As the hydraulic systems in vehicles, machinery and mechanical equipment work to operate they generate heat through the friction of moving parts. This is an unavoidable part of the operation and it is this excess heat which can cause deterioration of the hydraulic oil, reducing its effectiveness, efficiency and life. The addition of an oil cooler is designed to remove the excessive heat from the lubricant, cooling it and thus prolonging its life.
In general, an oil cooler works by transferring heat from the hot oil to a cooling medium that is either air or water. This happens through a conductive transfer process where the cooling medium is exposed to the hot oil and carries away its thermal energy without the oil or the cooling medium ever making direct contact with each other.
The cooled oil is then dispersed through the system and the hydraulic fluid temperature is returned to within the safe operating limits of the hydraulic machinery. This is the primary function of a hydraulic oil cooler but it also prevents the formation of harmful deposits in the hydraulic system and the degradation of the hydraulic seals, hoses and pumps.
All hydraulic machines produce some heat due to internal motor and pump leaks, and the operation of their components. All these factors add up and can exceed the lubricating oil’s viscosity limits which can lead to system failure. Hydraulic oil coolers are a vital piece of equipment to reduce this risk by preventing the hydraulic system from overheating.
An oil cooler looks like a car radiator and achieves its purpose by running the hydraulic oil through a series of finned tubes which are covered by a constant flow of incoming air, which removes heat from the oil and transfers it to the air. For situations where air cooling is not appropriate, such as marine applications, Bowman offer a range of water cooled shell and tube oil coolers which use seawater as the cooling medium.
These units are fitted with a fan which is powered by the vehicle or equipment movement or can be supplied as a standalone fan for stationary or slow moving mobile applications. An electric or hydraulic motor driven fan is available for a wide variety of models.
A high-quality, correctly sized hydraulic oil cooler should allow the system to run within the manufacturer’s recommended operating conditions without overheating. An incorrectly sized unit allows the hydraulic oil to become too hot and reduces its efficiency.
Bowman’s standard units are suitable for hydraulic, lubricating and quenching oils and are available with a choice of flange connections. For marine applications, the units are fitted with a stainless steel 316L header and tubes to withstand contaminated seawater. For all models, an anti-fouling baffle is fitted to the head to minimise the amount of debris entering the cooling system. Our computer aided selection programme can help identify the correct hydraulic oil cooler for your application. Contact our team for more information.