The centralized hydraulic system you needed was finally approved, installed, plumbed, and tested. The new system should provide a big boost to your plant’s productivity. It has state-of-the-art load-sensing pumps which will save energy and provide more than enough power to run the production line. Proportional valves with on-board electronics are mounted on the cylinders to control speed, acceleration, and positioning, and radial-piston motors with resolver feedback will provide powerful and precise control of conveyors.
The design of the centralized hydraulic system also includes a pressure filter to protect proportional valves, return line filters to protect any contamination coming back from components, an offline filtration system for continuous filtration and cooling of the oil, and last, a suction strainer with a 3-psi bypass to keep out large contaminants. The boss is excited because of the promised energy savings and production uptime resulting in more profit.
This is where most plant personnel wash their hands, relax, and set the cruise control, because they got this centralized hydraulic system running which will solve all their problems for the next 20 years. That sounds amazing…but the reality is this is only the beginning.
Another step that’s just as critical, if not more so, is to develop a maintenance strategy/program. This step is the backbone of energy savings and reliability. You cannot afford any downtime; otherwise, you’ll have to suffer the wrath of the plant manager for agreeing to spend the capital on this new hydraulic system. The question is, what does a maintenance program look like?
Mapping Out a Plan
Many plant personnel believe a maintenance strategy is to fix something when it breaks down and change the oil at specified intervals. This plan is reactive and preventive, which are lagging indicators of failures and provide us with no information about how the hydraulic system is running. If we move into the predictive and proactive realm, understanding how failures occur becomes relevant, making the 20-year goal now attainable.
Read more: Preemptive Contamination Control