Hydraulic pumps are a vital component used in almost every type of production system. As a critical part of any machinery or plant, failed or malfunctioning hydraulic pump can put the entire operation to a halt. It is a mechanical device that converts mechanical power into fluid pressure by using an electric motor to move objects. Several applications require functioning hydraulic pumps such as water treatment, aerospace engineering, manufacturing, agricultural production, mining, and more. The three main types of hydraulic pumps are—gear, piston, and vane pumps.
Hydraulic pumps are designed to keep functioning for years if properly maintained. However, they often encounter issues due to the pressure inside the pumps. Hydraulic pumps eventually wear out and age, despite preventive maintenance. When these pumps fail or malfunction, the problem must be addressed quickly to bring the pumps back to action and restore operations.
What Caused Hydraulic Pumps Failure?
Some most common issues that lead to hydraulic pump failure include excess pressure, fluid contamination, poor fluid quality, excessive temperatures, undetected leaks, and cavitation. For instance, when the pressure exceeds the specified safe range, it overworks the pump causing damage. Likewise, the contaminated fluid creates buildup and corroded parts, leading to hydraulic pump failure.
Signs of Hydraulic Pumps Failure
Like any other mechanical component, hydraulic pumps also eventually fail. However, irrespective of the cause of failure, hydraulic pumps give some warning signs before a complete breakdown. Take note of these signs to identify issues early and take necessary steps.
1. Loud or Odd Noises
Hydraulic pumps typically work quietly, but when their components begin to wear down and seals deteriorate, they could start making unusual noises. Noise can also be due to aeration or cavitation. Another cause of noise could be the internal parts rubbing together. When the pump ages and gets worn-out, higher internal friction is created, causing extra noise. It’s important to find out the exact cause of this odd sound and take steps to resolve the problem. In most cases, unusually loud noises coming from the machinery mean the hydraulic pump needs repair or replacement.
There could be internal or external leaks that can be detrimental to your hydraulic system. Leaks reduce the system’s pressure, leading to increasing the operating temperature. Often leaks go undetected because they take place inside the machine. However, even if there are no exterior signs of leaks, you may notice a decline in performance or sudden pressure drops. In the case of exterior leaks, there could be oil on the outside of the pump. Leaks can be fixed by tightening or replacing a valve or seal. It’s important to handle this issue early before it causes system-wide failure.
3. Low Operational Speed
Another sign of a problem is a sluggish system. If your system is functioning slower than usual, it indicates pressure loss. This could be due to internal leaking. Besides slow speed, the higher-than-average temperature is also a sign of a failing hydraulic pump.