IFPE conference programming will take in-depth looks at fluid cleanliness and life to ensure sustainable, efficient systems.
As noted in my FluidLines column, both IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG have a special focus on sustainability throughout the show floor and conference program. Several sessions will take looks at digitalization, electrification, and autonomy as solutions to creating more carbon-neutral mobile machinery. But all these efforts would be wasted if the hydraulic fluids in those machines are not selected with care and maintained regularly to ensure long life.
Therefore, three sessions in the IFPE conference program will cover the importance of hydraulic fluid contamination prevention and how clean fluids promote efficiency and sustainability. Two will be led by Paul Michael, one of the industry’s leading fluids expert. Another will be a panel discussion as part of the NFPA’s Fluid Power Forum series.
Prior to the show kicking off on Tuesday, IFPE will hold a day of Fluid Power Workshops, with Paul Michael, Research Chemist and Director of the Milwaukee School of Engineering Fluid Power Institute, hosting a seminar on “Examining Fluid Efficiency and Contamination Control Effects in Hydraulic Motors,” from 1 to 4 p.m. on Monday, March 13.
Attendees of the workshop session will learn how to:
- Figure out the sources, symptoms, effects, and best practices to avoid various types of contamination.
- Recognize the different types of hydraulic fluids, their properties, and their standard test methods.
- Perform hydraulic fluid sampling and analysis and how to interpret the analysis report.
- Understand filter performance ratings.
“All the information will be presented in a combination of case studies and traditional training strategy,” noted Michael in an article IFPE published about fluid efficiency and contamination control effects in hydraulic motors.
Fluid power directly impacts machine reliability, productivity, and energy consumption. “For working machines, reliability, productivity, and energy consumption not only affect the total cost of ownership, but they also flow right to the bottom line,” Michael said.
There has been continual research and upgrades in the quality and life of oils, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids. “The Holy Grail, if you will, for oils, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids is to be able to use them forever without having to change them. Organizations are continuously researching different ways to improve the performance of oils, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids so they can be used longer and require less maintenance.”
Having a solid understanding of contamination control and filtration is essential for getting the maximum life out of oils, lubricants, and hydraulic fluids and this benefits the entire system over time, said Michael.
“The limiting factor in fluid life oftentimes is the contamination that can occur to the fluid. If a fluid becomes contaminated, either with water, dirt, or wear debris, it may be necessary to change the fluid and refresh the system with new fluid.
“Contamination is one of the potential drivers for the end of life for a hydraulic fluid,” pointed out Michael. “In a hydraulic system, the fluid transmits the power. For the power transmission to take place, the fluid must be maintained within what is called a pressure envelope — the pumps, hoses, valves, cylinders, etc., that are actually transmitting power and doing the work of the machine. To keep the fluid contained in the pressure envelope, it is necessary to have very tight gap control in the moving components within the hydraulic system.”
By way of example, the gaps between the cylinder, pistons, and cylinder bore in a pump, or between the spool and the manifold in a valve, must be maintained very tightly, otherwise, there is gap flow that occurs, he said. Gap flows are undesirable because they diminish productivity and generate heat. To maintain these critical gaps in the moving areas of the hydraulic system, the fluid must be very clean.
“In most other lubricating systems, the lubricant is not transmitting the power and is not encapsulated within a pressure envelope,” he said. “The cleanliness requirements for gear oils, engine oils, automatic transmission fluids, and compressor oils are relatively lenient because these applications operate at lower pressures and control of gap flow is less.”
Michael said there are several ways to determine when it is time to change oil. Commonly, the change interval is based on time, miles, season, or condition-based monitoring.
Additionally, Michael will be holding a 45-minute session on Tuesday, March 14 from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m., Contamination Control and Filtration, where he will discuss how to evaluate fluid cleanliness and implement strategies to ensure that hydraulic fluid starts out and stays clean.
Finally, on the last conference day, Eric Lanke, CEO of The NFPA, will be joined by Barry Verdegan, a consultant on filtration standards for 11171 Solutions LLC, and Ivan N. Sheffield, Director of Filtration, Des-Case, for a final discussion on the importance of contamination prevention.
The panel discussion, “Fluid Power Forum Presents: Contamination Standards Prevent Machine Failure and Boost Cost Savings,” is brought to the IFPE audience by Fluid Power Forum, a podcast that features interesting and innovative applications of fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics).
“Machine failures are costly. Contamination is the root cause of 80% of hydraulic failures. 90% of these failures are preventable,” said Lanke. “Standards, such as those created by ISO or national standards bodies, establish a level playing field to allow manufacturers, suppliers, and users to speak a common language and use best practices to develop and implement contamination control programs. Standards developed by ISO TC131/SC6 and other technical committees allow you to measure particulate contamination in fluids, set required cleanliness levels, choose appropriate filters for your application, compare products and identify false claims, and monitor the success of contamination control efforts.”
The speakers will use real world examples to demonstrate the financial benefits of standards-based contamination control programs.
For more information or to register for conference programming, visit ifpe.com/visit/education. Fluid Power World readers can receive at 30% discount on show admission through January 6 by using the code PR30. Education sessions and workshops incur additional fees.