10 Ways to Ensure Effective Oil Analysis

Unplanned downtime disrupts business operations; effective oil analysis plays a vital role in looking after your machinery…

With 70 to 80 percent of all hydraulic failures being down to fluid contamination, it’s not exactly rocket science to say that ensuring regular, effective oil analysis should always be high on the agenda.

System DesignHydraulic component contamination is categorised in three ways: gaseous, liquid or solid. Gaseous contamination can damage a hydraulic system’s lubricating properties, creating wear and increasing the chances of other types of contamination. Liquid contamination not only alters the capabilities of the lubricating properties, but also causes rust. Solid contamination can cause valve blockages, substantial pump damage and blown seals and gaskets. All of these causes are completely avoidable.

Effective oil analysis – ten ways to keep your oil clean:

1. Monitor – Hydraulic fluid should be monitored routinely and sampled on a quarterly basis.

2. Identify – Identify what sort of contaminant may be present (solid, liquid or gas) to ensure that the right kind of analysis in undertaken.

3. Find the source – By identifying the source of the contamination, preventative action can be taken. This may include contamination as a consequence of the equipment manufacturing process, air borne contamination or contamination produced as a result of the equipment in operation.

4. Neutralise – Offset the causes, and minimise the consequences of contamination either through: oil transfusion, installing extra air filters and replacing worn or damaged components.

5. Benchmark – All oil analysis codes are based off a code: ISO 4406. The relevant benchmark depends on the application in question.

6. Filter – Using hydraulic filters and filtration equipment can, in many cases, stop oil contamination. Determining flow rates, viscosity and pressure are necessary to finding the right filtering system. As a leading hydraulic filter supplier we have widespread, competitive access to both leading and niche hydraulic filter manufacturers from around the world. Some of the hydraulic filter manufacturers and brands that we can supply include: Argo HytosDonaldsonEaton Vickers, Hydac, Ikron, MP Filtri and Parker hydraulic filters. Our technical team will be able to determine which filtration equipment is most suitable for your application.


Hydraulic Filters - Effective Oil Analysis


7. Analyse – In order for oil analysis to be reliable, an in-depth inspection will need to be carried out. This may be in a laboratory environment through microscopic particle count and gravimetric testing, or through a mobile particle counter installed on the machine.

8. Predict – Recording results will allow you to spot trends and identify possible future risks. This is hugely important to lessen unexpected machinery downtime and schedule future inspections in good time.

9. Prevent – To help prevent contamination:

  • Always make sure oil is filtered;
  • Change oil filters every 12 weeks;
  • Take oil samples every 12 weeks to check cleanliness level;
  • Install air breathers to reduce contamination.

10. Invest – There is, of course a cost involved in ensuring effective oil analysis, but it is  nothing compared to the cost of a replacement pump or even a complete system, lost production and goodwill.

And don’t forget…

Hydraulics Online have a wealth of experience in hydraulic system design and components. If you’d like to make an enquiry or you’d just like more information, you can call or send and email to one of our friendly technical team. If you’d like to see another blog on hydraulic systems design, click here.

Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems can be found everywhere, from: food production lines and material handling to credit card manufacturing, waste management and recycling, transport and logistics, and those fairground rides that you love – or hate – the list goes on and on…

Add to that the fact that our customers come from all four corners of the world, all walks of life and industry, and with ideas and requirements great and small, there’s just never a dull moment here – that’s why we love what we do and as an ISO 9001 accredited company are passionate about doing it well. Every time.

We don’t simply “sell” hydraulic systems – we can’t, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead we make it our business to understand your business… your needs, your priorities and constraints, and then work with you to develop the hydraulic systems solution that’s right for you. And with the  technical team’s 60 years combined experience in hydraulic systems design, we can assure you that no idea is too big or too small – or too crazy! We’ve dealt with some of the toughest hydraulic systems design challenges, but we’re yet to be outdone!

Mark has been a star getting the kit together for a relatively crazy idea I have for an accessory which could have commercial applications beyond us… I’m a relative hydraulic ignoramus and he explained the options brilliantly to me.

