Maintenance Matters in Conveyor Hydraulic Systems
7. Maintain an oil analysis program
An effective oil analysis program can detect some early warning signs of contamination or impending component failure. For example, rising metal levels in the oil can indicate serious pump wear and tear. Alternatively, analysis trends may indicate that oil change intervals can safely be increased. At minimum, check your hydraulic systems by analysis no less than annually. On a telescoping radial stacker, due to its continuous operation of belts, feeders, pump, and computerized hydraulic systems, oil sampling is recommended every 500 hours.
8. Commit to a “complete” approach
Should a component failure occur, conduct a failure analysis. What caused the failure and how might it be avoided in the future? Consider that, if a hydraulic motor has failed, contamination has affected the entire system. If a pump has failed, metal is flaking into the system. Yes, replacing either of these components will get the system up and running, but it is a must to take the next step of cleaning out the entire system — including all the hoses and tanks — to ensure the removal of contamination. Make sure that systems are cleaned externally as well. It is advisable to pressure wash the outside and top of the hydraulic tank. Also, wash the oil filter assembly and the area around the oil filter.
The integrity of hydraulic systems is directly tied to the reliable performance of material handling systems. For example, in the case of telescoping radial stacking conveyors, hydraulics and valves hold the unit in position during operation. Valve contamination could allow inconsistent operating height levels and serious safety risks. So keep a heads up on hydraulic equipment, as its proper maintenance really does matter. AM
Material supplied by Superior Industries, a manufacturer of conveyor systems and components. Contributors include Superior Industries Customer Service Agent Lyle Hettver; and Brian Pichlar, service manager for Superior Industries dealer R.B. Scott.