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Hydraulic fluid near me: If you’ve ever felt the pressure to choose the right hydraulic oil for your machinery, you’re well aware of the minefield of information that exists in books and online. Instead of getting lost in the world of hydraulic fluids, hydraulic fluids, or hydraulic lubricants, why not take a look at our easy-to-follow guide to hydraulic oil? It’s all you need to know about hydraulic oils!
What is hydraulic oil?
Hydraulic oil is a non-compressible fluid used to transfer power within hydraulic machinery and equipment. Also known as hydraulic fluid, hydraulic oil can be synthetic or mineral based.
At Crown Oil, as a hydraulic oil supplier, we handle 99% of mineral-based hydraulic oils.
Although this useful fluid is commonly used in power transfer, hydraulic fluid can act as a sealant, coolant, and lubricant within machinery and equipment.
The main difference between mineral and synthetic based hydraulic oil
Most of the oils produced are mineral or synthetic based. Mineral-based hydraulic oils are derived from crude oil fractions, while synthetic hydraulic oils are made using chemically produced base fluids.
Synthetic oils can be formulated to impart superior physical properties compared to mineral oils, for example, high temperature performance, biodegradability, and oxidation stability.
How do hydraulic systems work?
The key role of hydraulic oil in a hydraulic system is to transfer power from one end of that system to the other end through the various hydraulic components.
When an external force is applied to non-compressible hydraulic fluid, usually from a piston within a cylinder, the oil is pushed through the hydraulic system and ultimately produces a force elsewhere in the system. This results in a movement or action.
Usually, applying force to the material results in compression, so you may be wondering whether or not hydraulic oil is compressible, but a key property of hydraulic fluids is that they should not be compressible.
‘Non-compressible’ means that the fluid cannot be compressed. Liquids can be compressed to a certain degree, but it is incredibly insignificant and not considered in our guide. By contrast, gases are compressible, so they are not used in hydraulics.
What is hydraulic oil used for?
Hydraulic fluids are used in many applications across all industries. To give you an idea of the wide range of uses for hydraulic fluid and why industrial hydraulic oil is so important,Here are 10 examples of equipment and machinery that use hydraulic oil:
- Forklifts – The hydraulics on forklifts and stackers are important to help power the incredibly strong forks that need to lift some super-heavy goods.
- Log Splitters – The ram mechanism in an oil hydraulic log splitter requires hydraulic fluid inside it to give it that immense power that can split logs with ease. Log splitters are also known as firewood splitters!
- Car Lifts – Car lifts (car jacks, car lifts, etc.) require hydraulic jack oil to help their impressive power range! This type of machinery is highly dependent on reliable hydraulic oil for both safety and performance. Hydraulic fluid for a car lift tends to have a higher viscosity grade for high pressure.
- Wright Standers – A Wright Stander is a stand-up mower that is generally well-suited to cemeteries and other restrictive turf areas. The hydraulic part of these machines requires hydraulic oil in order to function.
- Snowplow (Snowplow) – Hydraulic oil for a snowplow and snowplow equipment is essential in the powerful operation of the hydraulic lift, tilt and angle movements of the snowplow. The cold weather conditions associated with the use of a snowplow means that the hydraulic fluid used in a snowplow will be mixed with antifreeze additives.
- Skid Steers (Loaders & Skid Steers) – Skid Steer Hydraulic Oil is as versatile as the machine you work with. For the many tasks that this machine can competently perform, hydraulic oil plays an important role at all times.
- Aircraft (Aviation) – In the aviation sector, reliable aircraft hydraulic oil is essential as it is used for aviation control systems, aircraft hangar doors, aircraft jacks and aircraft controls.
- Pneumatic Tools – Pneumatic tools and air compressors require high-pressure hydraulic oil that contains anti-wear additives for protection.
- Tractors: Tractor hydraulic oil is required for the operation of hydraulic brakes and hydraulic systems on farm vehicles and machinery. For your tractor hydraulic oil supply, you may want to use a reputable manufacturer to ensure that your expensive machinery and vehicles are well cared for and protected.