It doesn’t matter if your idea isn’t nailed down yet; all we really need is for you to be able to define your end goal. What is it that you want to move, raise, lower, shift, compress, turn, (you get the idea)… how quickly and how often? The team can then show you the best way to get there and we’ll support you all the way through to final production and beyond.

Here are some hydraulic systems we “prepared earlier”…

A UK steel works contacted Hydraulics Online asking us to provide a complete, new hydraulic system capable of moving a 7000kg tool slide in a controlled and timed “stop-start” movement, and also to lift and lock the associated mandrils as required in a continuous cycle.

Hydraulics Online designed a complete bespoke hydraulic system proposing improvements to the customer’s original design and incorporating proportional valve control of the 100 litre/minute and 80 litre / minute pumps that were fitted to the power pack. The complete system was manufactured, installed and commissioned without a hitch!

Moving on from steel to plastic… our engineers were called to the site of a high quality credit, debit and store card manufacturer to fault-find a critical piece of hydraulic equipment and provide a timely solution to production problems. An off-line compatible high pressure (700 bar) hydraulic system was sourced and installed enabling the customer to meet production targets within agreed deadlines and service levels… thus avoiding severe third-party penalties!

There’s more! Our technical team were tasked by a power transmission equipment manufacturer and wholesaler to provide a complete hydraulic system and hydraulic cylinder for a tipping hopper application.

Hydraulics Online specified, designed and supplied a complete hydraulic system including hydraulic power pack and hydraulic actuator. Hydraulic cylinders and mounts were made according to the customer’s specification and the whole package was delivered within budget and time constraints… because we don’t make promises that we can’t keep.

One of our most famous hydraulic systems customers, that we can tell you about anyway, has to be Concorde…

Concorde hydraulic systemsThe team were asked if we could help with a project involving Concorde G-AXDN, on display at the Imperial War Museum, to make her the first Concorde in the UK to have a fully functioning droop nose and visor. And the rest, as they say, is history. You can read all about this exciting project here.

I am extremely pleased to have met such a good team who have supported Concorde and Heritage Concorde so well… you deserve a medal! I was amazed; you reeled off figures and technical data that were way above my understanding, but explained things very well. You don’t just shift boxes; you know your business inside and out. A very big “thank you” from the whole team –  I hope we can continue the great work.

Hydraulic ManufacturersIf you’re happy that your hydraulic systems design is already sorted, then maybe we can help by supplying the equipment and components that are needed to bring it to life. We have access to an extensive range of hydraulic manufacturers from around the world, and can often offer high quality, direct equivalents to big name brands; useful if you need to make your budget stretch that little bit further or have somewhat challenging deadlines to meet!

Our technical team have over 60 years’ experience between them, and are regularly credited with the fact that they “really know their stuff”. They love talking hydraulics too, so whether you would like to talk hydraulic systems or equipment then call us on: +44 (0) 845 644 3640. Our offices are in the UK, so if you’re here outside of our office hours (8:30am to 5:30pm Monday to Thursday and until 4:00pm on Friday) then you can reach us via:sales@hydraulicsonline.com through our online chat (even when we’re offline you can send a message) or by completing our online enquiry form.

Hydraulic Cylinder Design

Looking for a bespoke hydraulic cylinder design service? Look no further…

So you may well have read about the service we provide for hydraulic systems design… but did you know we also offer a hydraulic cylinder design service too?

Hydraulics Online… fast, friendly and competitive but we value them most because they are innovative and can find answers to the really tough hydraulic design problems.

If you’re looking for a bespoke cylinder, our knowledgeable and experienced team can design one tailored specifically to your application, requirements and operating parameters. As long as you know what your end goal is, then we have the hydraulic cylinder design and wider systems expertise to help you achieve it. There’s no minimum order quantity, so if you only need one hydraulic cylinder making that’s fine. Even if your ideas are still on the drawing board our technical team can provide you with an upfront design and outline prices, and then support you through final production and beyond into “business as usual” activities and production.

Not even the toughest of hydraulic cylinder design challenges fazes us, and being able to source all other hydraulic equipment supplies naturally makes us the clear partner for original equipment manufacturers, both large and small alike.


