Hydraulic equipment is some of the most durable, heavy-duty equipment in the world. From log splitters to bulldozers, backhoes, shovels, loaders, forklifts, and cranes, hydraulics are huge components of the machinery that makes our lives so much simpler. Here, we’ll take a look at the basic principles of hydraulic systems.
Basically, all hydraulic systems operate based on the same idea. Force applied at one point is transmitted to another point via an incompressible fluid. That fluid is almost always some type of oil, and the force is almost always multiplied in the transmission process. Imagine two cylinders filled with oil and connected by another oil-filled pipe. Both cylinders have pistons. When you apply a downward force to one piston, the force is transmitted to the second piston, causing it to rise. This is the basic concept behind hydraulic systems which act as motors for many machines.
Hydraulic cylinders, each consisting of a barrel, piston, and piston rod, get their pressure from pressurized hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic hose is simply the pipe connecting the two cylinders. Hydraulic pumps factor in by providing a consistent flow of oil to a hydraulic cylinder. Companies like Destaco make hydraulic pumps available online and through the Destaco catalog.
There are a number of different types of hydraulic pumps including air-powered, electric-powered, and manual pumps, each of which are appropriate for use in different scenarios.
Air-powered hydraulic pumps are recommended for use where electricity is either unavailable or impractical. Generally, they consist of hand- or foot-operated pedals that can raise, hold, and release cylinder rams.
Electric-powered hydraulic pumps can be operated from a distance with wired remotes. Working only in the vertical position, they allow the operator to raise, hold, and release manual-return and spring-return cylinder rams.
Manual hydraulic pumps are equipped with handles and can be operated either vertically or horizontally. They generally have lower maximum pressures than air- and electric-powered pumps.
Hydraulic pumps are at the center of our industrial world in many ways. Their simple mechanics have formed the basis of some of the world’s most advanced machinery. How many hydraulic systems do you think you’ve seen today?