January 18, 2016 / 0 Comments

Increasing Employee Retention in Blue Collar Jobs

employee retention saw mill

Employee retention is important to any business: the expense of hiring and training new employees can be very costly. Another cost lies in the productivity lost while seeking to replace the employee who’s no longer there. In blue collar jobs, which are generally labor-focused, employee retention is often lower than in office and executive positions. High turn-over rates in blue collar occupations typically occur when employees feel they’re under appreciated, under valued, and over worked. These perceptions can make blue collar employees feel unfulfilled and send them searching for better-paying jobs.

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January 12, 2016 / 0 Comments

You Should Always Check for Pump Cavitation while Troubleshooting

Chances are, you’ve already experienced the displeasure involved with working next to a loud and rumbling hydraulic system that just cannot seem to be quiet. It’s a harsh fact of life in the industry, hydraulic machinery makes noise, often lots of noise. But how can you know when your system is making a little too much noise.

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December 22, 2015 / 0 Comments

Water Based Hydraulic Systems

water based_hydraulic system

For years, the thought of water in a hydraulic system would cause just about anyone to cringe.

With standard oil-based hydraulic systems, if water gets in, everything can go wrong. The milky mixture of water and oil slows down the mechanisms and can cause long-term damage if not addressed quickly. And, the introduction of water usually means at least one seal is cracked and needs to be replaced while you’re draining and cleaning the system.

But a new breed of hydraulic equipment uses water instead of oil.

What are the benefits of switching to a water-based hydraulic system?

Water is a cheaper lubricant.

Water is more readily available than hydraulic oil or fluid, and it is much easier to dispose of. When a water-based system is flushed, it would not be necessary to ensure that the entire system is completely free of water, as water is the fluid being used for lubrication.

Water is safer for the environment.

Used hydraulic fluids requires special disposal because they do not biodegrade. Depending on the local ordinances, some county disposal sites may take the fluids free of charge in small quantities, but others may charge a fee, especially when disposing of a large volume of hydraulic oil or fluid.

Water is easily disposed of and environmentally friendly.

Water won’t combust.

When temperatures get too high, there is a risk of fire in hydraulic systems. However, water is not a flammable liquid, and it will resist combustion in high temperatures or if there is an errant spark.

However, there are some drawbacks to consider before switching to a water-based hydraulic system.

Water must be mixed with an additive.

By itself, water may not be the best lubricant, so it is mixed with a chemical additive in a 10:1 ratio.

Antifreeze is a commonly used additive. The most common and low-cost antifreeze is ethylene glycol, which is used in car and truck antifreeze. It is cheap, but it is not biodegradable and is toxic to people and animals. Instead, propolene glycol might be a better choice, as it is biodegradable and non-toxic. It is slightly more expensive, though.

Different components may be necessary.

It is not recommended to simply flush a system and replace oil with water. Different materials for cylinders and moving parts may be necessary for a water-based system’s proper function. Tubing and seals can usually be used interchangeably.

Water systems can wear out faster.

Because water provides less lubrication than oil, parts can wear out faster. To keep things working correctly over the long term, it is critical to maintain the proper ratio of water to additive. If condensation builds up within the system and puts more water than the 10:1 recommended ratio, parts may not receive adequate lubrication and wear out faster.

To ensure that the ratio remains correct, avoid humidity and check seals frequently.

A water-based hydraulic system might be the better choice if you keep up with maintenance and need fire resistance. Look into your options for switching over and make the best choice for you and your company’s hydraulic systems.

December 17, 2015 / 2 Comments

Air Contamination in Hydraulic Systems

Issues_with_air contamination

We spend a lot of time worrying about water getting into our hydraulic systems but air can degrade performance and cause just as much damage.

The good news is that steps to prevent these problems are straightforward to implement. And finding the problem and addressing it early means lower repair costs and less overall damage to the system.

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November 18, 2015 / 0 Comments

Getting Rid of Water in your Hydraulic System

water_contamination hydraulic

Being around hydraulic systems for any amount of time causes side-effects – and one of the nastier ones is knowing just how distressing murky oil can be. Most technicians in the field know that cloudy oil means contaminants have found their way into your fluid – and the main culprit is one we’ll never be completely rid of as long as we live on Earth — water. Of course, all hydraulic oil contains trace amounts of water, but too much water can mean increased internal corrosion and eventual hydraulic failure or inefficiency. Today, we’ll discuss methods of removing the water stockpile in your system’s oil and how that might benefit you and your machines in the long term.


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