It is known that contamination of hydraulic oil is one of the major factors causing hydraulic pump problems. Many test reports on contaminant sensibility of hydraulic pumps have been published with new oil and standard dusts but the results of these tests could not guarantee to predict in-service performance. This report describes three cases investigated.
The first investigation was done on hydraulic pumps used for injection molding machines application. The causes of pump problems were examined by analysis of maintenance records. The second investigation was performed to determine overhaul frequency of hydraulic pumps used for aluminum extruders. By introducing a new method of hydraulic oil management which reduces oil oxidation products, pump life was extended from 3000 to 15000 hours. The third investigation was done to determine the relationship between pump problems and contamination levels of hydraulic oils of 411 rubber molding machines for 20 months. The results showed that pump problems appeared at half the recommended oil lifetimes for these fluids.
These studies showed that the cause of pump problems was clogging of suction strainers leading to pump cavitation. The clogged strainers were washed with several different solvents to identify the causes of suction strainer clogging. Clogging of suction strainers was attributable to sticky oxidation products of hydraulic oils. Electrostatic oil cleaners removed not only micron range solid particles but also submicron size particles. Hydraulic pump problems have been substantially reduced by introducing this new method of contamination control.