Selecting a Filter for better Hydraulic Performance - WorldOfChemicals

Selection of Hydraulic Filter

Hydraulic Filter

One of the major sources of machine impairment in chemical manufacturing plants is from fluid contamination. Without apt fluid conditioning and preventive measures, component failure can occur.


Hydraulic fluids are responsible for occupying the gap between metal surfaces, forming a pressure barrier to prevent entry of contaminants, lubrication of metal surfaces and cooling of machine components. The hydraulic system will perform effectively if any of these functions are impaired. As a result, large chemical manufacturing plants would incur high downtime losses.


How do contaminants enter? What are their sources?

Contaminants enter a hydraulic machine in numerous ways, such as:

  1. Ingested by the system from external factors during operation.
  2. During the process of manufacturing and assembling.
  3. Generated internally during normal operation.


The contaminants include chemical reaction products, metal debris from machined components, dust and rubber particles from hoses and seals. Contaminants also come along with the fluid, when it is added to the system in the beginning. The contaminants involved here include various types of dust particles along with water.


Nature of interference

Contaminant interference manifests itself as either chemical or mechanical interaction with fluid, fluid additives or components.

Mechanical interactions include wearing between particles and component surfaces and blockage of passages by soft or hard solid particles.

Chemical reactions include conversion of the fluid into undesired chemical compounds, a formation of rust, production of biochemicals by microbes and depletion of additives resulting in harmful byproducts.

Both, mechanical and chemical interactions are harmful to the system. System failure is likely to occur if proper preventive measures and fluid conditioning is not done.


Exclusion Method

The best protection against fluid contaminants is preventing their entry into the hydraulic system at the beginning itself. This can be achieved through the installation of a filter element.


How to select a filter?

The selection of a filter element within a hydraulic system is influenced by the nature of the industry, machine and component, which bring their own set of requirements. For selecting a filter, its overall information must be obtained, rather than deciding solely based on aspects like flow and pressure.

The important pieces of information that must be known before selecting a filter are:

 1. The performance requirements of the filter must be understood. It is often expressed as Beta ratio, which is the ratio of particles entering through the filter versus those particles exiting.

 2. Hydraulic components accompanying the filter and their impact on the performance of the filter must be known. This could bring down costs in the long run. 

 3. Fluid viscosity must be taken into consideration, as it leads to proper sizing of the filter, proper pressure range, smaller footprint and lower replacement costs. 

 4. When a clogging indicator is present in a system's filter, operators should develop an apt target for a low-pressure drop, during the sizing of filters. Thus, correct filter sizing subtracts the cost to the circuit.

 5. Understanding the flow rate through the filter decreases the pressure drop through the filter element, which increases the efficiency of the circuit and decreases the operating costs.



Filter selection and sizing are important, but the process does not have to be cumbersome. Determine the basics mentioned here and you are on the way to filter success.

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