Pneumatic systems & components

Getting the drop on moisture and contamination control

Third Quarter 2023 Pneumatic systems & components

Studies have showed that contaminated oils are responsible for 70 to 80% of system failures. The two primary causes are particulate and water contamination. The inclusion of in-line filtration or the installation of efficient return-line filters results in cleaner and more efficient systems. However, a commonly overlooked but critical component in this regard is the breather or filler breather mounted on the reservoir.

Entry level breathers provide inadequate filtration and can be a source of moisture ingress and discharging of contaminants into a system. This results in the need for more frequent filter changes. Such an exercise can be costly, and the contaminant build-up may clog the filter element and result in the element’s failure, or the contamination bypassing the filter, long before the recommended service interval.

Hydrasales’ filtration specialists have been assisting customers in the fight for effective filtration in order to prevent contamination for over 40 years. The company distributes a range of Air Sentry desiccant breathers. These have state-of-the-art features that reduce particulate and moisture contamination, and set the standard for contamination control. They neutralise contamination, while protecting operational efficiencies. These breathers stop moisture from seeping into equipment, while still allowing clean air to pass through.

The cutting edge of breather technology

Guardian is Air Sentry’s industry-leading breather series. Some models feature an isolation check valve that keeps exhaust air from depleting the desiccant and protects against volatile fumes and splashing fluids. The casing is constructed from Tritan, a patented material highly resistant to impact and chemicals, with a broad range of operating temperatures. These unique features equate to a longer life for your breather and your equipment.

Guardian’s modular construction and optional add-on features allow you to customise each model to your specific application requirements. From the isolation check valve, to its stackable design, from its wash-down cap, or its compound indicating gauge, to the high-capacity HEPA filter, the Guardian will last longer and reduce downtime, helping you to protect your assets.

Lucas Thela from Hydrasales shares his experience with an application: “Scamont Engineering introduced desiccant breathers for its displacement slurry pumps in conditions that were very humid. The system was experiencing water build-up in the tank containing gear oil that lubricates the pump gears.” Richard Buckley, chief engineering officer at Scamont continues: “Scamont specialises in the manufacture of underground mine dewatering pumps. In an underground environment, humidity is a major factor. We use the breathers in positive displacement and multistage centrifugal pumps to avoid moisture contamination in gearboxes and bearing housings. The modular design, with air filter cartridges, dial gauge indicators, breather ports and washdown cap make the product both versatile and fit for purpose.”

Increasing oil service life by 300%

A large hay farming operation in Oregon was experiencing critical problems with the hydraulic systems on a hay press that was less than one year old. The company exports hay to overseas markets, which requires the hay to be compressed into dense bales four metres per side, suitable for a container shipment. The denser the hay cube, the more profit per shipment. The environment is extremely severe due to the massive amounts of dust and other airborne contaminates that are continually present. The customer became alarmed when a sample of hydraulic oil showed dangerously high levels of contamination in the press reservoir.

The customer had been performing a complete fluid change every six months at a huge cost. The customer contacted the press manufacturer, who blamed the oil for the high level of contamination, and predicted that if the contamination level was not reduced, a complete rebuild of the system within a year could be expected.

After concluding that airborne particulates and water contamination were the source of the problem, the customer replaced the hydraulic reservoir breather caps with Air Sentry D-101 breathers. Subsequent analysis showed a continual decrease in moisture and particle contamination. The customer was able to extend fluid change-outs from every six months to every 18 months, increasing the oil service life by over 300% and saving $15 000 annually.

Making the change together

Hydrasales provides assistance with contamination problems, and can help with product selection to meet a system’s requirements. The company represents Whitemore’s desiccant breather line, Air Sentry; MP Filtri’s range of filtration products and accessories, Faster Couplings; and Badger Meter’s Hedland range of in-line flow meters. These leading manufacturers meet the highest quality standards and their products are internationally certified. Hydrasales also offers its customers technical support for these top brands.


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