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How to check hydraulic bladder accumulators safely while equipment is running

August 12, 2011
(Infrared Thermal Imaging)

Everyone seems to have access to a non-contact thermometer, put it to good use.  I check my Hydraulic accumulators between PMs by checking the temperature of the shell at the top and at the bottom. If an accumulator is properly charged I typically see a temperature difference of at least 10°F on a warmed-up hydraulic system. If there several accumulators in a bank you may see one that stands out because of these readings. I generally use our infrared camera to scan the accumulators while I am making my rounds however I have used a common handheld temperature gun to get the same results. The first image shows an accumulator bank that has two ruptured bladders. The second image is the same accumulator bank after repairs were made and all accumulators were charged to the proper operating pressure.

Image 1

Image 2

User Submitted Tip provided by John Morris, Maintenance Planner, Duferco Farrell Corporation

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Comments (1)

  • John Morris. This is a great maintenance tip and I am surprised that every person on the shop floor or maintenance engineer has not seen it or been trained to look for it. It is something that I taught my oilers and engineers on ships for many years. It is so simple yet works great. It even works with small units, but is harder to do. The infrared camera works the best and to use this method, as well as watch the pressure fluctuations from a normal new system, to a problem system, is all part of the training needed for the crews. Good article and great information. Clark Dodge, Call the Chief.

    1) Posted 3:11 pm, 24 August 2011 by Clark Dodge

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