Any time you’re working with a hydraulic system, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential safety risks you face, which are inherent to many of these types of machines. Awareness of these issues will prevent accidents from occurring and keep everyone safe during usage of the equipment.
Here are some of those critical safety issues associated with hydraulic accumulators and other hydraulic parts in Minnesota:
- Gauges: You should never use on-board gauges to attempt to determine a hydraulic system’s energy status. These gauges can quickly become unreliable as they get older. Plus, the gauge’s location may not even reflect the presence of stored energy anywhere within the hydraulic system.
- Heat: Heat is never a reliable source for figuring out the pre-charge pressure of the accumulator. It is only generated if the gas is compressed so quickly that the heat resulting from the compression process is not given the chance to dissipate. This means if you’re dealing with a low flow, there won’t be much heat gain.
- Proper protections: You should always wear safety glasses when working with hydraulic accumulators, and with most types of mechanical and hydraulic equipment.
- Pressurization: In a piston-type accumulator, when the pump gets turned off, the pressurized fluid located in the accumulator must be put back into the tank with the use of an automatic or manual dump valve. A failure to complete this process will result in the accumulator remaining pressurized. At this point, the accumulator becomes a single-shot hydraulic pump. If a valve somehow gets mistakenly shifted in the system, then the pressurized fluid would start operating the cylinder or hydraulic motor, causing the load to move. This could be extremely dangerous and potentially deadly to personnel working in the area, who would not be expecting the load to start moving on its own.
- Manual dump valves: Some systems have a manual valve you must open to allow the pressurized fluid to get back into the tank in the accumulator. Anyone working around the machine must know where that valve is located and how to open it. Here again, a failure to follow proper protocol could result in major issues with pressurization. The last thing you want is for a significant amount of air or fluid to be shot out at a high pressure and hit you in the face.
- Dry nitrogen: Always charge accumulators with dry nitrogen, rather than compressed air or oxygen. Nitrogen does not react readily with other chemicals, but oxygen and compressed air assist in combustion, which means they could become hazardous very quickly. Most accumulators come with safety warnings that indicate only nitrogen should be used in the pre-charging process, but it’s always important to repeat this warning to prevent the mistake from occurring.
These are just a few of the most common safety issues associated with hydraulic parts in Minnesota. For more information about hydraulic accumulators and their operation, contact the team at M & M Hydraulic Company today.