7 Important Components of a Hydraulic System

Schematic showing the main components of a hydraulic system 5
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Hydraulic systems harness pressurized liquid to transmit energy. This energy moves from a generating source to a user performing work. The heart of these systems consists of hydraulic pumps that generate flow. Conversely, valves regulate the direction, pressure, and flow rate of the hydraulic fluid. Hydraulic hoses connect these components, which is vital for an efficient and leak-free fluid transfer. While every part of the system has its function, some features are particularly pivotal. Let’s dive deeper into these essential hydraulic components.

  1. Hydraulic Actuator

Hydraulic actuators transform fluid power into mechanical power. Actuators can be of the linear type like a hydraulic cylinder or rotary type like a hydraulic motor. The pressurised hydraulic fluid carried by the pump is supplied to actuators, which convert the energy of the fluid into mechanical energy.

There are different types of actuators:

  1. Linear actuators (Hydraulic cylinders)
  2. Rotary actuators (Hydraulic motors)
  3. Continuous rotary actuators
  4. Semi-rotary actuators

Some common functions of actuators are:

  1. Produce motion in one line
  2. Produce continuous rotary motion
  3. Produce rotary or oscillatory motion less than 3600
  4. Apply a force and clamp the job
  5. Hydraulic Pumps

The hydraulic pump is considered the heart of a hydraulic circuit. It forces the fluid from the reservoir to the rest of the hydraulic system by changing mechanical energy into hydraulic energy. The mechanical energy is delivered to the pump through a prime mover like the electric motor. Because of the mechanical action, the pump develops a fractional vacuum at its inlet. This allows atmospheric pressure to force the fluid via the inlet line and into the pump. The pump in return then pushes the fluid into the hydraulic circuit. Some functions of hydraulic pumps include:

  1. Changing mechanical energy into hydraulic energy
  2. Producing high pressure in the hydraulic circuit
  3. Valves
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Hydraulic control valves are used to control the direction, pressure, and flow rate of the hydraulic fluid in the system. A hydraulic system can be broken down into three parts – The power input (prime mover and pump), the control valves (to direct direction, pressure, and flow rate), and the power output (actuators and load).

Different types of valves and their functions are:

  1. Hydraulic pressure relief valves – These are used in almost every system to helpbypass fluid when the pressure surpasses its setting.
  2. Pressure-reducing valve – This type of valve (which is usually open) is used to maintain reduced pressure in certain parts of hydraulic systems.
  3. Unloading Valves –These are high-low pump circuits where two pumps move an actuator at a high speed and low pressure.
  4. Counterbalance valves – They are used to avoid a load from accelerating uncontrollably. This situation can happen in vertical cylinders where the load can hamper the cylinder or itself when stopped quickly at the end of the travel.
  5. Hydraulic Power Packs

The hydraulic power unit gives the energy that is needed for hydraulic installation. The main mechanisms of hydraulic power packs are the reservoir (tank), drive (electric motor), hydraulic pump, pressure relief valve, hydraulic filter, and cooler. The pump or the motor unit may be mounted on the tank or separately, as packs are generally available in both horizontal and vertical configurations.The basic unit is then piped to the cylinders or actuators via an appropriate control valve. Hydraulic power packs generally have a reservoir/tank that houses the hydraulic fluid, which is the working medium.

  1. Accumulators
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Accumulators are devices that store hydraulic fluid under pressure.  Therefore, the most common application for an accumulator is supplementing the pump flow in a hydraulic circuit in which a high flow rate is needed for a specific period. Some common types of accumulators are

  1. Weight-loaded accumulator
  2. Spring-loaded accumulator
  3. Gas-charged accumulator
  4. Piston type accumulator
  5. Bladder type accumulator
  6. Diaphragm type accumulator
  7. Hydraulic Rams

A hydraulic ram, usually known as a Hydram, is a cyclic water pump powered by hydropower. It takes in water at one hydraulic head and flow rate, and releases it at a higher hydraulic head and lower flow rate. The device uses the water hammer effect to create pressure that allows a portion of the input water that powers the pump to be lifted to a point higher. The hydraulic ram is also used in remote areas, where we have a source of low-head hydropower and a need for pumping water to a destination higher in elevation than the source.

  1. Hydraulic Coupler

The hydraulic coupler is a hydrodynamic device used to transfer rotational power from one shaft to another. This transmission is done by the use of transmission fluid. It is used in the automotive transmission circuit, marine propulsion systems, and industries for power transmission. It is also used as a replacement for the mechanical clutch. One major application of hydraulic couplers is in automotive industries for the transmission of power from the engine to the wheel as a clutch replacement.

Buy High-Quality Hydraulic Products and Parts in Australia

The applications for hydraulic systems are numerous and they are virtually used in almost every industry and machine parts from the automotive industry to construction equipment to manufacturing machinery. Car owners are common users of such systems in the form of hydraulic jacks, hydraulic pistons, and pumps. Regardless of the application, good-quality hydraulic systems are an asset.

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If you are looking for great hydraulic systems for purchase, Flowline is one of the best in the business. They work with expert manufacturers and are considered to be one of the leading suppliers of hydraulic parts and systems in Australia, including multi-stage cylinders and power packs for the trailer industry. You can be assured of top-notch services and excellent products when it comes to hydraulic systems. To know more about their products and services, you can call them on 1800 239 399 or email them at info@flowline.com.au.

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