Climate Change, Sustainability, And Hydraulic Systems: The Hidden Costs Of Hot Summers

Climate Change, Sustainability, And Hydraulic Systems

For manufacturers who rely on hydraulics systems, the recent summer heatwaves have significant implications that can affect the performance and reliability of their equipment. The effects of climate change mean it is more likely that hydraulic machines will have to operate at much higher ambient temperatures than usual.

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Faced with temperature extremes for which they were not designed, hydraulic machines may experience more frequent technical problems, including:

  • Cavitation which can damage system components.
  • Pressure intensification in hydraulic cylinders that can cause damage to internal parts.
  • Decreased lubricating film strength leading to friction and adhesive wear.
  • Catastrophic failure of hydraulics equipment.

Accommodating climate change will take the collective efforts of countries across the world. At the level of individual businesses, however, what steps can you take to protect your hydraulic systems when unusually hot weather arrives?

Control The Operating Temperature Of Hydraulic Oil 

The viscosity of hydraulic oil changes dramatically with temperature fluctuations and it is when viscosity is too high or low that damage can occur to system components. Two solutions are possible:

  1. Using synthetic oils, which have a high viscosity index base stock, or adding polymers known as Viscosity Index Improvers to the oil.
  2. Installing cold-start protection or cooling capacity to control oil temperature.

Most hydraulics systems that rely on continuous power output need a heat exchanger but, owing to their cost and size, they are often too small. When ambient temperatures soar to record levels, the problem of insufficient cooling is simply exacerbated. With periods of intense heat expected to become the norm, it makes sense to have extra cooling capacity, even if it is only required periodically.

Concerned About Your Hydraulic Equipment’s Performance? Contact Hydrastar Today

Hydrastar are specialists in the design, manufacture, and maintenance of high performing and efficient hydraulics systems, and can provide expert advice about how to protect your equipment in extreme cold or heat. Please call us today on 01353 721704 to find out more.

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