Hydraulic oil coolers are a vital component of any hydraulic system, helping to prevent the hot oil within the system from overheating. This heat is generated through friction between system components as they operate and it can quickly cause problems such as cavitation, internal leakages and reduce the lifespan of the equipment.
The cooling process allows the hot oil to shed its accumulated thermal energy into a secondary medium which is typically either water or air. By passing the hot oil through a series of thin tubes exposed to a constant flow of low temperature cooling medium, the heat is transferred to the cooling medium and is shed into the atmosphere. This is a continual process which ensures that the hydraulic oil is never allowed to reach a point of thermal saturation or equilibrium.
Most common oil cooler types work on a conductive transfer principle, where the hot oil is passed through a finned tube stack exposed to a constant flow of ambient air or water which cools the oil by convection. Air cooled oil coolers, which often look like car radiators and are also referred to as air to oil or oil to air coolers, use air circulation (often from the engine driven fan) to cool the fluid and require access to a power source. Water cooled oil coolers, which are more compact than their air counterparts, are suitable for high pressure applications such as found on industrial machinery and plant equipment.
Bowman manufacture a comprehensive range of both air to oil and water cooled hydraulic oil coolers which are available in many different variants to suit all types of application. We offer both cast and extruded shell versions with a choice of SAE or hose tail connections, making it easier than ever to fit your new Bowman unit into your existing installation. Our standard units are fitted with cupro-nickel tube stacks but titanium stacks are available as options for high temperature applications. For marine based applications, our standard units are supplied with marine specification end covers for added protection against the elements.
When properly specified, installed, commissioned and maintained, a good quality marine oil cooler from a reputable manufacturer such as Bowman should last for decades. It’s important however, to remember that even the best products can only perform reliably for as long as they are correctly conditioned, regularly inspected and cleaned of salt, dirt and grit. If these basic principles are not followed, marine oil coolers can suffer from accelerated wear due to corrosion which may lead to failure. For this reason it’s important to follow manufacturers guidelines for incoming seawater flow rates and to ensure that the seawater entering the oil cooler is of adequate quality to avoid premature failure of the product. For this reason it’s a good idea to always use filtered seawater as opposed to raw untreated water.