Detecting a hydraulic system leak is not always easy because it’s often not as obvious as seeing a puddle of fluid on the floor. Not all leaks will reveal themselves easily, although it is extremely important to detect them because they can lead to expensive repairs, poor performance, component wear and system unreliability, all of which will affect your operation negatively.
Tracking down a leak can be challenging but it must be done to prevent unnecessary costs later on. You must check both external and internal hydraulic fluid leaks to find the source of the problem. External leaks refer to hydraulic fluids that are unintentionally exiting the system and these can, sometimes, be obvious in the form of a tear or a hole in the line. Other cases can be tricky because, sometimes, the area where the fluid gathers is not the same place as where the hydraulic fluid is exiting the system and these leaks are harder to detect. External hydraulic leaks can cause a number of problems, including wasted fluid, environmental fallout and potential liabilities as operators and technicians can fall or slip when puddles form. Additionally, external leaks can allow contaminants like dust, moisture and air to enter into the system if the problem is related to a worn-out seal and this can lead to more problems. Completing a visual inspection is the best way of tracking down the source of any external leaks and its best to clean the equipment first to better spot the fluid.
Internal fluid leaks occur within the hydraulic system. This type of leak will not cause the fluid to exit the hydraulic system but a number of problems can arise within it, and depending on the severity of the leak, it can negatively impact your system’s performance. Worn component surfaces, a poor system design, the use of incorrect parts and incorrect control tolerances can all cause internal leaks and the most common cause is basic wear and tear of the components. Once the surfaces of certain parts begin to wear away, there is more space for fluid to pass by, which can result in internal leakage. If you notice a drop in efficiency and system performance, this may be an obvious sign of an internal leak. You will also be able to rely less and less on your system and may also experience an increase in operating temperatures. It can be difficult to detect internal leaks and your first step should be to install flow meters in different locations throughout the hydraulic system to help narrow down the areas where the leak may be. If excessive clearance is causing the leak, the part in question will have to be replaced.
Hydraulic systems are complicated and often difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to leaks. Go Hydraulics can help you with all of your hydraulic repair needs. We offer a number of services, including cylinder and pump repairs, so give us a call today!