Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hydraulic systems have become an important part of many pieces of industrial equipment. Hydraulic parts allow the multiplication of force by using a liquid that cannot be compressed. A single system can contain dozens of different components that help to move, control and clean the hydraulic fluid. Most systems contain a few basic parts.


Nearly all larger industrial hydraulic systems contain a motor or an engine. The motor is the part of the system that provides power to the pump in order to move the fluid through all surrounding components. Many pieces of equipment use a standard electrical motor in order to drive the pump and other features. Larger industrial machines frequently use an engine powered by gasoline or another type of fuel in order to generate greater levels of pressure. Manually controlled hydraulic items like a jack do not include a motor.


The pump is the part of a hydraulic system that actually moves the hydraulic fluid. The fluid is normally an oil-based liquid that cannot be compressed. The pump can connect to the tank, several valves and sometimes directly to a cylinder. It is powered by the motor or by a manual device operated by hand. Hydraulic pumps come in two main varieties. Fixed displacement pumps move the fluid through the system at one constant rate. A variable displacement pump can be adjusted to vary the flow rate for each cycle.


The tank is the part of a hydraulic system that contains the fluid when it is not in a cylinder. Some pieces of equipment use a separate tank that is connected to the pump through a valve, pipe or other component. Many tanks are integrated with other hydraulic parts. Some common combinations include a motor-pump-tank unit and a pump-tank unit. Many tanks include a filter as well.


A cylinder is an important hydraulic part. Cylinders translate the pressure and movement of fluid into actual motion and force. Piston cylinders have the most basic design. These simply move a shaft forward as fluid pushes on the internal element. A double-acting cylinder uses a slightly different internal component that can be pushed in either direction. Rotary and vane cylinders take the linear motion of the fluid and convert it into rotational force to turn a wheel or other device.


Values are hydraulic parts that control the pressure, movement or flow of the fluid in the system. There are dozens of different valves depending on the configuration of the equipment. Control valves are used to contain the fluid in a system. Opening a control valve will allow the fluid to enter a cylinder and create motion. Closing the valve often allows the fluid to escape back into the tank. There are also valves that will divide the flow of fluid, increase the pressure inside of a component or regulate the flow rate. A collection of different valves that are all in the same area is known as a valve stack.


Filters are hydraulic parts that are often located in a tank. The hydraulic fluid that moves through the different components in a system often starts to pick up solids. These solids can present problems when passing through valves. They can collect and cause a system to stop functioning. The purpose of a filter is to remove these solids so that the fluid will flow freely though the system.

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