Essential Components of a Hydraulic System

Hydraulic systems are used for a variety of purposes; however their basic components remain the same. This article discusses the essential hydraulic system components in detail.

The function of hydraulic systems is to pump hydraulic fluid from the reservoir into the desired system for generating hydraulic power. The pumped fluid passes through various valves, converting hydraulic power to mechanical energy, after it has flown through the actuator.

Let’s take a look at the components and their functioning, in detail.

1.      Reservoir Oil Tank

The reservoir or oil tank contains the uncompressed fluid, hydraulic oil. For optimal function of hydraulic system, the fluid must be safe from contamination. The oil tank ensures hydraulic fluid remains protected from getting contaminated.

2.      Piping

Piping, sounds simple, but it very important for hydraulic system as the hollow structures transport the hydraulic fluid from one location to another within the system.

3.      Hydraulic Pump

To move or force the hydraulic fluid from the reservoir to the rest of the system, a pump is used. By creating a vacuum at the pump inlet, it pushes the fluid into the pump. From there the fluid is pushed into the pump outlet, and then to the rest of the hydraulic system. Some of the kinds of hydraulic pumps include:

Fixed displacement pumps-

 With an unchangeable flow rate, these pumps ensure that the same amount of fluid is moved with each stroke. E.g gear, gerotor and screw pumps are used for repeated single action jobs.

Variable displacement pumps

Costly and attention-demanding, these pumps are used for complex systems and equipment. They can change the flow rate of the fluid and outlet pressure. Examples include piston pumps and vane pumps.

Manual hydraulic pumps

These pumps are operated manually. They add to human physical effort, and provide more control on fluid flow rate.

4.      Power source

Power source is an essential hydraulic system component because it is required to make the mechanical elements of the pump work.

5.      Hydraulic Actuator

A hydraulic actuator is used to transform the hydraulic power in the fluid into mechanical power for achieving the desired action. An actuator can be a Hydraulic cylinder to create linear movement, or Hydraulic motor to create torque and rotational motion.

6.      Valves

Valves are an essential hydraulic system component used to control the flow rate, pressure, and the direction of fluid moving through the system. Some of the most commonly used valves are:

Pressure control valves

To limit the fluid pressure, within the system, pressure control valves protect all the hydraulic system components from getting damaged. Pressure relief valve is closed by default and opens only when system pressure exceeds a limit. It directs the fluid back to the reservoir to keep the system’s pressure below the maximum level. Likewise, a pressure reducing valve holds the fluid flow to a particular area of the system until the pressure is below specified limit. Whereas, a sequence valve only channels fluid into one section, if the previous section has attained certain level of pressure.

A counterbalance valve is used to create a backpressure in the return line.

Flow control valves

Flow control valves control the rate at which the fluid flows throughout the system, by decreasing or increasing the hydraulic fluid diameter. They are used to monitor the  how speed of actuator.

Direction control valves

With the help of these valves, you can change the direction of the flow of hydraulic fluid. A check valve allows the hydraulic fluid to flow in one direction, while preventing it to flow in the other direction.

Direction control valves can have different number of ports, and flow paths they allow. A spool type valves, controls the direction of flow, but is not limited to one direction.

7.      Filters

For efficient performance, filters prevent the hydraulic system from getting contaminated. Without filters, hydraulic system components are more prone to wearing, and pipes can get blocked easily.

A suction line filter, on the input side, prevents contaminants to enter the reservoir fluid and to the rest of the hydraulic system. On the output side, a return line filter cleans out any contamination in the hydraulic fluid.

About SW Seal

Whether you are planning to buy high-quality hydraulic system components, or the whole system; whether you need hydraulic maintenance or repair services, SW Seal is here to help. We have an extensive experience in providing hydraulic systems and components. Our knowledgeable and dedicated team is well equipped to install and repair all types of hydraulic systems.