Hydraulic fluid change could be predicted

Researchers in Germany are developing a technique for pinpointing lubricant and hydraulic fluid change times.

The team at Saarland University's Centre for Mechatronics and Automation believes it has hit on a detection method that analyses lubricants and hydraulic fluids in operation to monitor additive breakdown.

By accurately identifying the point at which the lubricant or fluid is no longer working effectively, fluid changes can be undertaken at the appropriate time.  Generally, the manufacturing industry will change oils and fluids early rather than risk machinery damage.  The new detectors are likely to extend the useful working length of lubricants, saving significant time and money.

The newly developed system uses a detection cell mounted in hydraulic systems and which can currently operate up to 100bar pressure, although this is being extended.  The cell uses infrare light to detect changes in the oil structure.