The benefits of assessing a hydraulic system’s condition are well documented. Even though pressure transducers, flow meters, and temperature sensors may not be required for routine operation of a machine, portable diagnostic instruments monitor these parameters to determine a hydraulic system’s condition. But even regular monitoring of pressure, flow, and temperature can miss sensitive fluid conditions, such as particulate contamination, oxidation, water infiltration, and additive depletion.
Evaluation of these conditions requires taking fluid samples and analyzing them in a laboratory environment. The problem is that determining where fluid samples or pressure, flow, and temperature readings should be taken often are determined after a machine has been commissioned. Installing test ports, then, requires disconnecting a hydraulic system’s fluid lines, installing the test ports in strategic locations, and reconnecting everything. This procedure is not only labor-intensive and time consuming, it also leaves a system open to infiltration of dirt, water, and air — not to mention leaks if fittings are not reconnected just right.
A quick and convenient alternative to this potentially complicated task of installing test ports onto existing systems is offered by serv-Clip, manufactured by BKM Machine, Hagen, Germany. Two versions are available — one that can be connected to pressurized line and one that connects to unpressurized lines. Both are made of stainless steel and come in standard sizes for 10- to 42-mm steel pipe, 3⁄8- to 2-in. OD tube, and ¼- to 3-in. ID pipe.
serv-Clip is composed of a clamp that attaches to a tube or pipe, a stem that pierces the tube or pipe, and a port for connecting a pressure gauge, transducer, or other measuring instrument. The stem pierces the line in a way that does not introduce debris into the fluid. A small tube can also be connected to the port for taking fluid samples.
Installation requires only a few steps and is said to take less than 3 min. After selecting placement:
•remove paint and clean the site to be tapped,
•place the clamp onto the line and tighten fasteners,
•torque down the stem to pierce the hydraulic line,
•attach the sampling tube or measuring instrument to the port.
Also detects flow and leakage
Once a serv-Clip connector has been installed, its G¾-in. port accommodates a wide variety of measuring devices. BKM Machine also offers its fluid-Check sensors, which screw into the serv-Clip port. The fluid-Check sensors measure flow rate and leakage and come pre-programmed for lpm or gpm output. The measuring cycle takes 9 seconds the calorimetric principle. This technology uses a sensor head to measure minute temperature differences in the oil medium on an applied heat load. The cooling and heating time of the tip correlates to the actual oil flow rate. When used as a leakage sensor, fluid-Check can measure flow rates as low as 0.02 lpm (0.0053 gpm); when used as a flow sensor, it can handle up to 600 lpm (158 gpm).
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