Influence of Hydraulic Fluid Contamination on Equipment Wear

According to recent industry statistics, 70-80% of hydraulic system malfunctions and up to 90% of bearing failures are caused by media contamination.

Types of Contamination and the Long Term Impact

The performance, quality, and purity of operating fluids directly affect the reliability and the service life of pumps, hydraulic drives and various hydraulic equipment installed in mobile and stationary locations.  If high precision hydraulic equipment is used with gaps between moving parts of 5 to 24 microns, then the use of high quality hydraulic fluid that is free from contaminates is a must to ensure continuous trouble free operation of the system.  The effects of contamination on the performance of equipment will vary and depends on the size and composition of the contamination.

The aggressive effects of fluid contamination is detrimental to the reliability and durability of hydraulic systems.  Undesirable consequences may be caused by solid particles carried by the fluid that enter through the gaps in the system.  Contamination will be found on the surfaces of flat friction pairs, valve facets etc.  This unwanted contamination leads to increased wear and equipment failures that include hydraulic lock, clogging of small valves, plunger jamming, loss of valve tightness and other system failures.

Axial-plunger pumps and the control slides of automatic control systems are especially sensitive to fluid contamination.  Solid particles of comparable sizes to the gaps pose the biggest threat to plunger and slide pairs.

Entry of Contaminants into the Hydraulic Systems

There are five ways contaminants can enter hydraulic system:  (1) Through insufficient and improper cleaning of components and parts during manufacture (metal files, remaining abrasives, fragments of construction material etc;  (2) through the introduction of contaminated fluid when initially filling or refilling the system;  (3) through the introduction of contaminants during assembly and repairs;  (4) through the wear and corrosion of parts during normal operation; and (5) from dust and dirt that enters through vents or loose hydraulic tank plugs.

Particle Size

Despite the fact that Solid Contaminants are extremely small, they can still accelerate the aging of oil, cause rapid wear of components, and cause failure and malfunction of operating assemblies.

Gaps in Typical Hydraulic System Components

In modern hydraulic systems, the gaps between components are limited to the range of 1 to 25 microns.  Lately, as technology and machining processes improve, the gaps have been decreasing raising the fluid quality and purity requirements higher and higher.

Contamination reduces the reliability of hydraulic equipment and accelerates its wear and shortens effective service life.  Hence the reason research into the most efficient ways of purification has been part of the industry for decades.  GlobeCore is a leader in research and development of purification systems that are efficient and protect the environment.


GlobeCore offers a line of UVR vacuum purification systems that are designed for purification of hydraulic fluid, turbine oil, industrial oil, mineral oil, compressor oil, and transformer oils.  The UVR units are built around a vacuum and adsorbent treatment process.  These systems can also lighten the product appearance and remove paraffins and some sulfur from fuels.

The main advantage of the UVR plants is their economy and versatility (requires no additional adjustments when switching from one product to another since the machine operates in an automatic mode).

GlobeCore is the Industry leader in the manufacture of the highest quality oil purification systems anywhere in the world today.


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