The industrial world is continuing to evolve. This means adding more sophisticated ways of reducing unscheduled downtime. However, even with all the automated processes, you still need discipline to ensure the fundamentals of troubleshooting and failure analysis/analytics aren’t lost. Adding devices to monitor operating conditions does little if you can’t put that feedback into context.

The importance of the information gleaned from the repair and refurbishment of equipment can’t be understated. This should be a critical component of any downtime reduction strategy, as it can deliver more than just the face-value savings that result from repair versus replace.

Properly analyzing the mode of failure can provide valuable information about what caused that failure, and thus can be used in an effort to resolve underlying issues. Resolving these underlying issues is the true key to avoiding future unscheduled downtime.

Common Modes of Failure

There are several common modes of failure for variable displacement piston pumps. Understanding these modes of failure, the causes, warning signs, and the prophylactic means of monitoring will help you to reduce unscheduled downtime.

The four most common modes of failure in piston pumps result from the following:

  • Oil contamination
  • Fatigue from transient pressure spikes
  • Blocked or restricted pump inlet
  • Pump case over-pressurization.

These four modes account for the vast majority of all failures seen in the thousands of units inspected and repaired each year by the service technicians.

Oil Contamination 

Contamination can be the result of many things, including egress of water, environmental contaminants, or component ware elements.

Telltale signs of contamination include:

  • Valve plate scoring
  • Vertical scratches on piston barrels
  • Scratches on the face of pistons
  • Excessive wear of saddle bearings (or embedded particulate)
  • Plugged orifices
  • Stuck compensator spools
  • Pistons being seized within the cylinder bore of the barrel.

Fatigue from Transient Pressure Spikes

The fatigue that results from transient pressure spikes will present in the form of broken pistons (at the neck), shafts (where the cylinder barrel rides or at the tail), sheered control pins, damaged yokes, or the appearance of cracks between the kidneys of the cylinder barrel. Of the four common modes of failure, this is by far the most difficult problem to identify through electronic monitoring. It takes a device with an exceptionally quick scan rate as spikes can form and dissipate within the window of a few milliseconds.

If you suspect that your system is experiencing transient pressure spikes, hand-held monitoring devices are offered by many OEMs and are an excellent addition to any reliability team’s troubleshooting toolbox.

Blocked or Restricted Pump Inlets

Blocked or restricted pump inlets will typically present in the form of cavitation on the valve plate or what some service technicians refer to as a “marble sound.” Vacuum at the inlet leads to the formation and collapse of small vapor-filled voids. The shockwave generated by the collapse of these voids leads to surface damage on the valve plate as well as the telltale sound.

Ways to monitor for this condition include the following:

  • A limit switch mounted on a suction ball valve feeding the pump (a common system interlock)
  • A pressure transducer installed into the suction line
  • Vibration monitoring through the use of accelerometers mounted to the pump

Pump Case Over-Pressurization

Pump case over-pressurization can present in the half-moon gouging or full-moon scoring of the swashplate, damaged shoe retainer, bent seal retainer, or protruding shaft seals as well as shoe damage—rounded edges, loose fit on the ball, and excessive wear on the backs of the shoes. This kind of damage will be the result of shoe lift or rolling caused by the increased case pressure.

This condition can be monitored through the use of a pressure transducer in the case line. In practice, however, this is rarely done. The most common type of monitoring for case drains is flow observation. Monitoring for flow can give you a good indication of pump life—allowing you to see how efficient the pump is running (that is if 10% is leaving the case only 90% is going into the system). As a guide: Flow greater than 10% of total flow capacity of the pump indicates excessive wear. It is also worth noting that this method of monitoring pump life is not valid for pumps that have an internal check between the case and suction.

Understanding these modes of failure, the signs, root cause, and methods for identification will help to reduce unscheduled downtime and improve overall system reliability when it matters most.

Yarbrough Industries has years of experience with hydraulic pumps and motors and is always happy to answer your questions or help with things such as troubleshooting, on-site installations and technical training/support. For more information, please contact us.

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Metal fabricators are a pillar that supports the nation’s infrastructure and economy. Countless aspects of our day-to-day life depends on some form of product fabricated from metal, whether its household appliances or critical medical technology. In short, fabricated metal products are invaluable in society, if they’ve been properly finished by a trained professional.

Why is Metal Finishing Important?

Taken on its own, raw metal has some distinct problems; without proper finishing, exposed metals can eventually corrode and tarnish. Depending on the intended use, unfinished metal-fabricated parts can be eroded by salts, weakened by ultraviolet light or rusted by rain. However, the metal fabrication industry realized many years ago that properly finishing components is essential for enhancing durability and the product’s life span.

Beyond that, correctly finishing metal-fabricated products greatly enhances aesthetics, which in turn, makes the products more valuable and pleasing to the end-user. In other words, metal finishing done right is a win for both the metal fabricator and the customer.

