Building Hydraulic Systems
At a glance, hydraulic motion circuits can closely resemble pneumatic versions. Both utilize fluid power sources, actuators, and control valves, but hydraulic systems vary quite a bit from pneumatics, and not just through the fluids they use to generate motion. Like the applications they’re used in, hydraulic systems can vary greatly, but they will almost always include the following components:
- Control valves
- Hydraulic actuators
Reservoirs are one of the simplest, yet most necessary components in a hydraulic system. A reservoir contains the system’s hydraulic fluid when not in use, as well as excess fluid to better avoid systemic problems. Excess fluid in the reservoir helps manage volume changes between extension and retraction, temperature fluctuation, leaks, and much more. Without a reservoir of hydraulic fluid, any of these changes could cause complete application failure and increase downtime.
Secondary functions of a reservoir, particularly larger ones, include increased heat dispersal during periods of heavy use and filtration by allowing dirt and sediment to sink to the bottom of the reservoir tank, where it can more easily be removed.
Hydraulic tubing is frequently seamless steel piping, designed especially for use with hydraulic fluids. For lower pressure applications, threaded or welded piping can be used. Hydraulic hose can be used situationally, when fluid compositions allow it, and flexibility is key. All hydraulic tubing and hose are cleaned prior to installation.
Pumps move hydraulic fluid from the reservoir through the rest of the system, while motors generate the necessary mechanical motion to power the pump. Working in conjunction, pumps and motors create the hydraulic power that gets the entire system moving and maintains flow against the incredibly high PSIs created in hydraulic systems.
Like pneumatics, valves primarily control the fluid media flow to the correct components, usually an actuator. They can also help adjust or relieve pressure, ensuring all downstream components are operating at peak performance. Hydraulic systems frequently employ mechanical, pilot, and solenoid valves to accomplish various application goals.
Hydraulic actuators take the immense hydraulic power generated by the rest of the system to provide mechanical motion on a work object. This mechanical motion can be linear using hydraulic cylinders, rotary using hydraulic motors, or even provide braking.
Want to find out if hydraulic motion is right for your application? Speak to one of our experts today to learn more!