The use of hydraulic systems is prevalent in our mechanized world. On a smaller scale, we experience hydraulics on a daily basis: On doors to prevent them from slamming; on exercise equipment to provide resistance; and on brakes to slow or stop motor vehicles. Hydraulics are also found on airplanes, elevators and most amusement park rides.
However, industry makes use of hydraulics on a much different level. Construction equipment, robotics, stampers, injection molds and a multitude of other operations within factories and manufacturing plants are dependent upon hydraulics in order to function. A very basic description of how hydraulics work is the application of force from one point to another using a pump or piston with an incompressible fluid in between the two points. An incompressible fluid is a liquid such as oil that is able to “bounce back” or to return to its original density.
Keeping Oil Clean
Industrial hydraulic machinery undergoes a great deal of stress due to the constant repetition these systems are tasked with on a daily basis. This is the case with any piece of equipment using oil; especially under demanding conditions where the oil must be filtered and kept clean to ensure smooth operation.
Most hydraulic oil filters used on industrial machinery are mechanical filters that are attached to the equipment. Oil runs through these oil filtration systems, which use cotton, cellulose, woven fabric and other synthetic materials to catch contaminants. These filters work to a degree, but aren’t able to catch the molecular-sized particles that can eventually cause the “gumming up” of a hydraulic system and can lead to sticking and further damage such as the development of sludge, oil oxidation and varnish problems.
Electrostatic Oil Filtration
The need to build a better, more thorough filtration system has resulted in the development of electrostatic oil cleaners. These systems have proven to be more effective than conventional filters, with one of the major differences being that they do not allow contaminants to accumulate. When contaminants accumulate within a mechanical filter it can cause pressure drops, making it necessary to change the filters frequently.
However, the buildup of contaminants is avoided when using electrostatic oil filtration. This process works by creating an electrostatic field which pulls particles, free radicals and other contaminants out of the oil, depositing them into a collector area where they can be removed. This method will remove varnish, dirt and oxidation-causing elements instead of trapping them. Oil moves over this type of filtration system rather than through it, resulting in cleaner oil and a more free-flowing system.
The problem of sticky varnish deposits and other system-threatening contaminants has been substantially diminished through the use of electrostatic technology in oil filtration. By adopting this method, industries relying heavily on hydraulic equipment will enhance their production efficiency and reap financial benefits as well.