- Cruise Ships and the Marine Industry: If you have been lucky enough to travel on a cruise ship, you will have felt the comforts at sea. Hydraulic oil is used aboard many marine vessels for stabilizers. Outriggers reduce the amount of roll, which can affect the balance of the boat and cause you to experience motion sickness at sea. This is just one of the many other marine vessel applications that require hydraulic oil.
Hydraulic fluid properties
The properties and characteristics of any hydraulic oil are of vital importance to the ability of your hydraulic system to perform within the operating conditions in which you need to use it. This is especially true in the case of industrial or commercial hydraulic oils. So, for a hydraulic oil to be useful, it must have the following properties:
- not compressible
- Thermally stable, within a range of operating temperatures
- Fire resistant
- Non corrosive to your system.
- Anti-wear to your system
- Low tendency to cavitation
- Water tolerance (resistance to water contamination)
- total rejection of water
- Constant viscosity, regardless of temperature
- Long life
Few, if any, fluids perfectly meet the above criteria. However, there is a wide range of hydraulic oils that specialize in meeting the above properties for the set of conditions in which they must operate. Those conditions can range from the need to operate at low temperatures (winter hydraulic oil), high temperatures, and a variety of others.
Hydraulic oil content
Hydraulic oil is made from a variety of different ingredients, with a base fluid. These ingredients can often be mixed together depending on the type of oil you need.
In general terms, hydraulic fluids are composed of:
- Mineral oil
- Some other chemicals that are hard to pronounce!
For the various applications of the hydraulic fluid, the blenders will mix the base oil with additives of different types to make the properties of the hydraulic oil different.
Hydraulic Oil Additives
Depending on how you use our hydraulic oil, there will be additional additives to help it perform in different conditions. The different additives for hydraulic fluids include:
- Anti-wear: helps extend the life of equipment and machinery; you will see this in type AW hydraulic fluids.
- Cold Flow: additives that allow its use in extreme cold weather conditions
- Defoamer – An antifoam agent for hydraulic oil reduces foaming within the fluid that can be caused by detergents. This foaming can reduce the lubricating quality of the product, causing damage.
- Anti-Rust: Allows for longer periods of use without changing the oil while reducing sludge deposits.
- Antirust: forms a protective layer that reduces the risk of oxidation damage due to contact with oxygen.
These additives are used alone and together in different mixes that are created for different purposes. Hydraulic oil properties can be altered depending on the additives used, but typical characteristics tend to be high viscosity index and incompressible.
Below is a list of common uses for hydraulic oil and the type of additive that can be added to the oil to help it perform at its optimum level.
Winter hydraulic oil
Hydropower is required in some of the coldest places on earth. In these cases, antifreeze additives are used to prevent the fluid from freezing or waxing. Low temperature hydraulic oil is commonly used as a name for a fluid that is meant to be used in icy conditions.
Hydraulic oil for high temperature applications
At high temperatures, the oil becomes less viscous and flows more easily, which means that it can leak or lose its required properties. Additives are used to retain the viscosity of fluids used in applications involving exposure to higher temperatures.
Hydraulic oil for intensive use
Heavy-duty hydraulic oil is required for high-pressure environments where the fluid must be able to handle large amounts of stress. The hydraulic oil additives used herein will normally contain anti-wear properties. Anti-wear hydraulic oil is one of the most used mixtures in industry and construction.
ecological hydraulic oil
Biodegradable hydraulic oil is used in applications where an oil spill or leak could contaminate the environment. Typical base oil for biodegradable versions of hydraulic oil includes rapeseed oil and some other vegetable oils.
Environmental hydraulic oil is an important consideration for those who use hydraulic machinery on farms, forests, or similar environmentally sensitive sites. This is because the oil is made from a biodegradable base fluid, so it will naturally degrade in the event of a spill.
Hydraulic oil in more detail.
