Maintenance and Service Conference - Expectations exceeded
1. Maintenance and Service Conference
There are many informational events for maintenance technicians and machine operators, but there are none that deal specifically with the hydraulics. It was the desire to change this state of affairs that inspired the IHA to inaugurate a conference for maintenance technicians that would be informative and helpful in everyday practice. After a period of intensive preparation, the first Maintenance and Service Conference was held conference on 12 and 13 May 2011.
Participants attended presentations on a various aspects of fluid technology given by specialists from the IHA and other organisations. The contents of the individual presentations were specially adapted to address the interests of maintenance technicians.
In the first item on the agenda, "BGR237 hydraulic hose lines, rules for safe operation", IHA trainer Ulrich Hielscher emphasised the responsibility of operators for the hose lines installed in their hydraulic systems. Mr Hielscher drew on many practical examples to point out in detail the dangers of defective and incorrectly installed hose lines. His talk included a series of images that strikingly illustrated the potential for danger if hose lines are installed improperly or even repaired without due attention to detail. He also showed images of correct installation practices.
The purpose of IHA trainer Dierk Peitsmeyer's presentation was to increase his listeners' awareness of "Safety when maintaining hydraulic systems". Attendees were shown powerful examples of the hazards associated with hydraulic systems that are often not immediately evident. The consequences, in terms of damage to equipment and physical injuries, due to burst hose lines for example, were presented powerfully with many photographs and accounts of real-life incidents. A number of participants were made aware for the first time of the dangers even small test hoses harbour if they are disconnected from the wrong side.
The fact that oils are a crucial component of hydraulic systems was discussed in detail in a session entitled "Hydraulic oil as cause of failure – A risk for hydraulic systems and machines". A wide range of possible causes of failure due to air, water and dirt in the oil was discussed in detail and illustrated with laboratory analyses and anecdotes from practical experience. The speaker also discussed the reasons for degraded oil quality, overheating for example. The enormous damage to machinery that can be caused by contaminated oil was illustrated graphically with examples from real life.
In his session entitled "Laboratory analyses for hydraulic oils", the "Oil Doc" Dipl. Ing. Krethe explained the importance of oils and how to determine current oil quality to a large number of conference participants. Oil can tell a story, because an oil analysis can reveal much about what is going on in the system. Microscopic analysis can reveal abrasion particles, combustion residues, water, additive contents, etc., so that detailed conclusions can be drawn. The presenter also left his audience in no doubt: not all hydraulic oils are created equal, and there is no standard governing their composition. Many of those present had previously been unaware that hydraulic oils with the same specification but from different manufacturers can be mutually incompatible.
In his lecture on "Options for noise reduction when constructing hydraulic units", Dipl. Ing. Scholze from KTR demonstrated how noise emissions from hydraulic units can be reduced simply by selecting the correct mechanical components. For example, a pump mount made from thin-sheet aluminium can act like an amplifier, while a cast iron mount can actually suppress noise.
The amount of energy that is lost in incorrectly designed hydraulic systems was explained clearly and concisely in the lecture entitled "Searching for losses". The presenter also listed possible ways to make a system more energy-efficient. He also provided an advance view of current development trends, such as variable speed drive units.
In the evening of the first day, a sumptuous repast was laid on at the Sophienkeller Restaurant in the historic Dresden Old Town, in the company of "Augustus the Strong" (Elector of Saxony and King of Poland). At the conclusion of the evening, "His Royal Highness" invited everyone to the Dresdner Zwinger Palace, where he delivered an account of his times in the idiom of the age.
Besides the theoretical content, a number of sessions also included practical demonstrations for greater effect, also providing a preview of the practical training courses offered by the IHA. Participants were given the opportunity to inspect a fluid service emergency response vehicle and another for rapid hose production at close quarters, and to see for themselves the operational capabilities of today's mobile units.
In the wrap-up discussion, the participants agreed that the event lived up to their expectations in every detail, and in some respects even exceeded them. On the basis of this entirely positive feedback, the IHA will organise a second Maintenance and Service Conference, to be held on 24 and 25 November 2011.