Don't Forget the Basics of Troubleshooting

Articles - Education

TroubleshootingOver time the equipment we manufacture and maintain has become increasingly complex. The integration of Electronics and Glossary Link Hydraulics is the standard today, and will continue to evolve in the future. Our engineers are developing more speed, higher accuracy, and less down time for our equipment. While our products are known for their exceptional durability, over time something inevitably goes wrong. This advanced level of equipment sophistication leaves the Field Service Engineer (FSE) with a very interesting challenge. In order to assist with our troubleshooting responsibilities, each FSE has an arsenal of test equipment. We use computer aided diagnostics, which will monitor 16 or 32 simultaneous events at a time. We can even use hand held devices that measure temperature and flows inside pipes without ever turning the equipment off. Technology is a wonderful tool,but at the same time it cannot fully replace fundamental troubleshooting skills. 
Experience has taught our FSE’s some techniques that have become our first Glossary Link line of defense in the trenches. Perhaps the most overlooked tool is their own ability to reassure and calm the customer - this allows everyone to address the problem with a level head. Next, we become detectives and ask plenty of questions - who, what, where, when, why and how. 
Most machine operators are familiar with the normal operation of their equipment, and are invaluable resources for determining what went wrong. Next, production managers and supervisors are 
well versed on the down time history of the equipment . Their explanations may not be very technical, but are usually very accurate. The final group of people to quiz is always the Maintenance team - this is where the FSE will get the technical explanation. No matter what,we never overlook any common sense remarks that are made during these discussions, since even the most 
casual observations from a non-technical person can be helpful. 
Once our FSE has gathered all the relevant history and status, we then can determine where to start the troubleshooting effort. This becomes a two step process: first the problem must be located, and only then the cause of the problem must be identified. Both of these tasks can be very difficult and time consuming, but the thorough detective work will assist greatly during this process. Then by fully utilizing the arsenal of test equipment, we can locate the problem and minimize production 
Troubleshooting may not seem to be a very original approach, but it directs you back to basic electronic and hydraulic concepts. By following these fundamental troubleshooting steps, it can provide some insight to basic problem solving. A technical bulletin, 910000A, is available on Oilgear's website,, entitled Service Suggestions — Hydraulic Systems Preventative 
Maintenance Check List & Trouble Shooting Hints for your reference. Oilgear also offers troubleshooting assistance, through our technical support staff by calling 888-OILGEAR.

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