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The Effect of U.S. Tariffs on Fluid Power Industries

In March, President Donald Trump announced the imposition of tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The argument was that the tariffs would be vital to helping reduce America’s trade deficit. While the jury is still out on how these tariffs will affect the economy over the long term, there are some observable and predicted effects on particular industries, including fluid power industries.

Here’s some information about this from a hydraulic service in Minnesota.

Effects on the pumping industry

When the news first broke that the tariffs would be going into effect on March 23 after being announced March 8, leaders in the fluid power and pumping industries had to quickly consider questions such as:

  • Will countries beyond just Canada and Mexico be excluded from the tariffs?
  • What will other countries do in retaliation for the imposition of these tariffs?

The initial action taken by the Trump administration seemed to be directed at China and other Asian countries, but only about 10 percent of American steel imports actually come from China. (Both China and Japan mentioned strong opposition to the imposition of these imports.)

The majority of pump construction happens outside of the United States. Many pump manufacturers source their casings outside of the United States as well, so companies in the fluid power and pumping industries could expect to see some negative impacts from the increased prices caused by tariffs.

It was also not clear at first what all the tariffs would cover in relation to the hydraulic industry. The impact to production might not be significant if the tariff only affected bar stock and rolled products, but it could be significant if it also affected scrap metals, raw pellets and any other materials used in the casting process.

There was also the possibility that the tariffs could result in some pump manufacturers becoming less competitive or attractive to foreign brands. Those in the industry were encouraged to start looking at domestic suppliers for their parts, though of course, a significant amount of steel comes from outside the United States, so the supply may or may not be able to handle the sudden increase in demand that results from these tariffs.

On a worldwide level, there is also an increasing global demand in hydraulic power systems to consider. Hydraulic power is becoming a cornerstone of power systems in many industries, and these tariffs will have an impact on the ability to manufacture and deliver them.

It remains to be seen whether there will be financial benefits that result from these tariffs or not—the big thing to consider is that there will certainly be effects on the industry. It will take some time for us to truly be able to judge whether those effects are positive or negative.

If you’re interested in learning more about the effects of tariffs on the hydraulic industry, we encourage you to contact M & M Hydraulic Company to discuss hydraulic service in Minnesota. Reach out to us today!

Tips for Controlling Contaminations in Hydraulic Equipment

Today’s hydraulic systems are expected to do more than ever, and fortunately the technological advances have kept up to meet today’s hydraulic needs. However, with greater usage of hydraulic systems and extended replacement intervals comes a greater risk of system contamination. This means anyone operating hydraulic equipment on a regular basis must make controlling system contamination a priority.

Here is some information from a hydraulic service in Minnesota to help you control these contaminations.


Solid contamination can come in a variety of forms, and may even be the fault of the manufacturer of the equipment. For example, some built-in contamination may result from metal chips from the machining processes, from left-behind welding residue or rubber scraps from the hose assembly process. There are also external solid contaminations that are common in hydraulic systems, including dust and dirt from the environment in which the equipment is used.

You can reduce solid contamination through the use of filters. Once you’ve achieved your target level of cleanliness for the system, you can work with your filter supplier to figure out the filter that is most effective at maintaining that cleanliness level. Of course, you must continue to monitor the cleanliness of the system and address contaminations or contamination risk as you go.


Liquid contamination is the second most common form of contamination. It can occur due to a heat exchanger leak, contamination from water-containing fluids (such as metal removal fluids) or could simply be a result of overly humid air creating condensation inside the system. In any case, water inside a hydraulic system can be problematic, as it can reduce lubrication and result in corrosion of the equipment’s components. If it gets into the oil, it will increase oxidation.

Work with a reputable fluid supplier to get an analysis of your system performed and determine if you’ve experienced water contamination or any other type of fluid-related issue. From there you can determine the best path forward for resolving the issue and preventing it from becoming problematic again.

Air and gas

Contamination in the form of air and gases can also be problematic for hydraulic systems. These gases can get into the system from seal leaks on a pump’s suction side, through improperly designed reservoirs or through return lines ported above the fluid level. In some cases, air contamination can result in fluid foaming and damage to the pumps, due to aeration and/or cavitation.

The best way to prevent gas contamination from becoming an issue with your hydraulic equipment is to keep your pump seals in good condition. You should also ensure all reservoirs are configured with a baffle, and that the system’s return line is set below the fluid level.

Interested in learning more about how you can prevent contaminations from occurring in your hydraulic equipment? Contact M & M Hydraulic Company to speak with an experienced hydraulic service in Minnesota and get more information—we will be happy to answer any questions you have for our team about your hydraulic systems.

Safety Issues to Consider When Working with Hydraulic Accumulators and Other Hydraulic Parts in Minnesota

Any time you’re working with a hydraulic system, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential safety risks you face, which are inherent to many of these types of machines. Awareness of these issues will prevent accidents from occurring and keep everyone safe during usage of the equipment.

