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Cleanliness is next to Goodliness

by Craig Sinnott— Jan. 18, 2010
Send your comments about this article to Craig


It is a well-known fact that particle contamination reduces the service life of hydraulic components. In the Charlie Papazian book “The Complete Joy of Home Brewing” the author comments that one of the most important tasks in brewing beer is keeping the brewing utensils bacteria-free. In his book, Papazian emphasizes, “cleanliness is next to goodliness” because bacteria can spoil a beer’s flavor. The same can be said for hydraulic fluid. Of course, goodliness in this case is not the flavor of the hydraulic fluid; instead, it is the trouble-free operation of a clean hydraulic system.

According to Shell.com, “70% of all equipment problems are due to the improper condition of hydraulic oils.” Eaton says that the number is actually 80%. The “CAT Hydraulic Systems” management guide says:

“Particulate contaminants are the most common, measurable and controllable. They can be built in at the factory, transferred in through new oil, generated internally or taken in during maintenance, attachment changes and machine operation.”

To prevent particulates from being built in at the factory, we endeavor to exceed our customers’ requirements for incoming quality. To achieve this, HydraForce has made a significant investment in hardware, software, and personnel to monitor our own cleanliness.  HydraForce not only regularly analyzes the oil in each of our production test stands, we also analyze random samples of valves and manifolds after the products have passed the appropriate functional hydraulic tests. This includes particle size and sample weight analysis. The results of these analyses are used in Kaizen events that focus on reducing or eliminating sources of contamination in our production processes.

HydraForce’s diligence is ensuring that the cleanliness of the products we ship to our customers translates into fewer start-up and post-maintenance contamination related failures. This translates into higher productivity and a lower overall cost of ownership. A word to the wise: if care is not taken to ensure that other system components such as hydraulic hoses and reservoirs are clean and free of debris, no matter how clean a HydraForce valve is when it leaves the factory, it can still make a very good filter. When that happens, headaches and wasted time and money can leave one longing for a cold beer.

For more detailed information, please consult these references:
ASTM 4406 (99)
SAE J1227:1986
ISO 4405:1991
ISO 4407:2002
ISO 11500:1997
ISO 18413:2002
ISO TR 10949:2002

or, check out this article: http://www.machinerylubrication.com/article_detail.asp?articleid=581

About the Author:

Craig Sinnott is a Regional Manager at HydraForce with more than 15 years of hydraulic experience. Contact Craig


Send your Comments about HydraForce Insider to: HydraForce.Online@hydraforce.com


Disclaimer: Nothing in this document constitutes an implied warranty of merchantability or of fitness for a particular purpose.  The information contained in this document is provided for technical illustration purposes only and may not be used as a statement of suitability for use in any particular application. Each application is unique and prospective purchasers should conduct their own tests and studies to determine the fitness of HydraForce’s products for their particular purposes and specific applications.


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