Whether you’re in manufacturing, ceramics, or in the business of building aircraft, chances are you’re using a hydraulic press every day. This mechanical machine has become integral to so many industries, from sword making to refrigerators and electrical parts – a good deal of daily items wouldn’t exist without them. No doubt if you own or run a hydraulic press, you’ll know the importance of keeping it in optimal condition.
The benefits of preventative maintenance
Preventative maintenance is fixing the problem before it becomes an issue. Press operators will be the first to tell you that this kind of maintenance is the key to having a successful day on the job, but this goes for all hydraulic equipment. Whether you’re in construction, agriculture, or electronics, the benefits of preventative maintenance are three-fold.
- Less equipment downtime. Getting to the problem before it gets to you will decrease machine downtime and boost productivity.
- Longer machine life. Preventing issues from arising during runtime will extend machine life over the long term.
- Improved safety. Fulfil your obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act by providing a safe workplace – improving, and optimising maintenance techniques and processes will mean less chance of injury on the job.
Hydraulic press maintenance tips
A press operator will be quick to tell you that not all hydraulic presses are the same – and it’s true: different machines require different kinds of maintenance depending on how they’re made and what they do. It’s important to carry out maintenance as soon as something doesn’t look or sound right. Abnormal vibrations or sounds should all warrant a check over. With that in mind, here are 5 key tips on how to maintain your hydraulic press.
- Check the oil
Oil is key to the running of the hydraulic press, without it – nothing works. Make sure it’s properly topped up. Check the machine manual or oil tag for the right grade. You’ll also want to make sure your oil is clean. Dirty oil is a common cause of press malfunction and can reduce the machine’s life dramatically. Oil sampling should be done at least once a year to determine the quality and lubricity.
- Monitor the oil temperature
Oil must be at the correct operating temperature for proper use. If it’s not cool enough, the oil won’t have the right viscosity to ensure moving parts aren’t rubbing or grating against each other. Ensure the oil is cool enough by checking the radiator and cleaning built-up dirt and dust. Clean airflow in and around the machine is key to ensuring proper function.
- Watch out for leaks
Check for leaks around the press ram, valve seats, hose fittings, and hydraulic lines on a regular basis. Leaks are usually the first sign that something is wrong internally. If you discover a leak, make fixing it a priority.
- Monitor the pressure
A press in working condition should build up pressure in a relatively short amount of time – roughly 0.5 to 1 second. If it takes any longer than this, or you notice a delay, stop work, and inspect immediately. More often than not it’ll be a pump related issue, but be sure to give the whole machine a once over. Inspect the motor and relief valve if the pressure continues to be slow.
- Check the electronics
Usually, the first issue operators will come across are coils that are nearing the end of their lifecycle. Install a cycle counter to give an accurate reading of how many strokes they’ve done. Replacing coils before they go can save hours of labour and improve machine runtime. Beware of any frayed or loose wiring as this can cause issues if not properly capped or re-wired.
Don’t leave it to chance: book a professional service
One of the hardest things is finding the time to get all this done. When it comes to productivity and efficiency – ensuring minimum downtime and maximum functionality is key. If you’re either too busy or unsure about how to service your hydraulic press, don’t wait for the inevitable. Book a service for your hydraulic press in Australia with a professional maintenance team today.