You may be thinking that you need your own hydraulic cylinder design because you haven’t been able to find a standard product that meets your requirements. Maybe we could help? Hydraulics Online has widespread, competitive access to quality, hydraulic cylinder manufacturers worldwide. The key word is quality. Our ISO 9001 accreditation is your guarantee that we will never compromise on quality nor make promises that we can’t keep. Aside from obvious routine servicing and maintenance, we want you to be able to “fit and forget” any equipment we supply.

Our catalogue showcases some of the hydraulic cylinders that we regularly supply including: single and double-acting, welded, tie rod and marine hydraulic cylinders.

But back to hydraulic cylinder design… As an example of some of the projects we’ve undertaken in the past, a procurement services company, to offshore, sub-sea and oil and gas industries, contacted the team for pricing and a detailed specification on a bespoke application needing a through-rod (double-rod) hydraulic cylinder. The design parameters were given for a competitor’s product.

Hydraulics Online quoted for an equivalent custom-made through-rod hydraulic cylinder with exactly the same technical specification, which not only had a much more appealing price tag, but also a swifter lead time for the customer. Needless to say, the customer ordered.

Welded Hydraulic Cylinders

Another customer, a leading product design and manufacturing company within the renewable energy industry overseas, asked our technical engineers for help on a new product development plan. The customer had utilised a tie-rod cylinder within one of their product designs before, but this time they wanted to sample a welded construction hydraulic cylinder design instead. No problem. The cylinders here were custom-made and tailored to the customer’s specification and requirements.

There are plenty more case studies and testimonials to be found throughout our website, spanning all manner of applications… in fact it’s hard to think of an industry, market or corner of the world where we haven’t been involved to date. You name it, we’ve probably done it!

So, if you’ve read this far then hopefully you’re tempted to give Hydraulics Online the chance to quote for your hydraulic cylinder design? You can use our Bespoke Hydraulic Cylinder design form to submit your enquiry details to us … or call us talk things through. We’re always happy to talk.  

System Hydraulics

Whether you’re starting with a blank sheet of paper or you are trying to improve an existing hydraulic system design, we understand that you’ll need performance efficiency and availability of components to make it work. Our team here at Hydraulics Online have over 60 years combined experience in hydraulic system design and supplying components, so there’s no need to worry. Your brand is in safe hands.

“Hydraulics Online… fast, friendly and competitive but we value them most because they are innovative and can find answers to the really tough hydraulic design problems.”

Our hydraulic engineers will help you through the entire process of your hydraulic system design, from outlining costing through to the final production of your hydraulic system. As an ISO 9001 accredited company, we believe that you should only get the best service and hydraulic equipment for your hydraulic system – and it could save you money in the process. As most of our popular hydraulic components are directly interchangeable with other lesser-known manufacturers, the possibilities are endless.

To bring this to life a little bit, following a search on the internet, a shredding and data disposal company contacted Hydraulics Online asking us to design and supply an efficient hydraulic system to run a mobile compactor and crusher.

Hydraulics Online proposed a hydraulic system using Italgroup radial piston motors. The vehicle was delivered to Hydraulics Online’s premises and our hydraulic engineer installed the PTO driven power source and hydraulic control valves. A second vehicle has since been fitted out to the same specification.

Another example of our work, after being approached by a leading producer of concrete products to civil engineering, construction and agricultural sectors, Hydraulics Online were tasked with replicating an existing, ageing hydraulic system that was no longer available.

The Hydraulics Online design team worked with absolutely minimal information and proposed a much more modern and efficient hydraulic system. This enabled the customer to order and install multiple sets of hydraulic equipment with major cost savings being realised in the process.

Finally, a leading manufacturer of concrete products requested Hydraulics Online to design a complete hydraulic system that would meet the customer’s exact requirements.

A full hydraulic system was designed and supplied comprising single-acting, telescopic lift cylinders and complete power pack. It was successfully installed and commissioned and is now in use in daily production.

As a trusted supplier, we have extensive competitive access to many popular and niche hydraulic manufacturers… you can find out more about them by clicking here.