Hydraulic Oil Classification
Hydraulic oil classifications are a subgroup of different fluids with different levels of performance. Below is a list of common hydraulic oil classifications and their respective descriptions:
- HL – Refined mineral oils with antioxidant and antioxidant properties
- HM – HL with improved anti-wear properties
- HR – HL oils with VI improvers
Hydraulic Oil Classifications
When an additive company sells an additive package, they will work with a particular manufacturer to create a product that works perfectly with that manufacturer’s application. This will be traceable to a hydraulic oil supplier who has used the additive in the fluid. Many oil end users stipulate hydraulic oil classifications or approvals to ensure they are using the correct fluid for their equipment.
Hydraulic oil analysis
Commonly known as condition monitoring, a hydraulic oil analysis service is used by people who want to get the most out of their oil before having to change it in their hydraulic application.
This works by sending a sample of the hydraulic oil to a lab which analyzes the sample and reports back in detail as to whether it is good to use more or needs to be changed. This gives the end user the assurance that it is still usable and expensive equipment cannot be damaged by dirty or worn oil.
Why is hydraulic oil analysis important?
The importance of oil analysis should be high on anyone’s list. Below is a list of some of the reasons why it shouldn’t be ignored and how it pays for itself many times over:
- Reduces the cost of premature oil replacement.
- Minimize damage to your machinery by identifying problems early.
- It has the potential to improve the useful life and performance of machinery.
- Reduces the risk of damage to machinery and products.
- Reduces the risk of personal injury and additional costs in claims and damages.
Hydraulic oil temperature range
Depending on the application of the hydraulic fluid, it may be subject to hot or cold temperatures. In some cases, hydraulic oil can be subjected to hot and cold temperatures, which can render the oil useless if it has not been mixed with the proper additives.
Hydraulic fluids are temperature stable, which means that they will retain their properties within a particular temperature range. Anything above or below this will negatively affect temperature stability and cause the fluid to wax and freeze in cold conditions or lose viscosity and possibly leak in higher temperatures. High temperatures can cause rapid deterioration of hydraulic oil.
Hydraulic oil viscosity vs temperature
Hydraulic oil viscosity and temperature are closely related. As the temperature increases the viscosity of the oil will decrease, a bit like when you put cooking oil in a cold pan it moves slowly, but when the pan heats up the oil moves very quickly and easily. As the temperature drops, the hydraulic oil becomes more viscous.
Blenders are always trying to make hydraulic oil work effectively over a wider range of temperatures. This means that they will drop at low temperatures and continue to work just as efficiently as the temperature rises.
Hydraulic Oil Viscosity Index
To measure the change in the viscosity of hydraulic oil when the temperature changes, we use the oil viscosity index (VI). If a hydraulic oil has a low viscosity index, a change in temperature will alter the viscosity more than if it has a high viscosity index.
High VI hydraulic oil will generally be required in an application that is subject to a greater range of ambient and/or operating temperatures.
A straight paraffinic mineral base oil will normally produce a low viscosity index fluid, while a paraffinic mineral base oil with viscosity improvers will produce a high viscosity index fluid.
The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) created a classification table (Scale VI) to show low to high viscosity levels depending on temperature °C. Originally the scale only went up to 100°C, but with advances in hydraulic oil blends, the scale now exceeds this number!
CATEGORIES OF HYDRAULIC FLUIDS BY TYPE OF OIL BASE
Depending on the type of base oil, hydraulic oils can be mineral, synthetic and vegetable.
MINERAL-BASED HYDRAULIC OILS
Mineral-based hydraulic oils are the most common base oils. As their mere name says, they have a mineral (petroleum) base. It is obtained from the distillation of crude oil. The process removes all harmful contaminants and hydrocarbons. When using high-quality additive packages, mineral-based hydraulic oils can be comparable to synthetics in performance. These additives allow impeccable performance, protection and lubrication.
Mineral-based oils consist of three subcategories. The first group are mineral fluids refined with traditional solvents. The second and third groups are hydrocracked mineral oils that have fewer sulfur impurities and a higher viscosity rate.
