15 Dec 2023

Maintaining optimal hydraulic system performance – the key role of the breather filter

the key role of the breather filter

In hydraulic systems, the breather filter is a critical component for maintaining optimal performance.

These filters are an essential part of open-circuit hydraulic systems as they play a crucial role in ensuring that only clean, filtered air is allowed to enter and exit the reservoir.

As the fluid level within the system fluctuates, breather filters are indispensable for maintaining the integrity of the hydraulic system.

Keeping the harmful substances out

Without a proper breather filter, the reservoir is vulnerable to contamination.
Foreign particles, such as dirt or other contaminants, can easily enter the system and compromise the quality of the hydraulic fluid.
Moreover, air entering into the tank can also introduce humidity, which may condense into liquid water, posing an additional threat to the purity of the hydraulic fluid.

The main types of breather filters installed in a hydraulic circuit are

  • Basic air breathers, which prevent only solid contaminants from entering the reservoir, without a replaceable filter element.
  • Advanced air breathers, which are equipped with a filter element that traps airborne particles such as dust and dirt. They provide a fundamental level of protection to hydraulic systems; however, they do not address moisture-related issues.
  • Air breather fillers, which are designed to be used as filler ports for hydraulic reservoirs. These vents allow the tank to breathe while also protecting it from the ingress of contaminants during oil refilling.
  • Spin-on breathers, designed for the removal of airborne contamination in hydraulic systems, particularly in high-flow systems and heavily contaminated environments.

Additional reservoir protection with desiccant breathers

To enhance the air filtration process and prevent moisture from compromising the hydraulic system, the next level of defence is the desiccant breather filter.
These advanced breather filters are equipped with both particle-filtering components and desiccant material to absorb moisture from the incoming air.
However, it is essential to note that even desiccant filters are not immune to wear and tear.
Over time, their moisture absorption capacity may be reduced.
Therefore, regular monitoring and periodic replacement of desiccant breather filters are essential to ensure that moisture doesn’t find its way into the hydraulic reservoir, safeguarding the longevity and performance of the hydraulic system.

The crucial role of proper air breather maintenance

Air breathers, like any other component of the hydraulic circuit, require appropriate regular maintenance.
The filter element will eventually become clogged if it is not changed periodically.
If clogged, air will not be able to pass through the breather filter, and this could create a partial vacuum in the reservoir, causing cavitation of the pump and premature pump failure.
For this reason, regular maintenance should be scheduled to verify the air breather status and, if necessary, to substitute the clogged element.

If you have any questions regarding the proper maintenance of air breathers or if you need assistance in selecting the most appropriate air filter for your needs, please contact our Sales team.