Equipment like gearboxes, pumps, and reservoirs must “breathe” when the air in the headspace expands and contracts due to temperature changes and hydraulic fluid level changes in the case of hydraulic systems. When this happens, contamination from dust, dirt, and moisture can enter the equipment and cause serious issues. In particular, lubricant or oil that becomes contaminated with considerable amounts of water can cause oil oxidation, additive depletion, corrosion, and rust over time, decreasing the service life of machines.
Desiccant breathers, which we offer at TTI, are designed to filter out solid particles and moisture, effectively reducing the infiltration of contaminants and extending the service life of different types of equipment over time. The simple addition of a reservoir breather can reduce equipment downtime and save companies money in the long run. This technology plays a major role in avoiding costly repairs, especially in harsh operating environments.
A reservoir, such as a hydraulic oil reservoir, gearbox, or automotive crankcase is an enclosed container that stores oil which is then propelled through the equipment or machine in order to lubricate bearing surfaces, and then returned within the closed-loop system. A correctly designed reservoir will have headspace (or air space) above the oil level designed to permit thermal expansion of the oil and de-aeration of the fluid.
The oil level in a machine changes as it transitions from rest to full operation and vice versa. This results in the buildup of excess pressure. In order to equalize this pressure buildup, a reservoir breather is used to allow the air to enter and exit the hydraulic reservoir without particulate contamination.
If air is permitted to flow freely in and out of the reservoir without a breather, everything in that air exchange is also allowed to flow freely, which can include moisture and contamination from dirt which are harmful to the oil and the bearing surfaces in the machinery. Airborne contamination is especially relevant in severe environments and can result in expensive repair costs and a higher frequency of downtime.
In order to prevent equipment contamination, an engineer or other maintenance professional must be aware of the operating conditions of the machinery and select the proper type of reservoir breather for these conditions. In addition, ongoing preventative maintenance is necessary to ensure the breather is clean and in its proper position so that it continues to function as designed, even in extreme environment applications.
TTI has a wide variety of products, including gearbox adapter kits, hydraulic adapter kits, different desiccant breather models, and filtration elements. For more information about our expansive product offerings, including the reservoir breathers we offer to protect fluid tanks and machinery from machine failure and other effects of contaminants and moisture, give us a call today at 303-585-0132 or leave us a message through our contact form.