Risk-based thinking has always been implicit in the standards for ISO 9001, but with the release of the 2015 revision, the concept became explicit in the standard. This raises the need for manufacturers to prioritize analyzing points of risk in the business. Each risk found within the business must be addressed with a plan of action.
Risk is a defined broadly as the possibility of events or activities impeding the achievement of an organization’s strategic and operational objectives. While your hydraulic fluids may not be the first point of risk that come to mind, they’re an important consideration in the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Risks with Hydraulic Fluids
Glycol based hydraulic fluids have become commonly found in diecast manufacturing operations due to their low cost and good lubricating properties. But this doesn’t make them free from risk. These hydraulic fluids are hazardous and have a fairly low operating range of -20° to 150°C. Under high heat and pressure, where a failure in a line can produce a spray, a glycol based fluid can present serious hazards.
Even in a low heat environment where the flash point may not come into play, leaks from machines cause a concern. The vast majority of hydraulic fluids are hazardous to the environment and if introduced into the ground water can expose a business to large contamination fines.
If your glycol-based hydraulic fluid is not disposed of properly – accidentally or intentionally – you will be facing large fines from the EPA. Violations to the Clean Water Act can be levied up to $25,000 per day until the spill is cleaned up. In addition, you will be required to pay for clean-up costs and be exposed to an increase in insurance premiums.
Innovation in the Fluid Industry
To mitigate this risk, companies can turn to non-hazardous, water-based hydraulic fluids. Exceptional heat transfer properties allow this fluid to operate under high pressure, high temperature environments without combusting. The non-hazardous nature of these water-based fluids do not require special disposal.
With EPA approval, water-based hydraulic fluids can replace hazardous fluids to meet risk-based thinking criteria in the ISO 9001:2015 spec. These fluids have no flash point or fire point for fire risk >350°C. Water based fluids also present a biodegradable product that isn’t just less hazardous, it’s completely non-hazardous.
Meeting Risk-Based Thinking
With consideration of fire and water contamination, risk-based thinking would require an analyzation of the risks due to glycol-based hydraulic fluids with a full plan to addresses these issues. Removing these risks with a non-hazardous, fire resistant water-based hydraulic fluid allows you bypass the need for this plan altogether, saving time and worry while maintaining all of the positive properties for the machine.