Don’t just take our word for it… visit our testimonials page here. To find out more about the kinds of products we provide, visit our website. And don’t worry if you’re not sure on what sort of hydraulic component you need; our experienced team can help determine the one that will be best suited to your application. You can email sales@hydraulicsonline.com or you can speak to one of our friendly team members: +44 (0)845 644 3640.


Your one-stop hydraulic resource…

Thanks to our seemingly unrivalled access to a vast range of hydraulic manufacturers from around the world, and our innovative approach to hydraulic problem solving, Hydraulics Online are THE hydraulic supplier that a rapidly increasing number of customers turn to for all their hydraulic equipment and systems design needs.

Large and small alike, our customers frequently rationalise their existing hydraulic supplier base, knowing that the team here can be relied upon to deliver trusted advice and solutions… backed up by reliable deliveries of hydraulic equipment from both well-known and niche hydraulic manufacturers. Hydraulic equipment that, in the nicest possible sense, they can then just “fit and forget”.

Not only that, but our team are fast gaining a reputation for loving a challenge. Straight forward and easy can be boring, right? We like to be kept on our toes. We are regularly tasked with sourcing seemingly obsolete or discontinued hydraulic components and haven’t been beaten yet. Often working to the tightest of budgets and delivering “yesterday”, if an original product isn’t available, or lead times are unworkable, we can offer a direct equivalent or re-manufactured unit.

We like to say that…

If it’s hydraulic we can design it, supply it, solve it or repair it!

That includes: hydraulic pumps, hydraulic motors, hydraulic power packs and units, hydraulic cylinders and rams, hydraulic valves, hydraulic filters and filtration systems, hydraulic accumulators, and hydraulic coolers and accessories for any kind of application in any kind of market – even ATEX rated hydraulic equipment .

As an ISO 9001 accredited business, we don’t just “sell” hydraulics however… unless that’s all you want us to do. We aim to make it our business to understand your business, so that we can be certain we can give you the best hydraulic advice possible and recommend products that really are “fit for purpose”.

Technical advice and assistance was first class and we would not hesitate in contacting you in the future to satisfy our requirements.

So even if you’re not sure what hydraulic product you’re looking for… Let us take the pressure!

It goes without saying that we love all things hydraulic. And, keen as we are to spread the joy and understanding of hydraulic engineering, and believing that prevention is always better than cure we have produced what we hope you will agree is a useful hydraulic reference section.

We add to this on a regular basis but, if you click on the links here you can find:

And finally, based firmly on the belief that prevention is better than cure we have some hints, tips and trouble-shooting guidance for you.

Hydraulics CatalogueWe have never tried, or even thought about trying, to measure the scale of our hydraulic product offering – the number is, however, unquestionably huge! Our online catalogue showcases a very small selection of the products that we supply – we couldn’t possibly squeeze everything that we do in here!

If you’ve read this far and haven’t found or seen mention of the information that you’re looking for then there’s plenty more to see by clicking around on the menu above. But as you’ve no doubt gathered, there’s a lot that can be written about hydraulics – so if you’d rather just talk to one of the team instead, we’d love to hear from you.

Testimonial: New Hydraulic System Design

Mark has been a star getting the kit together for a relatively crazy idea I have for an accessory which could have commercial applications beyond us… I’m a relative hydraulic ignoramus and he explained the options brilliantly to me.

Now matter how “crazy” your idea is, whether you run your own small business or work within a major PLC, our technical team can provide expertise to aid you in mobile or industrial hydraulic system design and the prototyping of new business concepts. We can advise you on your options and costings beyond the new hydraulic system design itself and support you through into “business as usual” production.

In fact, our ability to solve the toughest (and craziest) of hydraulic system design challenges and source all hydraulic equipment supplies makes us an obvious partner for original equipment manufacturers, large and small… find out more here.

Click through on the following links if you’d like to find out more about us and our customers, the markets and hydraulic manufacturers that we deal with and the hydraulic products and services that we can provide.

