Overheated oil can wear out hydraulic parts quickly in the shops and businesses that depend on them. That is why you should consider adding an oil cooler to keep your hydraulic parts in Minnesota running well and prevent overall machine failure. Here is an overview regarding heat load and how to find the best oil cooler for your equipment.
Understanding hydraulic oil and heat load
Generally speaking, excessive heat compromises the hydraulic oil by accelerating oxidation. That breaks down the oil and produces sludge and varnish, which can both restrict the motion of the components and lead to failure. Since overheated oil cannot normally be handled by workers, changing it out for cooler oil is not an option.
The reason oil becomes overheated is that hydraulic systems perform their purposes very well, but they do not always run efficiently. Input power that is not allocated to output is wasted out as heat. Since hydraulics depend on oil to run, all that heat goes straight to that fluid, which eventually results in overheating.
Designers install a general heat load tolerance of 30 percent of the input power. This is the normal industry standard—however, it is not always appropriate. Other factors can increase or reduce tolerance, so you may find your components start corroding at lower temperatures than indicated in your equipment specifications.
Choosing the right oil cooler
Adding an oil cooler reduces this risk substantially. It will keep the oil temperature at a stable level, which preserves your equipment. Since you likely rely on your machinery performing well throughout the day, this is additional reassurance for your bottom line, as well.
You will base the size of your oil cooler first on input power. This gives you a good idea of the general heat load, so you find an oil cooler that can keep up with it. For example, if you have a hydraulic system with input power of 100kw and it has an efficiency rating of 80 percent, that makes 80kw available for output and 20kw converts to heat. In other words, your oil cooler must be capable of handling that 20kw.
Efficiency of your system must also be considered. More efficient equipment normally does not produce as much heat, and you can likely get away with an oil cooler with a lower capacity.
Finding the right oil cooler is often a guessing game. You want to get approximate numbers but also add a margin of safety in case your component condition or other factors cause it to operate outside manufacturer specifications. Going with a cooler that is too big rather than too small is great for reliability, although it will not save on costs. It all depends on your tolerance for risk and the knowledge you currently have about your hydraulic systems.
For repair and maintenance of hydraulic parts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa, contact M & M Hydraulic Company. We can address your need for an oil cooler, plus any other shortcomings in your equipment.