Powder Coating’s Impact on Fabrication

Metal fabricators didn’t always have powder coating as an option, though. In the past, fabricators opted for liquid paint; yet, this process took time, required proper conditions and performed poorly unless professionally applied.

In the 1960s, scientists perfected powder-coating, which was a new finishing process that revolutionized the metal product industry. Powder coating provided immediate advantages over previous finishing methods, giving metal fabricators and product manufacturers a leading edge.

Powder coating improves durability, while offering a premium appearance and lowering environmental impact. Over the years, powder coating has allowed metal fabricators to improve production time while increasing functional protective product properties.

How Does Powder Coating Work?

It’s crucial to understand exactly how powder coating works to fully appreciate its unique advantages. While conventional liquid paint has color pigments suspended in liquid, powder coating operates in a completely dry environment— this is an important aspect in finishing custom fabrication and coatings done through powder coating.

Here’s a brief overview of how powder coating works: dry powder receives a positive electric charge and gets sprayed under pressure to the unfinished metal object that’s grounded with a negative charge. This, in turn, creates an electrochemical change allowing molecules from the powder to attach to the metal. There’s a wide variety of powder bases including acrylic, polyester, epoxy, polyurethane or a blend of the aforementioned. The electric polarization inherent to the process allows entirely uniform coating without runs or sags.

After the fabricated metal parts have a uniform powder coating, they’re then placed in a high-temperature environment— the duration will ultimately depend on powder materials, and temperatures can range up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Powder-coated products are fully cured when they’re removed from the oven and can be used immediately.

Powder coating allows for complex geometric shapes to be easily coated with uniform coverage. Upon completion, powder-coated pieces have a solid, molecularly-dense, protective outer layer.

Unique Benefits of Powder Coating

Powder coating finish has a multitude of benefits over other available finishing options. Powder coating, performed by a professional, makes finished surfaces resistant to scratching, fading, wearing, and chipping. Beyond that, powder-coated metal products won’t corrode or rust, maintaining a new appearance throughout the product lifecycle. Powder coating also helps to make products nearly maintenance-free under normal usage, as there isn’t a need for repainting.

Powder-coated metal finishes stack up well when compared to other finish techniques. Since powder coating uses less equipment, requires less application time and takes up fewer raw materials, it’s a less expensive process than alternatives like plating and conventional painting. Powder coating is indeed a reliable process, reducing the amount of rejected work. It’s a cleaner, smoother and superior process than other finishing methods. Powder coating is environmentally-friendly, safe and cost-effective finishing. It’s no surprise that powder coating has such a superior advantage in the metal finishing industry.

It’s crucial to do your research when choosing a metal fabrication expert, as not all companies are capable of completing the same quality of work. Yarbrough Industries has years of experience here in Springfield, honing our skills across the board to deliver a quality product and measurable bottom-line value to our customers.

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There are many different methods that metal fabricators use to cut metal, but laser cutting is one of the most advanced techniques. A laser cutter’s ability to make precise cuts at speeds unmatched by other flat sheet cutting methods makes it one of the best sheet metal fabrication choices. There are several benefits to this method of cutting, including:

Competitive Pricing

Laser cutting is a highly automated process, making labor costs minimal when compared to hand-operated machinery. Since costs associated with sheet metal fabrication include labor, operation and machine expenses, this is an important factor to consider. The operating costs and machine costs are fairly average compared to other cutting techniques.

Generally, companies will find that outsourcing laser cutting for their sheet metal fabrication is the most effective option for most projects. Laser-cutting machines can be quite expensive, and most companies find that it is easier and less expensive to outsource this aspect of their fabrication process. 

One of the great things about laser cutters is that there are no dull or worn blades to worry about, making die changeovers a thing of the past. This also means that by placing larger orders, you can reduce costs tremendously, as the automated system does the mapping and planning for each additional piece. 

Although laser cutting isn’t the cheapest cutting technology available, it’s more than affordable for most projects. It has some major benefits over other cutting forms, such as water jet cutting or hand cutting processes.

Unrivaled Speed, Efficiency & Automation

A laser cutting machine can move as quickly as 1,000 holes per minute. Of course, the exact speed will vary depending on the tolerances and intricacy of the parts.

CNC controls typically run laser cutting. The formulas entered into the computer mean each part and product is identically fabricated, leading to fewer defects per batch.

Quality Precision

Laser cutting can create tiny cuts at tight tolerances. However, that’s the tradeoff: the more precision you want, the slower the laser will move. Yet, this highly detailed capability is unique to laser cutting. So, laser cutting is the only type of cutting that will get the job done well if you require intricate cuts.

Beyond that, all laser-cut edges and curves are smooth, sharp, and clean, which means there is very little, if any, burring because the laser melts rather than physically cuts the metal.

