Volatility vs. Flash Point: What You Should Know

A number of testing methods can be used to determine the performance characteristics of a lubricating oil. Two common tests that have endured over time are flash point and volatility. Although the methods, technology and practices have changed through the years, both of these tests are still utilized today and provide viable ways to assess new and used oils.



Best Practices for Topping up Small Sumps and Reservoirs

After visiting and working in various plants across the nation, I’ve noticed that most small reservoirs just don’t receive the attention they deserve. At one facility, we focused heavily on larger equipment that was deemed critical. Typically, these were also high-dollar items to replace or rebuild, so we made sure they were retrofitted with breathers, sight glasses, quick connects, inspections, etc. When smaller equipment failed, like a pump or gearbox, it usually was a firefighting situation because it was holding up one of our processes. At that point, we took the time to review the application and added preventive maintenance (PM) and inspections into the system. Eventually, everything was fed into our database, and some type of PM or inspection took place. All new equipment was also reviewed thoroughly to ensure past troubles were not repeated. The result was a huge increase in uptime, productivity and machine availability.



How Directional Valves Affect Oil Flow in Hydraulic Systems

Directional valves are some of the most fundamental components of a hydraulic system. When a directional valve is sized for an application, it must be large enough to handle the volume of oil necessary to operate the cylinder or hydraulic motor. For applications that require less than 10-15 gallons per minute of oil flow, a direct solenoid-operated valve is used (as shown in Figure 1). To shift the valve spool, current is applied to the valve coil. This creates magnetism within the coil, which pulls in the plunger. The plunger then acts on a pushpin, which shifts the valve spool. The solenoid generates approximately 30 pounds of force to shift the spool. Once the spool shifts, oil is ported through the valve and then to the cylinder or hydraulic motor.