Here are some of those critical safety issues associated with hydraulic accumulators and other hydraulic parts in Minnesota:

  • Gauges: You should never use on-board gauges to attempt to determine a hydraulic system’s energy status. These gauges can quickly become unreliable as they get older. Plus, the gauge’s location may not even reflect the presence of stored energy anywhere within the hydraulic system.
  • Heat: Heat is never a reliable source for figuring out the pre-charge pressure of the accumulator. It is only generated if the gas is compressed so quickly that the heat resulting from the compression process is not given the chance to dissipate. This means if you’re dealing with a low flow, there won’t be much heat gain.
  • Proper protections: You should always wear safety glasses when working with hydraulic accumulators, and with most types of mechanical and hydraulic equipment.
  • Pressurization: In a piston-type accumulator, when the pump gets turned off, the pressurized fluid located in the accumulator must be put back into the tank with the use of an automatic or manual dump valve. A failure to complete this process will result in the accumulator remaining pressurized. At this point, the accumulator becomes a single-shot hydraulic pump. If a valve somehow gets mistakenly shifted in the system, then the pressurized fluid would start operating the cylinder or hydraulic motor, causing the load to move. This could be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly to personnel working in the area, who would not be expecting the load to start moving on its own.
  • Manual dump valves: Some systems have a manual valve you must open to allow the pressurized fluid to get back into the tank in the accumulator. Anyone working around the machine must know where that valve is located and how to open it. Here again, a failure to follow proper protocol could result in major issues with pressurization. The last thing you want is for a significant amount of air or fluid to be shot out at a high pressure and hit you in the face.
  • Dry nitrogen: Always charge accumulators with dry nitrogen, rather than compressed air or oxygen. Nitrogen does not react readily with other chemicals, but oxygen and compressed air assist in combustion, which means they could become hazardous very quickly. Most accumulators come with safety warnings that indicate only nitrogen should be used in the pre-charging process, but it’s always important to repeat this warning to prevent the mistake from occurring.

These are just a few of the most common safety issues associated with hydraulic parts in Minnesota. For more information about hydraulic accumulators and their operation, contact the team at M & M Hydraulic Company today.

Tips for Maintaining Hydraulic Accumulators

Gas-charged hydraulic accumulators are extremely common in most modern hydraulic systems. They have a variety of functional capabilities, including storing energy, thermal compensation, addressing leakage issues, shock absorption and energy recovery.

There are many advantages associated with the use of hydraulic accumulators, and in many cases you can use them for years without experiencing any significant maintenance issues. However, it is still important to engage in some routine checks and preventative maintenance to reduce the likelihood of such problems occurring.

Here’s an overview of the various types of hydraulic accumulators and what you can do to keep them in shape when working with a hydraulic repair service in Minnesota.

Types of accumulators

There are three main types of gas-charged hydraulic accumulators you’ll find on hydraulic systems: bladder, piston and diaphragm accumulators.

Bladder accumulators are the most popular choice. They feature fast response times (less than 25 milliseconds on average), a maximum gas compression ratio of approximately 4:1 and maximum flow rates of 15 liters per second. There are also high-flow variations of these accumulators that deliver up to 38 liters per second. Bladder accumulators are also known for their outstanding dirt tolerance.

Piston accumulators have much higher gas compression ratios (10:1 in some cases) and flow rates (up to 215 liters per second). Whereas bladder accumulators are mounted in a vertical position to prevent fluid from getting trapped between the shell and bladder, piston accumulators can be mounted in any position, making them slightly more versatile.

Diaphragm accumulators have many of the same advantages of bladder accumulators, but have a higher gas compression ratio (up to 8:1). They have smaller volume limitations, and performance can occasionally be lessened by gas permeation.

Maintenance factors

There are several things you can do with your hydraulic accumulators to make sure they stay in good condition for longer usage.

For example, when you’re charging the gas end of a diaphragm or bladder accumulator, it’s important to let the nitrogen gas in very slowly. If you have high-pressure nitrogen that expands quickly as it enters the bladder, there’s the possibility that it will chill the polymeric material in the bladder to the extent that there will be immediate, significant brittle failure. Fast pre-charging can also cause the bladder to be shoved underneath the poppet on the same end as the oil, which could result in lacerations to the bladder.

Low pre-charge or lack of pre-charge entirely can also result in some severe consequences for bladder accumulators. The bladder could be crushed into the top of the shell by system pressure, causing it to be punctured by the gas valve. If this happens, only a single cycle would be needed to fully destroy the bladder.

These are just a few of the maintenance issues you need to be aware of when working with the various types of hydraulic accumulators. For more information about hydraulic maintenance, or to schedule an appointment for hydraulic repair service in Minnesota, reach out to M & M Hydraulic Company and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

How to Clean Your Hydraulic System Effectively

Hydraulic systems are powerful pieces of machinery that require lots of care and upkeep to continue operating as intended. Whether you use a single hydraulic forklift at your company’s distribution center, or you employ dozens of pieces of hydraulic gear at a local construction site, it’s important to understand the nuances of hydraulic maintenance, and know the basics on how to keep your hydraulic system running smoothly and effectively.

