=Hydraulic pressure testing, or simply hydraulic testing, is needed for hydraulic systems to check their leak risk and integrity. This testing is used on piping systems, boilers, and pressure vessels to validate a safe and efficient operation.
Hydraulic testing is performed once the equipment is shut down for maintenance, to make sure it is ready for use again. It often has two stages; an integrity test and a tightness test:
- Integrity Test
This is where a technician will fill the system with a fluid, and up the pressure to around 1.5x higher than the operating pressure. This is kept for a period of time, with checks being made for pressure loss and damage.
- Tightness Test
This is where the temperature is measured within a system – and if it is affected by thermal expansion.
Whilst hydraulic testing is common, it has certain risks you will need to consider:
A Vessel/System Rupture
If the equipment you are testing is damaged or overworn, hydraulic testing will pick this up. However, if the damage is significant enough, it could cause the system to rupture during the test. This can potentially cause injury and further damage from debris.
Check the piping integrity visually before going ahead with the test. Any obvious cracks and damage which looks considerable should be noted, and the test should not be carried out until this is fixed.
Tests should also be carried out when the least number of employees is around to lower risk. Protective gear is always essential.
Hydraulic testing can make a potential leak apparent. If the system is holding harmful substances and the leak is substantial, this can be very serious. To reduce this risk, take note of these guidelines:
- Do not carry out the test whilst operation is ongoing
- The equipment being tested should be in good condition
- Testing equipment needs to be checked too
- Islote the test area
- Non-essential employees should leave the area
- Clear testing procedures need to be followed throughout
- Fittings should not be adjusted during the test
Further Equipment Damage
If the test fails, and a system is ruptured, the damage is not only to that system but extends to nearby units. It’s crucial you clear the surrounding area in case of an accident and a shock wave.
Without the correct equipment to carry out hydraulic testing, it can be dangerous. Make sure you are using certified testing gear, with designated and qualified personnel.