Why Demulsifying Hydraulic Fluids Matter By Dr. Bernie Roell, Vice President of R&D

March 24, 2017

Water contamination is the leading cause of hydraulic system failure. It causes both chemical and mechanical issues which can be extremely costly to fix, not to mention the downtime and headache they inevitably bring.

The best way to prevent failures is to ensure that you are using quality hydraulic fluids. We have developed an infographic that explains the problems associated with water contamination and the benefits of demulsifying fluids.

First, let’s define the difference between emulsifying and demulsifying fluids. In simple words, emulsifying lubricants are formulated to absorb or suspend water in the system, while demulsifying lubricants are formulated to separate water from the system. Why does that matter? Because the presence of water in the system leads to hydrolysis, premature oxidation and a corrosive environment which shortens the life of the pump or other equipment. And as you already know, the hydraulic pump is generally the most expensive component on a hydraulic system. It also has the ability to cause chain-reaction failures, meaning that once your pump fails, the rest of your equipment is in danger, too.

Most OEMs recommend draining and refilling any fluid with water content above five percent. As a result, the industry is trending towards wider use of demulsifying lubricants, which allow water to be easily removed through normal separating methods.

Hydraulic Environmental Polyalphaolefins and related hydrocarbon products (HEPR) is an Environmentally Acceptable Lubricant (EAL) classification that has excellent water separating characteristics and easily demulsifies water in your system by draining and separating water from your hydraulic systems. This type of technology behaves similar to petroleum oil counterparts.  Some ester based EALs (Vegetable and Saturated) are designed to separate water as well, however, emulsifying esters simply manage the water that gets into your system. In addition, HEPR solutions offer multiple benefits:

  • Highly durable and offer extended wear protection
  • Extended fluid life (due to exceptional oxidative stability)
  • Broad temperature range performance
  •  Excellent thermal and hydrolytic stability
  • Broad seal compatibility
  • Easy drop-in replacement for petroleum / mineral oil-based lubricants

Download our Get the Water Out infographic here and protect your equipment with demulsifying EALs.

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