems, hire a reputable service and maintenance company that specializes in hydraulic compressors. They’ll have the knowledge, skill, experience and equipment to keep your machinery humming.
Gaspro Compression Corp has qualified service technicians to inspect and service all compressor units. We rebuild many types of compressors, not limited to the oil and gas industry. Our fully stocked service trucks handle all our clients’ needs. We take pride in our work. We strive to provide dependable products and prompt service to all clients. We’re continually improving and innovating our products to meet changing industry demands. Gaspro is a leading provider of compressor packages in Canada. Contact us to request a proposal.