Prepping machine tools for weather changes involves preparing and protecting them. Low and high temperatures, combined with adverse weather conditions, can affect performance and longevity. Problems associated with higher temperatures include corrosion, which can be caused by moisture from higher humidity. Cooler temperatures bring potential for hydraulic disruptions.

Prepping Machine Tools for weather
thermometer for hydraulic fluid

Prepping Machine Tools with Hydraulic Oil

Hydraulic oil viscosity is chosen based on the expected operating temperature range. Higher viscosity oils (thicker) are used in warmer temperatures to ensure adequate lubrication and performance, while lower viscosity oils (thinner) are used in colder temperatures to maintain fluidity and flow. ISO VG 46 and 32 are the most recommended hydraulic fluid weights. The operating temperature range for a typical ISO VG 46 hydraulic fluid is approximately -20°C to 70°C (-4°F to 158°F) while the operating temperature range for ISO VG 32 hydraulic fluid is typically -30°C to 70°C (-22°F to 158°F). Most shops will never face temperatures below freezing inside their production areas, but those in extreme locations may. For the folks farthest from the equator or at higher elevations, confirming you’re using the correct fluid is imperative to maintaining your machines.

Hydraulic Oil Weight

In many cases, when prepping machine tools for weather changes, it is not necessary to change the hydraulic oil weight seasonally. However, it is crucial to use the appropriate viscosity for the given operating conditions. It’s important to regularly monitor the hydraulic oil and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil change intervals. If there are significant changes in operating conditions, such as a shift from summer to winter or vice versa, it may be necessary to adjust the hydraulic oil viscosity. You would need to adjust it to suit the new temperature range and maintain optimal system performance.

Consulting with a hydraulic system expert or the equipment manufacturer can provide valuable insights into the ideal hydraulic oil viscosity. The different viscosity will vary for your specific application and the appropriate adjustments needed to optimize performance based on seasonal changes.

Hydraulic oil weight, often referred to as viscosity, is a measure of the oil’s resistance to flow. The selection of hydraulic oil viscosity depends on various factors, including the operating temperature, the specific requirements of the hydraulic system, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Remember to Prep for Summer

Prepping machine tools for weather changes also means prepping for summer. Preemptively combating potential overheating and corrosion caused by the higher humidity found in warmer temperatures is key. For air-conditioned production spaces over-heating and corrosion will be much less of an issue than in non-climate controlled spaces. For many shops however, air-conditioning is found in the main offices, but is not provided to production spaces. The combination of the warmer air and the heat produced by running the machinery has the potential to be too much. Thus, causing it to over-heat and potentially break down. In spaces where the ambient temperature is not controlled, warmer air will also hold more water vapor. This increases the risk of corrosion and rust.

fan spinning Machine Tools Prepping

To combat the issues associated with warmer temperatures, some shops add additional fans during the summer months. This will help to keep equipment in a safe operating environment. Dehumidifiers are also popular. Also, frequent application (and reapplication) of high quality machine oil will help as a way to combat corrosion and rust.

While prepping machine tools for weather changes may not seem like the highest priority to do on your PM list, taking a moment to consider how your climate may affect your machinery should be.

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