Oil leaks are common in paper mills. After all, there are so many hydraulic applications down the paper machine that the opportunities for oil leaks are many.
Some leaks are small, measured in drops/minute. These are normally considered by mill personnel as acceptable.
Some leaks are large, continuous oil streams. These leaks get the attention and are acted upon - either shutting down the equipment to repair the leak or setting up an oil collection system that can capture the oil until a future outage.
Either big or small, oil leaks carry a significant cost to the mill. The cost of big oil leaks are obvious - unnecessary machine downtime, cost of replacement oil, cost of used oil disposal, cost of cleanup materials, cost of cleanup time, safety hazards, and sheet quality issues. Plus, if oil can get out of the system, contamination can get in, creating the opportunity to damage critical hydraulic components.
The cost of the small oil leaks, which are accepted, can add up over time as well. A small drip of only 5-6 drops/minute can add up to $1000/year. Multiply that cost over all of these small leaks and you have a sizable cost to the mill.
If a system experiences many leaks, there may have been a time when the oil temperature spiked. At temperatures greater than 180 °F, seals start to break down and crack, creating an oil leak.
Remember, keeping your oil clean, cool, and dry is the best way to avoid these pesky oil leaks and ensure long life from your hydraulic components.
For assistance with hydraulic problems at your mill, contact your Valmet representative.