Case Study: Hydraulic Power Packs for Specialist Vehicles

Supporting customers’ new product development activities and delivering tender-winning solutions is all in a day’s work for the technical team here at Hydraulics Online. Our philosophy is one of not just “taking orders”, unless that’s all that our customers want and need us to do. Instead, we make it our business to understand your business… only then can we be sure that we are supplying you with hydraulic equipment that really is “fit for purpose”. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this way of thinking.

A global specialist vehicle converter, contacted the technical team recently looking for support having been let down by their existing supplier. They had previously taken delivery of a hydraulic power pack that had been incorrectly specified and was simply not suitable for their application; their successful tender for a major new contract was at stake.

Having asked the “right” questions and gathered as much information as they could about the application and its operating parameters, the technical team proposed an alternative system and suggested some additional improvements and safety features that could be made to the design.

Within the week the customer received their hydraulic power pack and additional equipment, and shortly afterwards began to put it through its paces as the prototype platform lift of a commercial vehicle. It worked a treat. The customer then placed an additional order to to enable them to implement our earlier recommendations for additional systems improvements… and we are delighted to say that they won the tender!

So whether you are looking for a relatively standard hydraulic power pack, or a bespoke unit as part of a larger hydraulic systems design project then you’ve come to the right place. You can find out more about the different types of hydraulic power unit here or…

Catalogue LogoClick here to hop over to our catalogue and view our range of standard, mini and micro hydraulic power packs. If you can’t find the hydraulic power pack that you’re looking for then complete our stock enquiry form, or for more technical advice and hydraulic power pack quotations then please contact one of our team

Testimonial: Concorde

I have just been reminded that we have been working with Hydraulics Online for two years now – since we approached asking if you could help with the nose project on Concorde G-AXDN at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford.

I am extremely pleased to have met such a good team who have supported Concorde and Heritage Concorde so well… you deserve a medal! I was amazed; Mark reeled off figures and technical data that were way above my understanding, but he explained things very well. You don’t just shift boxes; you know your business inside and out. A very big “thank you” from the whole team –  I hope we can continue the great work.

Graham Cahill, Head of Heritage Concorde.

You can read more about the project here, and how Hydraulics Online and Heritage Concorde worked together to bring life back to Concorde G-AXDN; she is now the only Concorde in the UK with an operational nose and visor. But for now, here she is with her red nose all set for Comic Relief Day 2015!

Case Study: Hydraulic Power Packs for OEMs

It’s a small world at Hydraulics Online – whether delivering our products to customers locally or to customers abroad, we can take the pressure!

We recently had an enquiry from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in New Zealand; the company were looking for a hydraulic power pack manufacturer in the UK… to provide a quality, British product. The team at Hydraulics Online have a wealth of experience in building and supplying hydraulic power packs, so we knew exactly what design and specification would work best in the customer’s application (a single-acting, 12v DC hydraulic power pack with flow control) and were able to quote instantly. The customer requested a trial power pack, which we proceeded to build and ship the same day.

After being put through a period of very rigorous testing over a number of weeks, the power pack had more than proved itself… delivering the performance that our OEM was looking for as a key component within his product. As far as an OEM is concerned, having peace of mind and being able to “fit and forget” hydraulic components is clearly vital.

Single-acting 12v DC hydraulic power packWe’re delighted to say that a further ten hydraulic power packs were shipped to New Zealand last week, the first of many given that our hydraulic equipment is now an integral part of this OEM’s core product design…  Proof that here at Hydraulics Online, we really do understand the importance of increasing the value of an OEM’s brand and product range. Every project we work on is scrutinized to ensure a successful design and ongoing cost-effective manufacturing, using components that truly are “fit for purpose”.

“We approached Hydraulics Online 18 months ago for assistance in the design and supply of bespoke hydraulic control systems. As a result of their vast technical knowledge and wide product range available, we were able to develop a system which was both competitively priced and completely tailored to suit our application.

Since our initial projects with Hydraulics Online, we have worked together to develop further systems to complement our product range, further heightening our position in the market place. They have also been a valuable technical partner assisting our engineering personnel on site with issues faced in the field. Overall, a valuable tool for any business.” – An appraisal from another satisfied OEM customer.

