A hydraulic system is just that: a system. This means every piece, down to the fittings, adapters, and connectors are essential to the system’s efficient and continued operation. A sub-par piece can interfere with the machine’s ability to function properly, but that doesn’t mean you should always buy the most expensive piece. It’s important to look at the quality of the part and lend far less weight to the cost of the part of the brand name of the piece.
Buying a cheaper component or one that won’t meet your production needs can end up costing you more money down the road. Primarily, it can result in frequent downtime episodes, requiring costly maintenance procedures and missed production schedules. It can also mean having to replace the part again, compelling you to go through the shopping process all over again.
By taking these tips into consideration, you can avoid those additional costs and keep your equipment running efficiently.
1. Select SAE-Approved Components
Your first step should be to only consider parts with the seal of approval from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The SAE seal means the component has been tested for durability and optimum efficiency. The best results can be achieved, when devoting your entire system to the use of SAE-approved components.
When SAE parts are all working together, they can tolerate higher pressures and ensure the system operates more effectively. Additionally, it will be easier to change out pieces, because the SAE approval means that parts from different manufacturers are interchangeable.
2. Look for Parts Made from Corrosion Resistant Metals
Some products are manufactured with unplated carbon steel, which means they will begin rusting as soon as they’re exposed to hydraulic fluids. This means the component will last only a short time, costing downtime that may affect the success of your business. Additionally, if your machine is used in a remote location, such as on a construction site, replacing the part may require extensive resources.
To ensure your parts are corrosion resistant, you should also look for notices from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Their B117 salt spray requirement certifies that the piece has been tested for corrosiveness in damp environments, particularly in locations prone to fog or salty air. Some manufacturers go the extra mile and may guarantee that their pieces will be corrosion free for up to 1,000 hours.
In the following photos, you can see the effects of unprotected materials. The piece on the left shows how well corrosion resistant plating can protect carbon steel fluid conveyance products.
3. Ask About a Guarantee of Quality
The distributor or manufacturer may guarantee their parts, especially if they employ a rigorous quality control system. Some manufacturers may adhere to the technical specifications set forth by International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which are intended to continually improve the production process. Through waste elimination, the refining of production methods, and the prevention of defects, ISO-regulated companies seek to produce a better quality product.
Additionally, the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) has established a system called the Production Part Approval Process. This system regulates the manufacturing of different pieces and materials used in the production of components, giving manufacturers more confidence in their suppliers. This means they can produce a better part, which will meet the AIAG standards. Those standards ensure that each piece meets the required measurements and specifications, so the risk of component failure is minimized.
4. Go to a Trusted Distributor
Where you buy your components can be as important as the quality of the components themselves. Before you buy from a distributor, take note of their hours of operation and whether or not they have an after-hours customer service number. Additionally, inquire about their returns policy and any additional warranties they may offer.
You may also want to ask about the products they sell. Do they offer products from manufacturers throughout the world? Can you order specific parts, if they don’t have what you need in stock? The support you receive from the distributor can be one of your biggest assets.
5. What Support Does the Manufacturer Provide
Try to learn something about the various manufacturers, who offer the parts you need. Some may offer consulting services and application engineering assistance, which can be beneficial in helping you get your equipment running more efficiently. If these resources are available, taking advantage of them can help you improve the operation of your machines. Manufacturers offering services to help you build a better system can help ensure you’re using the proper equipment to accomplish your goals.
Experienced engineers can work with your own employees to help you devise a better, more efficient system. They may be able to provide training and insight that will help your employees operate the system in a safe and productive manner. In addition to improving your operation, this type of service can help protect you against costly downtime.
When considering a new component, taking the time to learn about the distributor, manufacturer, and the part itself can help you make a more informed choice. Buying a quality product will give your machine a more attractive appearance, as well as ensuring it will run without failure for a longer period of time. While incorporating new innovations into your system are important to stay competitive, this doesn’t mean abandoning proven techniques. Taking advantage of new innovations that rely on trusted principles can help ensure your components will be long-lasting and stand up to the rigors of your business. The three primary factors in this regard and those that should fuel your search for new parts are reliability, availability, and durability.