Hydraulic Filtration 101

Particle contamination leads to more hydraulic machinery issues than any other cause. That's why it's so important that you choose the right kind of filter for your equipment. An effective filter will help to decrease contamination issues within your hydraulics. The primary considerations when it comes to choosing hydraulic filtration are size, location and quality.


The correct size of filter for your hydraulic machine is one that allows the flow to move through them at a rate that is appropriate for the particular machine. Pressure drop is the pressure that is created by the friction of the fluids against the filter material. A valve within the filter opens when the filter element becomes clogged. This combination of actions prevents any unfiltered fluid from leaking through It's best to choose a larger filter because it is able to hold more dirt before becoming clogged, along with higher fluid capacity. The thickness, or viscosity, of the oil used and the material the filter is made of also play roles in determining size.


The location of your filter lessens wear-related contamination that comes from the hydraulic machine and keeps the reservoir clean. Primarily, hydraulic filters are mounted between the last valve of the machine's actuator and the reservoir, increasing the chances that the oil will be filtered before it goes into the tank and catches contaminants that are missed by the primary filter. This type of filter is known as a venerable return-line filter. Other filter locations include behind the pump and the kidney loop, also called the offline filter circuit. Filters used in this location work to clean and cool the oil. 


Measurements for filter quality include the average size of particles trapped in them and the rate at which particles are trapped. A micron, or thousandth of a millimeter, is the unit used to rate the quality of filter. These ratings can be quite complex. In general, look for the term "nominal rating" to let you know that a filter is low-efficiency, while the phrase "absolute rating" to indicate a higher efficiency model. Some brands, such as a Donaldson air filter, are always known for quality. Ask a representative if you are unsure. 

These are the very basics of hydraulic filtration. Always do your research and ask questions if you are unsure about filter choice, as the correct filter is necessary to keep your hydraulic equipment functioning efficiently and your production high.

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