Contaminants, including moisture, can cause premature failure of hydraulic swivels—especially seals. Extremely hot or cold temperatures present additional challenges. Fortunately, anticipating these conditions is the first step toward dealing with them.
Regardless of the industry or application, hydraulic system contaminants can make a big mess, and in more ways than one. Challenges from contamination can lead to out-of-service equipment and seal failures to replacement needs, all affecting productivity. Contaminants, such as water, dust, dirt, and metal, will vary from industry and application, but the most common hydraulic challenge associated with contaminants is seal failure. Extreme temperatures can also cause damage to the hydraulic system if not properly addressed.
Contaminants in Hydraulic Swivels
Hydraulic swivels are similar to hydraulic cylinders in terms of the contaminants they are exposed to. The main difference lies in how each operates. Cylinders must contain fluid and exclude contaminants against linear motion, whereas swivels seal against rotary motion. When a cylinder’s piston rod is exposed to debris, a rod scraper is designed to remove the debris before it reaches the main rod seal. Because of its rotational motion, a hydraulic swivel does not have the luxury of a scraper. Therefore, swivels should be designed to keep debris away from seal areas.