Original Post April 21, 2011
Most of the internal components of these clutches are above my head.
I know how to push the button to start it, push the button to stop it, and that’s about it.
But I did a little homework.
Most of the new hydraulic clutches over the past several years for the grinder industry have been” Wet Clutches.”
These clutches are engaged totally by hydraulic oil, not just a hydraulic cylinder.
Engaged means they couple the engine and hammermill or rotor as one.
Most of these hydraulic wet clutch systems are “closed loop” systems, meaning the hydraulic system is of unto itself only. The oil, reservoir, cooler and filter are for the clutch and the clutch only.
This maintains the integrity of the clutch system and doesn’t expose the system to contamination from other parts of the equipment.
What do we maintain daily?
Most of these new clutches have no grease fittings or maybe have 1 or 2. Grease as required.
Check the breather and make sure it is free of debris and maintain proper oil level.
While the breather seems to be a minor maintenance issue, if air flow is blocked, internal pressure increases which may cause seal failure and ultimately failure of the clutch. Keep it free of debris and clean area with compressed air if necessary.
Oil level should be checked while cool and engine off.
Aside from that, changing the oil filter, breather and hydraulic oil every 500 hrs keeps the clutch maintained.
Be sure to drain fluid from oil cooler during these changes to ensure complete removal of old fluids.
Oil Sampling is a great way to track internal wear of the clutch. Take a sample of the used oil and contact your clutch manufacturer to discuss testing methods or requirements.
Use only approved replacement fluids. Your warranty requires this.
After 5000 hrs, a factory overhaul may be needed. Clutch Torque will begin to drop prior to most failures, so have operators be aware for changes in grinder performance.
Check with your clutch manufacturer to ensure these are the proper guidelines for your hydraulic clutch.
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