Within hydraulic systems, hydraulic fluids are monitored and measured to ensure that the entire system is working optimally. Fluctuations in fluid level, fluid properties, and other characteristics can have immeasurable effects on the system. Fluid contamination because of leakages, rust, aeration, cavitation, damaged seals, and other factors can render the entire assembly useless.
Typically, such issues are classified into one of three categories: degradation, transient, and catastrophic failures. Degradation is a failure classification that affects the proper functionality of a hydraulic system by slowing down its operations. Transient failure, on the other hand, is defined as intermittent failure that occurs at irregular intervals. Meanwhile, catastrophic failure is the complete breakdown of your hydraulic system.
To avoid such occurrences, hydraulic filters have become an integral part of hydraulic fluid filtration, eliminating any contaminants or particulate matter from the fluids in use. By utilizing hydraulic filters, one can remove contaminant particles like metals, fibers, silica, elastomers, and rust from hydraulic fluid. That being said, the next section will cover the importance of hydraulic filters and how they work.
Hydraulic filters are components used by hydraulic systems to continuously remove contaminants in hydraulic oil or fluid. This filtration process purifies the hydraulic fluid and protects the system from damage created by particle contents. In most cases, hydraulic filter types are selected on a basis of fluid compatibility, application type, operating pressure, size, design, and other specifications.
Nonetheless, all hydraulic filters are composed of a few basic components, those of which include a filter head, filter bowl, element, and bypass valve. Filter heads are usually designed with different sized inlet and outlet connections, allowing contaminated fluids to enter and filtered fluids to exit. A filter bowl, on the other hand, is located within the housing that threads with the filter head and protects the element by controlling fluid flow.
Arguably, the next most important part of a hydraulic filter is the element because it contains the filter media for removing contaminants. Lastly, the bypass valve can be a relief valve that allows the direct flow of fluid when the filter contains excess dirt deposits. It is important to note that a variety of hydraulic filters can be found at different parts of the hydraulic system, some of which include air filters, suction filters, pressure filters, return filters, and off-line filters.
To begin, air filters are considered the breathing system of hydraulic applications, drawing air inward and expelling contaminants outward. Next, suction filters are positioned just before hydraulic pumps and purify hydraulic oil. After the hydraulic pumps, one can find pressure filters which are responsible for controlling system pressure and flow rate. Then, return filters are tasked with purifying hydraulic fuel before returning it to the reservoir. Finally, off-line filters serve as subsystems, containing a filter, pump, electric motor, and hardware connections.
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