April, 2022
Hercules Hydraulics Ltd
“Our new LPA3 has enabled our customers to be sure of the cleanliness of their hydraulic systems. Warranty claims can be resolved easier, customers are confident in our process and we can cut down on oil sampling lead times.”

Customer Profile
Based in Devon, UK, Hercules has established itself as a key solutions provider for the hydraulics systems industry, working in partnership with a worldwide customer base in the wind energy, maritime, ports, agricultural, mobile and industrial sectors.
The company supplies complex integrated hydraulic systems to an international customer base in diverse and demanding work environments and strives to maintain the highest standards of fluid cleanliness through the entire production cycle from conception to commissioning.

The challenge
One of the biggest challenges the company faced was the need for fast, accurate analysis of oil cleanliness – particularly when operating in offshore environments.
Collection and return of the samples for laboratory analysis could be time-consuming and delays could potentially result in clients using the system before cleanliness levels had been firmly established. 
Because of its international reach, the company’s technicians cannot always directly manage the installation of systems and it therefore works with customers and contractors specifying rigorous pelleting and flushing routines to achieve desired cleanliness levels before commissioning.
Without clear proof of the oil cleanliness, it could be difficult to isolate causes of failure, especially if caused by contamination and this could potentially result in unnecessary warranty costs.
In offshore systems, water (particularly seawater) ingress is also common during installation and maintenance. Without in-situ sampling, Hercules technicians could not effectively determine water ingress until the oil had degraded visually past the point of no-return.
So being able to prove the oil’s ISO 4406 code was critical for Hercules because it ensured customer confidence in establishing they had a clean system without the risk of reduced service lifespans.

The Solution
Many of the proportional control valves in Hercules’ system have orifices as small as 5-micron so the company already worked closely with MP Filtri to protect complex components, using both high pressure and return line filters.
It saw the LPA3 as the perfect solution for oil cleanliness testing – particularly in offshore environments where the portable nature of the particle counter, coupled with its proven track record for accuracy and instant results eliminated delays and delivered comprehensive hydraulic health checks to the customer in real time.
Hercules Managing Director Ryan Langley explained: “The LPA3 allows our technicians to be equipped with a portable, durable, and accurate particle counter and ensures near-instant, in-situ oil sampling during the commissioning procedure. 
“This provides proof of oil cleanliness at multiple locations across the hydraulic system at different points during commissioning. 
“The oil sampling is simple and can be conducted by all technicians with minimal training. We can be confident of our results due to the self-contained sampling system using minimess test points helping to reduce external contaminants. 
“Although ISO 4406 is prevalent, some clients prefer other familiar forms of cleanliness. The inclusive LPA3 software allows us to issue reports in a more familiar format. The relative humidity function is also important because it enables our clients to be sure the hydraulic system is protected from water ingress.”
“The LPA3 has reduced the need to transport oil sampling kits around the globe and collect oil samples which can be compromised.”
Ryan said the LPA3 plays an important role in giving customers confidence that their systems are clean and that any potential problems can be flagged up quickly and dealt with before they damage the system – significantly reducing both maintenance costs and unplanned downtime.
He said: “Customers can actively see us sampling the hydraulic oil and providing proof of results which further reassures them. We can be confident of our warranty and our claim procedure if the oil cleanliness is firmly established prior to long-term running of the system.”
“The thermal printer also allows for the client/crew to keep proof of cleanliness at the point of commissioning, which provides valuable assurance for our customers. We can then maintain all reports using the USB storage device. “

Customer verdict
Ryan believes the LPA3 is a key weapon in the battle against particle contamination and in safeguarding complex hydraulic systems from damage. 
He said: “We are really pleased with the LPA3. It has enabled our technicians and clients to be sure the cleanliness of their system. Warranty claims can be resolved easier, customers are confident in our process and we can cut down on oil sampling lead times – all major enhancements to our business.”