If one were to ask bobcat operators or construction contractors which is the most important part of the machine, they are most likely to answer the engine. If one were to ask an expert the same question, they would say instantly that it is the hydraulic system.
The Vital Component
The hydraulic system of bobcats and other earthmoving equipment, such as diggers and excavators, is the most vital component. Without it, the machine will not be able to perform any landscaping task, even if it has a powerful, efficient engine. The earthmoving equipment derives it power from its hydraulics. A weak system means a less efficient machine, which results in escalated costs and more time spent on completing the task. Since the hydraulics play such an important role, it is imperative that it is maintained in mint condition.
The Importance Of Hydraulic Oil
As with any moving part, the hydraulics of bobcats, diggers, and excavators need to well-lubricated for it to perform at its optimum. A smooth, sliding motion allows the hydraulic arms to exert more power and thrust into their motion, enabling the machine to lift more and dig deeper. In order to keep the arms moving smoothly, hydraulic oil needs to be used.
There are some manufacturers who use the normal engine oil or automatic transmission fluid to lubricate the mechanical arms. What they do not realise is that the thickness of the oil plays an important role rather than the brand of the oil. The reason why thick oil with a High Viscosity Index (HVI) is absolutely essential is because of the heat generated by hydraulic system. As the arms slide in and out, the temperatures of the moving parts rise. If a normal oil with Low Viscosity Index (LVI) is used, it will simply melt away from the parts, reducing the ability of the hydraulics to push harder and harder.
Selecting The Right HVI
Choosing the right oil thickness can be a bit complicated. The hydraulics work differently in different conditions, sometimes using more power and thrust, and sometimes using less. If the viscosity is too thick or too thin, the machine will not be able to perform at its maximum capacity.
There is one way of selecting the optimum HVI for the hydraulic systems – Alter the viscosity for the conditions. As a rule of thumb, HVI68 grade is most suited to the wide variety of Australian conditions. For work conditions that offer higher temperatures, then HV100 grade is a better bet. This oil is a slow starter to begin with, but lasts longer in high temperature conditions. For work conditions that are a lot colder, HV46 grade is the ideal option.
A Continuous Process
Even with all the precautions and all the right steps, the Hydraulic oil can get ‘cooked’. This is where the operators need to step in. They must ensure that the correct oil is used with the correct volume of oil. They also need to keep the machine clean so that the oil can be kept at just the right temperature.