Making periodic maintenance to quick-release couplings is extremely important to avoid experiencing fluid leaks, extend their lifetime and rely on comfortable operations of connection and disconnection. The value of maintenance is often underestimated by end users, although it surely makes the purchase of quick couplings a profitable investment.
First, it’s a good habit to carry out a periodical visual inspection of the quick couplings in use to double check whether there are major scratches or damages on the external surfaces; another caution that will complete this preventive control activity, it’s to verify if connection and disconnection maneuvers work properly and if oil leaks (even minor ones) occur in connected or disconnected configurations after pressurizing the hydraulic circuit.
Protecting and Cleaning Quick-Release Couplings
Protecting both the halves of a quick coupling with dedicated dust caps (generally available in pvc, acetal resin, aluminum or even stainless steel depending on the product series) soon after disconnecting is, for sure, a precautionary and effective care, although it doesn’t make preliminary cleaning a superfluous operation. Most of dust caps can be coupled when the two coupler halves are connected so to keep out dirt and dust particles.
An accurate cleaning of quick couplings should be done quite often and especially before each line connection, to prevent debris and contaminant particles from getting inside the quick couplings: that is indeed one of the easiest entrances to hydraulic circuits for any contaminant. Removing dust, debris and mud from flat face valves or from the flat plates of a Multifaster is undoubtedly a simple operation, whereas it gets more complicated to do that when dealing with poppet valve quick couplings, as it’s harder to clean up couplers’ sleeves effectively, where dirt tends to accumulate. Nonetheless, that remains a practice strongly recommended to operators, being the first precaution, ensuring a long lifetime to couplers.
The Risks of Contaminant Accumulation in Hydraulic Circuits
Reduction of flow rate, blockage of internal components and oxidation are concrete hazards caused by the accumulation of contaminant into the hydraulic circuit which can lead in the long term to a decrease of efficiency and productivity of the machinery and finally to expensive machine downtime; applying some synthetic grease (compatible with seals compound) on the coupling interface helps to keep movable components lubricated and provides the necessary protection against jamming and corrosion.
Instead, among the short or mid-term effects of hydraulic oil contamination one of the most frequent is the failure of O-rings and seals hit by contaminant particles which flow into the fluid under pressure: this is a typical root cause for leaks. Some of the gaskets installed into quick-release couplings are serviceable components, and the replacement of worn out parts allows to extend lifetime of the whole coupler.
Replacing Worn O-Rings and Seals in Quick-Release Couplings
Faster spare part kits are available for O-rings and seals which can be easily and quickly replaced; when repair operations are assumed to be too difficult (or when the coupler half is old and way too worn) replacing the quick coupling is the only possible option, as well as the most logical one. In fact, re-installing parts whose internal components aren’t perfectly assembled could provoke troubles and damages much more expensive than the cost of a new item, not to consider the time spent for an extremely difficult repair. The complete list of available O-ring spare parts is available on our website under the section “Accessories and spares”.