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4 Signs of Impending Pump Failure

The pump is one of the most important components of any hydraulic system. Hydraulic pumps are used in many pieces of common production equipment including conveyor belts and plastic mold injection machines.  With routine maintenance, many pumps can last for five years or longer.

However, if the pump does fail, the equipment system it supports will also fail and a lot of damage could occur. It is vital to be able to recognize the signs of an impending pump failure so you can take corrective action as soon as possible. Here are some signs you may need to take your pump to the shop for repairs:

1. Changes in Function and Power

Hydraulic pumps in proper working order behave predictably. Before a pump is about to fail, you may notice a difference in how the machine is functioning. Many operators report a difference in lifting power or changes in how compact excavators are operating. For example, the excavator’s arms may move more slowly before a pump failure.

You may also notice a decrease in power if a pump is losing steam. A loss of power may make it difficult for you to operate equipment or carry heavy loads. Issues releasing the break is also a sign of impending pump failure.

2. More Noise and Vibration

Hydraulic systems are manufactured to run without emitting much noise. However, you may start hearing excessive noise after parts start to deteriorate. Bumping sounds may indicate insufficient air pressure or too much air in the system. This problem should be repaired promptly or severe damage could occur.

Another sign of a pump issue is new, excessive vibrations. Shaking can indicate a few different things, including malfunctioning bearings and loose screws. Even worse, excessive shaking can be a sign of cavitation. Cavitation can cause severe damage to your system if not addressed immediately. The longer you ignore the noise, the more likely it is you will need to replace the entire machine.

3. Excessive Overheating

A system that is running hotter than usual is another sign you could have a pump problem. While overheating can point to several other issues, it is commonly associated with pump failure. Take your system to the repair shop as soon as you notice excessive heat coming from the pump. Waiting too long can cause irreparable damage.

4. Visible Leaks

Unfortunately, hydraulic leaks may be hard to detect because they often occur inside the machine. However, some signs may indicate a leak. You may notice decreased power, unexpected drops in torque or an accumulation of oil on the exterior of the pump. In some instances, tightening or repairing the seals may help alleviate the problem. If you ignore the leak, residue such as dirt, dust, and grease may get inside the pump. System-wide failure is likely once a large amount of grease gets inside the pump.

If you recognize these signs of pump failure, you should take immediate action. You may have time to fix your pump before permanent damage occurs. However, ignoring the issue will only make things worse and your entire system will fail before long. Take your system to a certified repair shop or dealer for a thorough inspection. It may be something simple to fix, such as a loose seal, or you may need to make more extensive repairs. Either way, addressing the issue at the first sign of damage can save you time and money down the road.

Panagon Systems repairs and manufacturers hydraulic parts, including pumps, for many industrial applications. If you suspect you have a pump issue, we can address the issue quickly so you can resume operations as soon as possible.

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