Vehicles such as used bucket trucks can occasionally experience hydraulic fluid spills. This inevitable occurrence can cause exposure to potential fines from environmental agencies and may require clean-up. In order to prevent such an occurrence while operating bucket trucks, owners and operators need to become educated about hydraulic systems and fluids as well as green alternatives to prevent any disruption in daily operations for that business.
Basic System Information
Hydraulic systems work by applying force at one point and transmitting it to another point using incompressible fluids. These liquids can be a type of oil which is either petroleum or vegetable oil based. During the entire power transmission, there is almost always a force multiplication or division depending on each individual system application.
Hydraulic fluids are usually either water or mineral oil based and act as a medium by which power is transferred in the equipment’s operating method. This liquid has low compressibility which results in a more efficient operation because of its low volatility, foaming tendency, and fast air release. One important function of these liquids is to provide protection to the entire system. In fact, they have important components that protect the system from fire, radiation and friction modifications.
As a better environmental choice, many companies use biodegradable hydraulic fluids particularly in environmentally sensitive applications. Unlike their petroleum counterparts, vegetable oil-based versions are helpful in eliminating the risk involved in an oil spill that can result from ruptured lines. There are also other bio-based liquids available although their track record in operation is not very successful. Therefore, the proper choice of which liquid to use must be made, not only for greener purposes but so that it will work well with the type of trucks being used in the business.
Following are some of the benefits derived by using biodegradable fluids in bucket trucks:
- High Equipment Performance – Using biodegradable liquids in hydraulic systems prevents friction, metal wear, rust or bearing breakdown.
- Reliability – Bio-based versions have been tested by different manufacturers of these systems with positive results, demonstrating that this method works efficiently.
- Contamination Prevention – Hydraulic fluids hold up well against external chemicals, dirt and water, thereby protecting the equipment’s system.
- Lower Cost – All bio-based lubricants and liquids are more costly per gallon when compared with conventional petroleum products. Buyers should not look at the initial cost but rather consider the higher fines and clean-up costs if there were a petroleum-based liquid spill. It is also important to think of the effect that petroleum-based liquid has on the environment.
It is important to be knowledgeable about the composition of the hydraulic fluids that are being used. They must contain the following: oxidation and rust inhibitors; foaming resistance; anti-wear additives; and hydrolytic stability. Furthermore, it is important to use only what is compatible with the hydraulic system’s seal materials and hose.
The used bucket truck’s performance, safety and productivity greatly depend upon the boom’s operating systems and the liquid that protects it. The right hydraulic fluid will yield significant benefits to the equipment, operator and company as a whole; it can perform well and be safe to use!