If you’re in need of hydraulic services in Minnesota, you should always rely on professionals for help and assistance. Hydraulic system care is a complex task that requires a highly skilled team in order to be performed correctly.

Hydraulic system cleaning is an essential task that should be performed with some level of regularity. Here are the steps associated with a successful hydraulic system cleaning operation:

  • Make a plan: Before you even begin cleaning your hydraulic system, you should conduct a careful analysis of the system itself. Examine its parts and its layout in as much detail as possible. If you have schematics or a user’s manual associated with your machine, now is the time to get it out. Most hydraulic systems actually come with cleaning instructions.
  • Drain the fluid: Next, you’ll need to drain all of the existing fluid and change out the system’s filter. Then, fill the system with the minimum amount of fluid required for safe operation, and cycle it through the system using sustained, mild operations. Once the fluid is cycled through, drain it once again.
  • Purge the launcher: If your hydraulic system is large enough to require this step, you should begin it by attaching a pneumatic projectile launcher onto one of the open ends of your hydraulic system. Then, fire at least five times. This will purge the hose of any residual contaminants.
  • Disassemble and scrub: Now, you’ll want to disassemble the hydraulic machinery as much as possible. Using a safe cleaning solvent and a heavy-duty wire brush, scrub the interior of the fluid reservoir and any other accessible places to the fullest possible extent. The goal is to reduce the amount of sludge, chipped paint and spent fluid inside the machinery.
  • Flush and refill: Next, you should use a low-viscosity fluid to flush out the interior of your hydraulic system. Monitor the flushing fluid regularly to determine how clean it is—after the desired level of cleanliness has been reached, allow the machinery to continue operating for at least 15 minutes.

Since 1976, M & M Hydraulic Company has been a highly trusted source of hydraulic services in Minnesota. We provide a robust range of services, including hydraulic system maintenance, repair, cleaning, flushing and more. We are the Twin Cities’ one-stop shop for hydraulic system services. We are a family owned and operated business that is proud to serve industrial communities throughout the Upper Midwest. We are known throughout the region for our attention to detail and our dedication to prompt and friendly service. Contact us today to learn more.

How to Flush a Hydraulic System

Hydraulic systems are interesting pieces of machinery that leverage hydraulic pressure in order to amplify mechanical output. Hydraulic systems make possible the day-to-day operations of heavy and light machinery, ranging from warehouse forklifts to massive construction cranes. Because hydraulic systems are under such constant and consistent pressure, however, it’s extremely important they’re maintained and cared for correctly.

There are several aspects of hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota that must be performed in order to keep your hydraulic systems running as intended. Regular cleaning, inspections and hydraulic flushing are all necessary to keep your systems running their best.

Here are a few of the steps necessary to properly flush a hydraulic system:

  • Drain the fluid: The first thing you’ll need to do is drain out all of the old operating fluid. This should be done when the fluid is at operating temperature. Be sure that all of the reservoirs, lines, filter housings and cylinders are completely clear of the old operating fluid.
  • Clean the cavities: Next, use a clean, lint-free rag to thoroughly clean the cavities of your hydraulic system. Be sure to keep an eye out for any pitting that may have occurred while you’re cleaning the interior of the hydraulic system. Remove all of the sludge and deposits from the system.
  • Fill with flushing fluid: You should use a flushing fluid that has a viscosity similar to the machine’s operating fluid. Fill the system up to 75 percent capacity, and frequently stroke the valves. This will ensure that the fluid is pumping through the system, removing excess debris and gunk that you weren’t able to get with your manual cleaning. Drain the filters, and clean the reservoirs once again.
  • Fill with operating fluid: Next, you’ll need to refill the operating fluid, and prime the pump. Once the pump is primed, run the machine intermittently for no more than five minutes, then allow it to rest. This ensures that it is flushed correctly. Then, you can run the pump continuously for several hours, allowing the new fluid to cycle through the system.
  • Replace the filters: Shut down the system, and run it again at five-minute intervals, regularly bleeding excess air from the machine. Then, replace all of the existing filters in the machine. If it looks like there may be cross-contamination, you’ll need to drain and flush the system again, starting from the beginning of the process.

Since 1976, M & M Hydraulic Company has been the premier source of hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota. We are proud to be the Twin Cities’ foremost experts on hydraulic system care, cleaning and repair. Our company offers a comprehensive service range. You can count on us to keep your operating equipment in prime condition. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable team is capable of working on hydraulic outfits of any size and capacity. To learn more about the ways that we can help you protect your operating capital and reach your company’s fullest possible potential, reach out to one of our friendly representatives today.