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The industrial workplace has evolved and changed over the last 50 years and has made huge strides in both safety and expediency of production. One of the biggest changes implemented into the mix has been the advent of hydraulics systems during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s. Things can go wrong with hydraulics and it’s important to know how to troubleshoot the problem when these issues arise.
The basic principles or universal truths of hydraulics systems should always be on your mind when working on a system. Some of these truths include: hydraulic fluid under pressure will always take the path of least resistance, hydraulic pumps create flow, not pressure, and when there is a resistance to flow, it creates pressure.
Problem identification is the first order of business to conduct when there is a problem. Find out all of the parameters and conditions going on when the problem first arose. Were there any errors tripped with the machine? What kind of error code was thrown? What condition is the machine in? Was the machine due for a servicing?
There are more things to consider when gathering all of the information pertinent to the problem. Once all the data is collected, you can assess what to do next and fix the problem.
This entails going back through work logs and service logs to determine if there has been a slip up on the personnel-level. This happens more often than you would think and it’s always good to check that possibility off of the list early in the process.
Through checking of the logs and the machine data, you may catch something that has tripped a code or caused the relevant hydraulic issue to crop up. Catching problems at this stage can save you from a deeper dive into the workings of the machine itself and it will save you the time and labor involved in doing so.
This is your last resort before delving into the machine itself; studying schematics of the machine’s hydraulic system can pinpoint the problem. The schematic worksheet shows the routing of hydraulics and their interplay within the machine via motors, valves, pumps, and other assorted parts. Consulting this worksheet lays everything out in front of you and you can retrace steps and see where the problem resides and the possible fixes or tests that can be run to replicate the problem and then engineer a fix.
This is where you can check the internal workings of the system, making sure everything is working as it should. Pressures are checked and valves are checked as well to make sure that they’re not stuck open which could cause excessive heat which can damage the system. Temperatures can also be checked with a temperature gun or an infrared camera to make sure the temperatures are within manufacturer’s limits. Accumulator checks should also be done at this stage to make sure that they are in proper order.
This is a snapshot of the hydraulic system after you fix the problem. It should show all relevant data that was compiled after the fix was made showing conditions of various parts of the system. Also temperatures readings and pressure readings should be jotted down in this checklist along with fluid levels and other pertinent information.
The reason that this is done is to have a log of when the machine was last fixed so that the next time a problem arises, the technician can look the checklist over and compare it to the current issue. Problems can sometimes be sourced faster with this information on-hand.
Learn hydraulic troubleshooting systems and more with NTT Inc. Seminars, which are run frequently and address common problems and even some uncommon ones. Contact us today to get your hydraulic systems expertise up to speed! NTT Training Inc. is an accredited (ACCET) company.
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