Contamination Control

Contamination Control "GOING CLEAN"

Why Control Contamination?

Experts agree that the number one enemy of a hydraulic system is fluid contamination.  Consider these statistics as evidence supporting the negative effects of contaminated oil:

  • 80% of all hydraulic system failures can be attributed to contaminated hydraulic oil
  • 85% of wear is a direct result of contaminants

Premature failure and excessive wear both translate into higher operating costs not to mention unscheduled downtime and the resulting lost production.  Contaminated systems are also less efficient which leads to an increase in heat, slower cycle times and less output overall.

What Is Contamination?

Simply stated, contamination is the presence of any unwanted substance in the fluid above acceptable levels.  Contaminants can be classified into 2 broad categories-- chemical and particle.

Water is the most common chemical contaminant.  Some sources of water could be condensation, environment, or make up oil.  Particle contaminants are common and comprise a lengthy list; some examples include dirt, cloth fibers, wear particles. Sources of particle contamination are nearly unlimited. A few common sources are make up oil, replacement components, hoses and fittings, wear particles, and the environment

How Does a System Get Contaminated?

All hydraulic systems are, or will become contaminated at some point.  The level of contamination varies based on applications and environment.  Contaminants come to exist in a hydraulic system in one of three ways:

  • Built In – These contaminants are part of the system and come from components, hoses and fittings
  • Ingress – Contaminants enter a system in a variety of ways such as leaky seals and improper breathers
  • Creation – Wear is an example of created contamination and heat can cause chemical contamination

Contamination Control Practices

Hydraulic systems will always have some level of contaminants present.  Listed below are 4 fundamental concepts that every system owner should consider regarding a comprehensive contamination control program.

  • Exclusion - Excluding contaminants from ever entering a system
  • Removal - Removing contaminants before the system is damaged
  • Measurement -  Measure system contamination at regular intervals
  • Improvement - Monitor results and continuously seek out improvements

Getting Started with Contamination Control

Complete Hydraulic Service offers a Complete Fluid Analysis (COA) service using our own in house Fluid Analysis Lab. Our skilled technicians will report results that can provide valuable information to be used for establishing a contamination benchmark. The COA program is also a critical tool for ongoing management and continuous improvement of hydraulic systems. Complete Hydraulic Service is here to help you develop an effective contamination control program and start living a contamination control lifestyle.