Choosing the Right Fire Resistant Hydraulic Fluid

February 25, 2022

When choosing proper industrial lubricants, the first thing that comes to mind is how those lubricants address tooling degradation, viscosity, service intervals, precise finishes, increased uptime, low repair costs, heat control, and increased operational reliability. All of these examples address how lubricity affects machining. One very different area but of equal importance is the effectiveness of fire resistant fluids in hydraulic systems.

Damage to hydraulic equipment is usually due to fire, which is often the result of breaks or pinhole leaks in hydraulic hoses. A hydraulic fire can move so quickly and burn so intensely that it may not be possible to control it with a fire extinguisher.

The safety of managing fire hazards can’t be underestimated and the using the most effective fire resistant fluids in hydraulic systems not only prevent injury and even lives, but have other cost effective properties that every manufacturer should be aware of.

When lubricants are pressurized, such as in hydraulic lines, there is a risk of small leaks and a fine spray of lubricant being atomized into the air. These leaks can be the result of component failure at points such as joints, worn hoses and seals. When a leak occurs and fluid sprays, the system becomes more susceptible to fire-related risks.

In these environments, it is desirable to have the proper fire resistant hydraulic fluid that not only maintains lubricity but also is a fire retardant. 

Fire resistant fluids will still ignite and burn given specific conditions. One solution that addresses problems with thermal stability commonly encountered with polyol-ester-based fire resistant fluids ULTRA GUARD fire resistant hydraulic fluid by Benz. It is formulated with engineered natural oils that have been designed for superior thermal stability and it is FM approved, providing benefits in reducing insurance costs. 


Top 10 Things to look for in a Fire Resistant Hydraulic Fluid

ULTRA GUARD comes in two viscosities allowing for product consolidation across multiple needs. Here are their advantages:

1.  Biodegradable & environmentally friendliness

2. Thermal/hydraulic Stability – resists breakdown under heat stress

3.  No Vapor Pressure Concerns

4.  High Energy Efficiency 

5.  Less Impact To Seals

6.  Renewable

7.  High Pump Life

8.  Oxidation Stability

9.  Maintain Clean Running Systems

10. FM Approval 

Ester-based lubricants are known for their excellent natural lubricity and, as expected, ULTRA GUARD provides outstanding wear protection in service as well as in standard hydraulic pump tests. In addition, ULTRA GUARD is formulated with non-toxic base ingredients and is classified as a non-hazardous fluid under EPA/SARA III reporting guidelines. It is also biodegradable and better suited for use in environmentally sensitive applications than a traditional mineral oil based hydraulic fluid. Furthermore, ULTRA GUARD is compatible with most mineral and other HFDU type fire resistant hydraulic fluids.

Don’t underestimate hydraulic energy in your safety program. It is small but mighty in force. And like any force, it can do great good or great harm.

Why Is FM Approval Important?

FM Approvals is a third-party global testing laboratory and certification agency. FM Global is a property insurance company operating from the philosophy that most losses can be prevented. They provide insurance products and property loss prevention engineering services to protect their clients’ worldwide operations.

Examples of Benefits:

1. Low fire hazard and do not require additional automatic sprinkler protection.

2. Certification program is an investment that demonstrated a manufacture confidence in their products.

3. Insurance companies generally require Certified products to be utilized in hot zones.

4. Capital and Production losses – reduces the spreading of fire

5. Health and Safety of Employee

Products that pass the five-step approval process are issued the globally acknowledged FM mark to support property loss prevention and to signify that they will perform as expected.

Benz ULTRA GUARD fire resistant hydraulic fluids meet all FM Approvals so manufacturers that use these fluids will have the added protections needed to have plant peace of mind.