The only thing to consider is if your project requires very thick sheets of metal – thicker metals affect the cut’s quality, and a laser will leave some dross (melted metal scum) behind on thick metals. Aside from this dross, there is little to no clean-up involved in the majority of laser cutting projects.

Versatility

The combination of cost, speed, automation, and precision makes laser cutting a great choice for any size product or project. This makes many routine tasks/projects easy, including prototypes, industrial orders, delicate designs, and larger cutouts. Lasers are capable of making holes, slots, tabs, and other cut fabrications with no interruption of the cutting process. The incredible precision allows for tight tolerances on intricately detailed designs. If your project doesn’t require tight tolerances, the laser can move quickly and produce parts at incredible speeds. This makes laser cutting a fantastic choice for a wide spectrum of projects.

Yarbrough Industries is proud to offer laser cutting services for your next fabrication product. We can fabricate any order, whether it includes prototypes, components, or final assemblies. We adhere to the belief that high-quality results can only be achieved through the use of high-quality equipment. Laser cutting offers the ability to cut through various materials and thicknesses at high speeds, producing extremely precise and accurate cuts.

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When you own a business, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to ensure it remains profitable. In many cases, installing equipment such as a pallet dispenser can help you do exactly that. However, many people who run warehouses and manufacturing facilities that make use of pallets don’t know of the benefits that they can derive from utilizing pallet dispensers. Since they don’t realize the financial benefits, they don’t think investing in them is a good idea. The truth is, something as simple as installing a pallet dispenser is almost guaranteed to increase profitability in your facility. Some of the ways you might see a financial impact are:

Reduced damage to the pallets

When you have to keep replacing damaged pallets, it can really start to eat away at your profit margins. Everything deteriorates over time and pallets are no different. When they are used regularly or used to lift items that are too heavy, it can cause damage sooner than typical wear and tear. Most of the time, breakage occurs when the pallets are being accessed for the first time in order to be used. Installing a pallet dispenser is effective in reducing such damage since it makes access to the pallets a lot easier.

Storing pallets incorrectly often leads to damage as well, so it’s also important to note that pallet dispensers also function as storage facilities. This means that when you put the pallets in them, you are unlikely to end up having to deal with issues such as the pallets being damaged due to improper storage. They are usually stacked in an orderly manner within the dispensers, which reduces the risk of damage.

Increased efficiency

Time is money and pallet dispensers are proof of that. By installing pallet dispensers, you immediately reduce the amount of time it takes to find and use a pallet in your warehouse or facility. Obviously, depending on the type of system you used previously, this improvement may end up reducing the amount of time needed to do this drastically. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, when added up, it will translate to a lot of time saved. The cumulative effect is that the entire facility will operate more efficiently, which always ends with more profits. This is especially so when you are dealing with time-sensitive businesses, such as the movement of perishable goods.

Reduced risk of injury

Workplace injuries are commonly associated with pallets. When the process of picking up the pallets is not done in an orderly manner, it can easily lead to staff members sustaining injuries of various kinds. When you have a pallet dispenser, this concern can be alleviated considerably. By ensuring that all the pallets are in a central position, you create a more orderly, and easier way to retrieve them. You will therefore not have to spend money and time on the medical issues that arise from accidents in such a setting.

It’s obvious that there are a lot of financial benefits to using a pallet dispenser in such a setting. However, it’s important to note that the benefit you can reap from the products depends on a number of factors including:

  • The quality of your pallet dispensers: If you want to get the most out of the devices, always make sure that you insist on buying high-quality ones. These might cost you a bit more than the regular ones, but they will last longer and sometimes be more practical, which more than makes up for this. Besides, careful shopping will allow you to identify high-quality dispensers that are not that much more expensive than the regular ones, which means that you will get a lot more value for money from them and they will last you for years into the future.
  • Proper installation: One of the factors that will influence the performance of the pallet dispenser is how you install it. Make sure that you always consult a professional in doing this, so that the risk of making installation errors is minimized. Even better still, you could opt to have the vendor do the installation. This way, in case of any problems, you can simply refer to your warranty to have the repairs done if it’s allowed.

In summary, if you run a facility such as a warehouse in manufacturing or distribution, where you use such pallets widely, installing the dispenser is likely to be a very good idea. It helps you streamline the operations of the facility, and ensures that you do get very good value for money from the decision. The best thing about them is that once installed, you will rarely have to spend a lot of money on them.

Yarbrough Industries Pal-O-Matic Automatic Pallet Dispenser is one of the best on the market. It automatically dispenses and holds pallets captive for easy retrieval with a pallet jack and it is made with the sturdiest materials. If you are interested in seeing how a Pal=O-Matic Pallet Dispenser could impact your facility’s production,

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.