We have an agriculture customer that has requested that we inspect his fleet of self built harvesting equipment hydraulic system. We’ve already taken oil analysis samples of the hydraulic fluid with particle count and asked the lab to run additional testing for fuel as the hydraulic tanks are a shared unit with the fuel tanks.

The oil analysis’ came back with some minor elevation of wear metals and a bit of outside contamination. As suspected, we also found fuel contamination. He is changing out his fluid and filter each year after harvest.

The machinery works in orchards. This is a very hot dusty environment and creates the added risk of hoses getting snagged on tree limbs.

The initial review checklist will include:

Inspect the hydraulic tanks.

  1. We already know that some work needs to be done to create a seal between the fuel and hydraulic oil
  2. We’ll also look for proper baffling and confirm that the hydraulic tank size is appropriate
  3. Check the type of air breather and/or fill cap (Desiccant Filters?)
  4. Proper thermometer and sight glass placement
  5. Magnetic Drain Plug at a low point in the tank for draining water

Inspect the fluid conductors

  1. Check for cleanliness
  2. Check for leaks
  3. Engineered for a streamlined flow?
  4. Routed to help prevent tree snags?

Review placements of screens and filters

  1. Screen on the pick up tube?
  2. Filter between the screen and Pump?
  3. Filtration after the Pump?
  4. Kidney filtration for additional filtration?
  5. Filtration on return lines?

We’ll review the filling procedures.

  1. Filter the new fluid using a filter cart with a filter of the right micron and beta rating to ensure the fluid cleanliness is correct for the systems smallest clearance?
  2.  In the absence of a filter cart at least run the fluid through a 120 mesh (120 squares per inch) screen.

This is the preliminary check list and we’ll modify it as the inspection and  operating conditions (Load, Environment, Temperature, and Speed) require.

What would your initial check list include?