Desiccant breathers provide a wide range of benefits across many applications and their use is becoming more and more popular. But you may be wondering how, what looks like a cup full of beads, can expand the lifespan of your machinery and reduce costs in the process! Hawke International’s Breather Specialist, Chris Booth, tells us more.

What is a Breather?                                           

The biggest cause of machine break down is from machines breathing in dirty, wet air. Over time, the intake of this air leads to the abrasion, erosion, adhesion and fatigue of your machinery, causing it to break down much more frequently than it should do.

Breathers prevent machines from taking in this air, expanding their lifespan and improving their reliability. A small investment in a breather at the start of a machines life will save you a great deal of costly downtime later.

How does a Breather work?

Oil lubricated and hydraulic machinery breathes in air from the surrounding environment during operation. Breathers replace the dust or OEM cap on your equipment to stop equipment from breathing in that air. They combine carbon, silica and filtration elements to control moisture and dirt ingression.

While shut down or active, silica beads in a Breather attract moisture and dirt from inside the machine reservoir. As the breather takes in the air, its layered filtration element removes dirt while the silica beads absorb up to 40 percent of their own weight in water. Any water that isn’t trapped by the silica goes through a layer of carbon which binds it, preventing your machine from breathing it in.

All Hawke Breathers have a colour-change indicator which shows when their useful life is up. As the water is absorbed by the silica its colour changes from orange to white. When the silica has absorbed all the water it can, the gel will turn completely white. The gel can then be dried using a Hawke Desiccant Dryer Unit, and re-used, up to eight times.

Where are Breathers used?

Breathers are traditionally used to control moisture and dirt levels in Transformers but they may also be used with a range of other equipment. They’re essential for any machinery that operates in harsh environments where oil might become contaminated, causing the equipment to break down quickly.

What are the benefits of Hawke Breathers?

Alongside all of the quality you’d expect with Hawke’s 60 year pedigree in engineering solutions for harsh and hazardous environments, Hawke Breathers also have a range of benefits.

Market Leading Design

Extensive independent testing of our oil seal technology has proved that it is far more effective than mechanical seals, making Hawke Breather the market-leading design.

Easy Assembly

Our Breathers are made up of 4 simple parts, making assembly as easy as possible and keeping servicing time to a minimum.  

Simple Inspection

The transparent polycarbonate we use for our Breathers allows for complete visibility, so you can easily tell when the Breather has reached the end of its useful life or requires recharging.

Maximum Protection

The HB range of Desiccant Breathers has a strong metal shield giving maximum protection to the polycarbonate charge.

Long Lifespan

All Hawke Breathers can be re-charged up to 8 times to increase their inherent economic value to your operation.

Internationally Approved

All Hawke Breathers comply with the latest in international quality standards (EN ISO 9001) to ensure that you’re getting the best product possible.

Room for Improvement? 

Hawke and Cable Systems are working together to provide you with the best Breather solution possible. We’d love your help to develop them in a way that will exceed the expectations of end users which is why we’ve launched our Breathers survey. To help us simply click here or contact or  for more details.