Sometimes, despite all the careful maintenance and attention paid to hydraulic parts in Minnesota, there are still equipment failures. Gear pumps tend to make up the more catastrophic failures in terms of expense and down time at shops. Here are five of the most common causes that arise in failure analysis, and how to recognize them before they shut you down:
- Fine particles: Even the smallest debris can damage gear pumps. Fine particles are the most common cause of failure, and this is because we usually can’t see this happening. It starts as a gradual decrease in speed that might not even be noticeable. Then, the buildup of fine particles starts wearing out parts slowly until there is a failure. You can reduce the possibility of this happening by cleaning tank caps, funnels and the area around the filler neck before you top off fluid. If there are lines left disconnected, cover them when not in use. Working in a dusty or dirty environment often leads to this breakdown, so take extra care to keep machinery clean if this is your situation.
- Metal contaminants: Abrasions from metal contaminants occur from wear and tear, but also from insufficient fluid flushing after a previous failure. Unlike the damage from fine particles, which is gradual, metal contaminants may cause slow or sudden failure, depending on the damage they inflict. Fortunately, you can usually detect this situation early by checking for surface scratches on pressure plates. When you see these signs, flush your system again to reduce contaminants.
- Poor installation: Pumps must be installed carefully to ensure they do not handle loads that exceed their capacity. If piping is not connected well or components rub up against each other, your gear pump will wear out and fail. When it is time to replace pumps, hire a professional so you know this task is completed correctly.
- Aeration: When air mixes with the oil, aeration results. While this is a less common gear pump failure, it can cause extensive damage. The air can prevent the needed fluid flow and place pressure on lines and mechanisms. It can also eventually lead to leaks, which can corrode the gear pump. When you start hearing knocking noises, check for air leaks. If these are allowed to build up, your equipment could also suffer cavitation, which will reduce pump suction and cause overheating. This will also lead to eventual failure and expensive repairs.
- Low oil: There are two reasons your pump may suffer for lack of oil. One, your workers forget to refill the reservoir. Put system checks in place so this task is not overlooked. Two, your hydraulic lines and systems could have a leak. Gear pumps cannot work properly without sufficient oil, so keep an eye on this problem until you find a resolution. Sometimes, awareness of the oil level is all that is needed, but if this is being monitored well and you still have an issue, inspect further and consider bringing in a repair technician.
For the care, maintenance and repair of hydraulic parts in Minnesota, contact M & M Hydraulic Company for assistance.