What to Consider Before Switching to a Water-Based Hydraulic System

More and more facilities are switching from oil-based to water-based hydraulic systems, for a variety of reasons. Water hydraulic systems are generally safer, cleaner to operate and much less expensive to use than oil-based systems.

There are still some limitations and drawbacks associated with using water-based systems, and it’s very important to understand both these limitations and the benefits of using this type of system.

Here’s some information from a hydraulic service in Minnesota to help you make your decision if you’re considering switching to a water-based hydraulic system.

The benefits of water-based hydraulic systems

Perhaps the single largest benefit touted by proponents of water-based hydraulic systems, including many hydraulic and pneumatic distributors, is the relatively lower cost associated with using such a system. As a general rule, water-based hydraulic systems cost less to operate than oil-based systems.

A single gallon of a biodegradable, non-toxic synthetic additive concentrate that’s made up of 95 percent water and five percent additive can produce 20 gallons of solution. This is not possible when using oil-based solutions, because the fluid cannot be diluted in the same way, meaning you cannot stretch out its usage. The fluid is also not biodegradable. This means if you ever experience a spill, there will be some major cleanup costs to contend with.

Water-based solutions provide some significant savings in costs that would otherwise be put toward preventing environmental contamination and cleaning up any spills that occur. This is also because water-based fluids are typically safer—they are fire-resistant and non-toxic. Insurance companies lower the rates for any companies that use water hydraulic systems because of the safer nature of the fluid.

The disadvantages of water-based hydraulic systems

Even staunch proponents of water-based hydraulic systems will be quick to admit there are some limitations associated with these systems. There is always the chance of water-based fluid freezing inside the system, which could cause some significant damage. This is one of the main reasons why companies try to stay away from using water-based hydraulic systems.

Of course, you can add some antifreeze into the solution to prevent it from freezing. This can be less than ideal because using antifreeze can counteract the environmental benefits associated with water-based hydraulic systems.

But there are other options available. You can, for instance, use a series of hoses to insulate the liquid and keep the solution constantly moving.

Another challenge associated with the use of water-based hydraulic systems is preventing bacteria from causing harmful effects. It can be hard to seal these systems, and if air gets inside, this could lead to bacteria growth and resulting component failure. This means you must take extra steps to ensure the system is sealed properly.

These are just some of the facts you’ll need to consider if you’re interested in switching to a water-based hydraulic system. To learn more about the pros and cons of water-based systems, contact a hydraulic service in Minnesota. The team at M & M Hydraulic Company looks forward to hearing from you soon!

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