More about Hydraulic Equipment
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Hydraulic equipment uses pressurized fluid to perform a multitude of machining operations. In hydraulic machinery, an engine or motor drives a pump that pressurizes the hydraulic fluid. This fluid is then sent through hydraulic tubes to the machineís actuators, which use the fluidís pressure to complete their assigned task. The fluid then moves through a filter, back to the pump, where it is again pressurized. Typically, hydraulic fluid consists of mineral oil polyalphaolefin or organophosphate ester, although other compounds are also used.
Hydraulic power drives a variety of devices in a multitude of industries. Its use is so widespread due to its versatility, and to the high levels of power that can be achieved through relatively simple means. Most heavy construction machinery utilizes hydraulic power. Cranes, lifts, bulldozers and diggers all use gas engines to power hydraulic pumps, which pressurize hydraulic fluid. This stored power is then used to move the lifting mechanisms, arms and machine blades. Hydraulic power is also a mainstay in most industrial facilities, and is often directly or indirectly responsible for the movement of most automated components. Robotic arms, presses and lathes all incorporate hydraulics into their design, and industrial hammers, pullers, punches, clutches and brakes generally function using hydraulics.
Hydraulic equipment operates with the help of a vast range of valves, pumps, filters and actuators. These include check valves, which prevent the backflow of liquid; counterbalance valves, which provide flow resistance in specific situations; hydraulic cylinders, which convert the fluid pressure into mechanical force, often by driving a piston; and pump filters, which remove damaging chips and particles from the fluid. The tubes and seals in a hydraulic system are also of great importance. They must be able to withstand high pressures, often while still providing some flexibility. Many specialized fluid circulation systems and seals are designed for hydraulic use.
Materials used in hydraulic equipment include a wide assortment of metals and synthetics. Titanium is used in the extremely high-pressure systems, some of which perform at more than 50,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Other materials include numerous steel and stainless steel alloys, brass, woven wire and rubber. Various plastics are also used in certain valve fittings and tubing applications.