Achieving predictive maintenance using an oil condition monitoring system

Monitoring the condition of lubricating oils is an important part of predictive maintenance.

In hydraulic and lubrication systems, friction, wear, leaks and excess temperatures can contribute to the operating fluid becoming contaminated, with solid particle contamination or water, for example. This contamination then goes on to cause errors in components and subsystems and ultimately in the system as a whole. Furthermore, the normal ageing process of the fluid causes performance losses that often result in system downtime. In order to prevent these time consuming and costly consequences, monitoring the condition of the operating fluid is of major significance.

If the cleanliness level is not monitored and efforts for improvement not made early enough, wear and tear can gradually reduce the system efficiency. Sometimes the system efficiency can fall by 20% before the machine operator even notices a problem. That is why preventative and predictive maintenance are so important.

At HYDAC, all our Industry 4.0-ready hydraulic systems are fitted with the latest sensor technology to create smart machines that are able to self-monitor, self-learn and self-correct. To build a smart system, you will require the following smart sensors:

  • A contamination sensor (CS1000) for counting the number of particles in the oil and displaying the results according to the ISO class.
  • A HYDAC Lab (HLB) sensor that continuously monitors the condition of the oil by measuring the temperature, water saturation, conductivity and change in dielectric constant — indicating changes in viscosity, mix or dilution, and possible oil deterioration.
  • A condition sensor interface (CSI) to log the data collected by the sensors, and providing the two input channels needed for them.

HYDAC smart sensors have a HSI interface built in, therefore no configuration is necessary. The CSI instantly recognises the sensors and configures the display appropriately — a valuable plug-and-play feature. The CSI has also an output port for data transmission via a LAN cable and has an antenna that allows for wireless transmission via Wi-Fi. Users can access the data recorded on the system wirelessly using the HYDAC FluMoS mobile app, available as a free download from the Google Play Store.

The adaptation and installation of the condition monitoring package to any system is very easy. The steps are simple and are as follows:

  • Install the contamination sensor and HYDAC Lab in the hydraulic line. Note that a 12–24 V power supply is needed.
  • Connect the CSI with the HYDAC Lab and the contamination sensor.
  • Connect the CSI to a power-conditioned outlet.
  • Connect the network cable if the data is to be accessed directly on a PC or via a network.
  • Download and open the FluMoS app onto an Android mobile device to access the data wirelessly.

In the FluMoS app, the user presses the Wi-Fi button to automatically connect the mobile device with the CSI. Once connected all the data recorded on the system will be accessible. The mobile device will display the following measurement outputs:

  • Temperature
  • Conductivity
  • Water saturation
  • Contamination level

The major benefits of implementing a preventative or predictive maintenance program are:

  • Continuous monitoring of the machinery via the condition of the oil
  • Early detection of defects and imminent damage
  • Avoidance of unplanned machine and system downtime
  • Increased availability, safety and productivity of systems
  • Increases efficiency
  • Cost savings over the lifecycle of the machine

Damage can always be prevented if appropriate steps are taken in due time and a smart system, as the one mentioned above, can help greatly to accomplish this task.

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