One of the main benefits of conventional hydraulic oils is their cost effectiveness. Thanks to their thermal stability and anti-wear properties, they can withstand the most demanding working conditions. They have a wide range of uses in various sectors, including mining, construction, forestry, etc.
Valvoline offers superiorMineral-based hydraulic oils HVLP and HLP. All of the conventional hydraulic fluids in our selection consist of a premium mineral base and advanced anti-wear additives. Depending on their ISO viscosity grades, we offer a wide range of HVLP and HLP oils.
Mineral-based hydraulic oils offer increased protection against rust, corrosion and sludge foaming in wet work environments. Additionally, their high oxidation stability allows these fluids to resist chemical breakdown when exposed to water. On the other hand, its filterability characteristics facilitate rapid separation of water.
Valvoline’s conventional hydraulic oils have better lubrication and less friction. As such, they have longer reapplication intervals and reduce maintenance costs.
SYNTHETIC BASE HYDRAULIC OILS
Synthetic hydraulic oils are chemically produced base oils. They consist of precisely arranged molecules to enhance oil performance.
As such, they make up for the shortcomings of mineral-based hydraulic oils. For example, they offer high fluid stability, lubricity, and biodegradability. Synthetic-based hydraulic oils are a perfect choice for machinery that operates in extremely high/low temperatures or high pressures.
Some of the main drawbacks of synthetic hydraulic oils are their higher price and incompatibility with certain seal materials.
Now, synthetic-based hydraulic fluids can be classified into the following categories:
PHOSPHATE ESTER-BASED SYNTHETIC HYDRAULIC OILS
Phosphate esters are the result of the reaction of phosphoric acid with aromatic alcohols.
They provide numerous benefits, including excellent fire resistance, thermal stability, and lubrication. Hydraulic systems use them as non-combustible base materials.
Unfortunately, phosphate ester-based hydraulic fluids are incompatible with many paints, adhesives, and sealing materials. Another disadvantage of synthetic phosphate ester-based hydraulic oils is their low viscosity and toxicity.
POLYOLESTER-BASED SYNTHETIC HYDRAULIC FLUIDS
Polyol esters are made from the reaction of long-chain fatty acids and synthesized alcohols. Like phosphate ester base oils, polyol ester base synthetic hydraulic oils have impressive lubricating and fire resistance properties.
Polyol ester based oils have a low pour point and impressive flow characteristics. They are also biodegradable and eco-friendly.
Valvoline Ultramax Bio-46It is one of the most trusted synthetic hydraulic oils in Europe. It is composed of saturated ester-based oil and premium quality additives. Because it is biodegradable, this ester-based synthetic hydraulic fluid has numerous uses in sensitive environments.
WATER-GLYCOL SYNTHETIC HYDRAULIC OILS
Synthetic water glycol hydraulic oils are made up of up to 60% glycol and 38-45% water. These fluids are also fire resistant, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Additive packages increase its corrosion resistance, oxidation stability and anti-wear properties.
Synthetic hydraulic fluids with the water formulation evaporate faster. Therefore, one of its disadvantages is the strict temperature limits. They operate in lower temperatures, ranging from 0°C to 49°C.
Another issue is its compatibility with certain system materials. Fluid is corrosive to zinc, cadmium, and non-anodized aluminum. Chemical reactions with these metals result in faster fluid degradation.
Synthetic water-glycol hydraulic oils are widely used. Some of its applications include electric welders, forklifts, die-casting machinery, etc.
VEGETABLE HYDRAULIC OILS
Vegetable hydraulic oils are an effective substitute for mineral-based oils. They are derived from raw plants, such as rapeseed, rapeseed, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and canola. Its chemical structure is similar to that of polyol esters.
Vegetable-based hydraulic oils have advanced lubrication, anti-oxidation, anti-rust and anti-wear characteristics. They also have a high viscosity index. As such, they are used in both mobile and stationary hydraulic systems.
Most importantly, plant-based hydraulic oils are natural. They have impressive environmental properties, such as non-toxicity, biodegradability, and sustainability.
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