Case Study: First UK Concorde Droop Nose

The hydraulic systems on Concorde 101 G-AXDN had not been used since she was retired in 1977, but with the technical support of Hydraulics Online a plan was created to bring them back to life…

Duxford Aviation Society, owners of the British Airliner Collection, were keen to improve their display of Concorde 101 G-AXDN at the Imperial War Museum. In response, Heritage Concorde proposed making her the first UK Concorde since 2003 to be able to “droop” her nose… and then approached Hydraulics Online asking if we could help on “Project Salute” – we certainly could!

The nose was last lowered in the 1980’s using the emergency free fall system after an attempt to use the aircraft’s hydraulic system had failed. Whilst there was clear support for the latest project there was also, therefore, a great deal of concern and considerable work involved in ensuring that there would be no damage to G-AXDN and that all Health & Safety requirements would be met.

Heritage Concorde provided our team with the technical specification for the Concorde nose systems and then undertook the preparatory work needed to inspect the associated aircraft wiring and nose/visor control systems. The nose is operated by two hydraulic systems – green being the normal and yellow the standby; only the normal system was to be used, in isolation from all of the other hydraulic systems on the aircraft.

Concorde Power PackHydraulics Online designed and built a bespoke hydraulic power pack that could be connected to the existing nose hydraulic systems and allow the visor and nose to be lowered and raised at any time; safety features included a pressure gauge and a hydraulic pressure valve. Meanwhile the Heritage Concorde team began the painstaking task of cleaning and preparing the existing nose systems and mechanism and examining the electrical controls for the nose within the cockpit.

The hydraulic power pack was put through a number of rigorous tests before it was connected to the nose system; once installed, the specialist hydraulic mineral oil was added, before bleeding and flushing the system through to remove any remaining debris.

Heritage Concorde TeamHaving been idle for so long, the aircraft hydraulic systems needed to be fully cleaned. After 18 months the project was successfully completed; G-AXDN is now the only Concorde in the UK with an operational nose and visor. Graham Cahill, Director of Projects at Heritage Concorde (pictured centre) commented: “It has been a real pleasure dealing with the team at Hydraulics Online; they have been very accommodating throughout the project, giving expert advice and technical support… We really couldn’t have asked for more.”

David Garside, Chairman of Duxford Aviation Society, unveiled G-AXDN’s droop nose at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on 24th October, 2014 – timed to coincide with, and “Salute”, the 11th anniversary of the last commercial flight by Concorde. He added: “It is 37 years since Concorde G-AXDN was flown to Duxford and since the hydraulic and electrical systems were last in operation. The restoration projects have required the servicing and overhaul of many intricate components and considerable patience and determination has been required over a two year period to ensure their successful completion… We gratefully acknowledge the generous sponsorship and support from Hydraulics Online Ltd and for designing and supplying the hydraulic power pack.”

Mark Tonks and David Garside

Mark Tonks, Managing Director of Hydraulics Online Ltd said: “We were absolutely thrilled when Heritage Concorde asked if we could help on “Project Salute”. Our customer base is global, we’re always involved with a vast range of projects and systems design work and we deal with some big household names… but Concorde is in a different league. Seeing G-AXDN’s nose and visor moving again, knowing that we were part of the team that made it happen, is very special indeed.”

The unveiling of Concorde G-AXDN and her droop nose made the headlines and was featured on the BBC News and ITV News as well as being reported on by local and regional press.

Why not go and visit Concorde 101 G-AXDN and see her amazing droop nose and visor for yourself? Click here for opening times and directions to the Imperial War Museum, DuxfordIn the meantime, you can see footage of the nose and visor moving here: Video clip one and video clip two

If you haven’t seen it already you can read our Introduction to Concorde, but if you would like more technical information then the following links provide further details on the:

Blog & Case Studies

Testimonial: Procurement Management

Praise from a customer in West Africa, who offers 

March 9, 2017 read more

Bonfiglioli Hydraulics – Press Release

Bonfiglioli wheel-traction drives improve precisio

March 2, 2017 read more

News Archive

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