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.
The answer isn’t always easy.
The go-to solution to this problem is to work out some sort of troubleshooting process (or use ours), but even a thoroughly planned search for your problem might lead you one-step forward and two-steps back. When it comes to hydraulic errors and malfunctions, knowledge is the solution – so let’s explore one possible cause of excess noise and movement in your hydraulic system, the dreaded Pump Cavitation.
What is Pump Cavitation?
Simply put, pump cavitation is the un-wanted generation of pockets of air or other gaseous materials within the hydraulic fluid of any given pump. These bubbles or cavities of gas are often introducing into the system around an impeller and most often in areas of low pressure. If left untreated, these pockets of air can collapse or implode, causing shock-waves that can and will damage the pump housing or impeller. It isn’t uncommon to see these sorts of issues come about as a direct result of pump cavitation:
- Pump housing degradation or disrepair
- Clogging in the pump inlet or hose collapse
- High levels of vibration or non-essential movement
- Decreased fluid flow or pressure
- Impeller complications
When dealing with this issues specifically, it’s a good idea to go ahead and check for signs of pump cavitation, and to take action to address it as quickly as possible. Start with this..
Ensure all Filters are Clean and Flow-Enabled
If we didn’t hammer this step into your brain during our Filter Troubleshooting post, we are more than happy to do it here and now. Checking, double checking, and triple checking your filters is your first line of defense against a solid bulk of the problems you’ll face when dealing with hydraulic system repair. It’s good practice to clean the pump suction strainer even when it doesn’t appear to be dirty. Several common contaminants can be invisible to the naked eye, but still cause blockages or other restrictions in large enough build-ups. Clean them up before they become a problem for your pump.
Make sure the Pump is Running at the Correct Speed
It’s easy to allow pump systems to continue their function at a less than ideal speed or pressure setting if the work required of the system is completed without complications. But, when efficiency is concerned, optimal pump speed should be determined according to a tightly packed Centrifugal Pump Curve. The curve itself is convoluted – but given enough time and study, optimal speed pairings can be determined that will not only increase output on your pump, but decrease the likelihood of Pump Cavitation (our main goal here).
Lastly, Inspect the Pump Itself for Lingering Effects
It is entirely possible that long-lasting problems have developed towards pump cavitation in your system. Pump housing issues, incorrect hose sizes, or filtration mishaps can all contribute to issues that can appear (at first glance) like Pump Cavitation. It’s important not to rule out Cavitation, but it’s also good practice to consider other possible realms of malfunction and error. Once you’ve made up your mind that your system is suffering from pump cavitation, take a step back and consider your other options. You might be surprised that your issue is located elsewhere, in a place you hadn’t even considered.
Come see us if you’re stumped; we’ll solve your hydraulic problems for you and save you the headache involved in troubleshooting.