Bosch Rexroth Identifies Oil Contamination as Machinery Failure Cause
Between 70 and 80 percent of all hydraulic failures, which can lead to machinery failure, can be traced back to contaminated oil, according to leading drives and controls manufacturer, Bosch Rexroth.
The warning has been issued due to increasing concerns that engineers continue to rely on component monitoring as a means of early detection of machinery problems. Experts at Bosch Rexroth believe that only 20 percent of all unplanned downtime can be identified through component monitoring with oil analysis a more reliable option.
Rexroth has identified three types of oil contamination that are causing machinery problems; namely solid particles such as dirt and dust, liquid contamination such as water and other fluid mixture, and gaseous contamination, such as air.
“The origins of any contamination can vary,” said Chris Gray, an expert in oil contamination at Bosch Rexroth. “Contamination can be built-in during the manufacturing process, such as welding residue, or it can be external contamination entering via piston rods or poor seals and vents. It can even be generated during the working life of a drive via seal abrasion or chemical erosion.
“70 to 80 percent of hydraulic drive failures are caused by contaminated oil. Lubricant analysis is therefore a vital part of modern maintenance and servicing.”
Gray continued: “Focused monitoring of oil cleanliness and conducting oil analysis provides information on the condition of the operating medium at an early stage and thus contributes to preventing expensive repairs, downtimes and unnecessary oil changes. Extended oil intervals cut costs in the short run, but in the long term, they increase the risk of damage caused by oil degradation.”
However, there remain concerns that oil analysis is not forming part of the regular machinery servicing schedule.
“For many maintenance and production engineers there simply isn’t the time and manpower to conduct the regular checks needed to identify problems before it becomes too late,” said Gray. “This can lead to a whole host of problems, such as valve and pump failure, which can result in unplanned machinery downtime and potentially costly repairs or the need to replace components entirely.”
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.