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Posted on February 10, 2022

Why Measuring Temperature with RTDs is Important for Hydraulic Systems

John Joyce
Written by

John Joyce

Posted in
Instrumentation

Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) handle a great deal of the temperature monitoring within a facility. They are some of the most accurate devices and are used when equipment accuracy and stability measurements are essential.


RTDs provide stability, precision and repeatability. They work by relying on the change in resistance in the temperature-sensing material. It’s an indicator of the thermal activity. As the temperature of the metal increases, so does the resistance to the flow of electricity.

These sensors are essential to manufacturing facilities due to their resistance to temperatures, vibrations and shock. A limited amount of DC current is used to activate the sensor and avoid overheating from too much current.

Why you must control temperature:

#1 – Low and high temperatures can cause problems

Maintaining the best temperature in your equipment is important to the operation of a hydraulic system. It’s important because several problems can happen when temperature is either too low or too high, which include:

  • Elastomeric (or rubber) materials can become brittle.
  • Hydraulic fluid and oil can get thicker or even thinner.
  • Fluid oxidation and problematic sludge can occur.
  • Accelerated wear and tear on system components.

#2 – Safety issues and operational failures can happen

When equipment temperatures are not monitored appropriately, the following system problems can happen:

  • Seals, fittings, mounts and hoses can be seriously damaged during operation.
  • Hydraulic fluid will not perform as normal by not distributing evenly around critical parts, thus causing damage.
  • High temperatures cause fluid oxidation and problematic sludge, compromising overall performance and permanently damaging system components.

It’s important that you stay on top of any uncontrolled temperature within your equipment to understand the impacts it can have on your hydraulic system overall. To help, the system manufacture should be able to guide you along the way. They can tell you how the components within the system will work with your application.

Preventative maintenance

To avoid serious equipment damage or bodily injury, there should be a series of measures in place when evaluating your equipment. It will help you to extend service life and reduce costs associated with unplanned shutdowns.

So, while temperature gauging is very important, it’s also important to check on working pressure and usage frequency. By having a preventative hydraulic system maintenance plan, you’ll be able to make sure there aren’t any potential issues overall.

For example, pre-installed test points should be placed at regular intervals along the fluid line to monitor system conditions. When conducting preventative checks, these kits will tell you everything required for instant pressure checking.

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