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When designing hydraulic mobile equipment, it’s a necessity to position the reservoir in a suitable location. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that happens with every designer. They can be difficult to position in a compact area and can often be irregular in shape and then be situated in awkward and hard to reach locations.
Keep in mind that the mobile hydraulic equipment is usually operating under more extreme conditions than the static hydraulic machine. In addition to the limitations of needing to be smaller to retain the mobility, the limitations means that they are usually custom designed so that they can fit the exact space and requirements for optimal performance. It is possible to minimize size, cost and weight of the reservoir whilst ensuring that performance and efficiency do not suffer by taking time to consider what’s possible.
Quite often designers will use 3D modelling to produce the best designs for use and from a manufacturing point of view, designs that are complicated can be difficult and expensive to make. Here’s what is taken into consideration:
Balancing drawdown: the reservoir must provide enough fluid for the cylinder rods to operate effectively. There also needs to be enough time for the fluid to rest in the tank for contaminants to settle out and for air bubbles to coalesce. Here at HydraProducts we often use the rule of thumb to provide 1/3 of maximum pump output.
Thermal expansion: the reservoir needs to be large enough to be able to house fluid that has expanded from heat. This is why it’s important to not overfill the reservoir with cold fluid without considering what happens when that same fluid reaches maximum operating temperature.
Vented or pressurized: whether a reservoir is vented or pressurised depends on its location and what the inlet requirements of the pumps are. We usually recommend pressurisation otherwise there can be issues with cavitation which results in surface fatigue of metal.
Even humid air can get into the system if the oil level drops. Water can also get in by condensing on the interior walls when the ambient temperature drops. This condensate can lead to rust deposits and all manner of issues. Mobile reservoirs will usually be made of aluminium or stainless steel or steel to cut down on such issues.
Our mobile hydraulic solutions are designed carefully and to make the best of the limitations of size and weight. Call us today if you would like to discuss your requirements and we’ll see what we can do to help.
Firefighters use hydraulic equipment on a daily basis when they put out blazes and rescue people from burning buildings or crashed vehicles. The ladder on top of a fire engine is raised and lowered by a hydraulic piston, that is controlled by the ground crew, with another set of hydraulic hoses controlling the extension of each section of the ladder independently, allowing the correct length of ladder to be deployed for each situation. The ladder position is also controlled by a hydraulic motor, that turns the ladder left and right, making it easy to get the ladder in exactly the right place by using all three hydraulic components.
It is not just the firefighters ladder that uses hydraulic power, but the rescue and cutting tools, as well. Fire crews are often called upon to rescue people from crushed vehicles and getting them free is often a time sensitive operation, so the large forces exerted by hydraulic cutters, rams and spreading equipment are vital in terms of getting people free as quickly as possible. These tools operate at 720 bar, which is a large enough force to cut through steel rods and easily bend the structure of a car or lorry cab. Often referred to as the Jaws of Life, some hydraulic rescue equipment combines cutting and spreading capabilities into one tool, as both these functions are usually needed in rescue situations. Hydraulic jacks are carried on some fire trucks that are called to the scene of a heavy vehicle crash, as lifting a crashed train carriage or petrol tanker requires some serious force to be applied quickly, especially if there are people trapped underneath or inside the vehicle.
The choice of hydraulic fluid is very important in fire engines, as by nature they are used in situations where high temperatures are present. The fluid used in hydraulic rescue equipment is usually a phosphate-ester fluid, that does not conduct electrical charge and is fire resistant. It is vital that the hydraulic fluid used is fire resistant and capable of operating at high temperatures. Hydraulic fluid does heat up under pressure, so adding this factor to the issues of prolonged exposure to high heat at fire scenes means that there are limited choices of hydraulic fluids for fire engines. If oil based hydraulic fluids are used there is a high risk of fire if a line breaks or there is a leak, so for safety reasons any fluids used on a fire truck must be non-flammable.
Regular checks and maintenance of hydraulic fluid levels should be performed with any equipment that uses hydraulic fluids, but in the case of fire trucks it can make the difference between life and death. Fluid reservoir levels should be checked under the same conditions each time, which is best done when the fluid is cold and the fire engine has not been recently used. Keeping the reservoir topped up reduces the risk of air entering the system through the pump, which can lead to faulty operation and lasting damage to the components. This is a job that firefighters can carry out at their station, but for testing the hydraulic fluid a professional service should be used. The hydraulic fluid should be replaced regularly to keep the equipment in good working order.
Each type of hydraulic equipment may use a different type of fluid, and it is important that these are not mixed up during routine maintenance. Most fire departments display the information clearly at the point of topping up on the inside of cap covers or nearby. It is also good practice to label the fluid containers so they are not accidentally used on the wrong engine or the wrong piece of equipment, as each fire department may favour a particular type of oil for each application, and when fire trucks are loaned out to other departments there is a serious risk of hydraulic fluid mix up.
Hydraulics and electric power are competitors in today's engineering market, with advantages and disadvantages to both technologies depending on the use and context. Electric actuators have replaced hydraulic technology in a number of applications, the most obvious being in the automotive industry where size and weight constraints make the lighter electric actuators more attractive, not to mention the fact that as automotive electrical systems get more complex it is far easier to program and wire electrical components than hydraulic ones.
There is still a very real place for hydraulic power, however, and today's new generation of designers and engineers need to understand how hydraulic power works, what the benefits are and how it can be incorporated with electrical systems to produce better systems than ever before. Of course, a full understanding of hydraulics, its applications and the benefits it can bring is desirable, but the young engineers of today have a lot more to learn about than their counterparts ten or twenty years ago. The ability to write code, to configure software and to manage electrical circuits is equally important, and the driving factor behind the intelligent design of machinery and equipment, so there is simply not enough time to learn about hydraulics in depth.
The most important thing for young engineers to know is when combining electrical circuits with hydraulic power is appropriate. 3D printing is a new technology that is being widely adapted by industries to automate build processes in everything from plasterwork to meat products and even buildings. If a design engineer is specifying and designing a 3D printer to create small components such as medical implants or home wares then electric actuators will be capable of moving the printer head to the right location as the print medium is lightweight. If they are designing a 3D printer capable of printing in concrete then hydraulically controlled moving parts will be better as they can handle the weight of the print medium in the printer head, and this is where the knowledge of the capabilities of hydraulic power is most important.
In recent years the motion and features of fluid technology in many applications have been modelled digitally, creating a virtual library of data that shows how a hydraulic component moves, what power it needs and how it outputs that power within the machinery. Using these models’ engineers can see how a hydraulic component will perform compared to the electromechanical alternative, allowing them to choose between the two technologies without having to build a prototype or really understand how the hydraulic component works in depth.
Bosch Rexroth are taking this to the next step and have rolled out a program that gives electrohydraulic components the same programming interfaces and software language as their electromechanical ones, thereby making them fully interchangeable without the need for patches, reprogramming or lengthy revisions to code. This also makes hydraulic solutions just as attractive as electric ones for their design team, allowing them to choose hydraulics over electrics and vice versa depending on what is most appropriate, and not what is easiest to build.
Hydraulic power will always have a place in engineering, and with the ability to scale down hydraulic power packs to a small size that can compete with electric alternatives Hydraproducts is offering a realistic alternative to electrical power.
In this article we want to explain the ins and outs of hydraulic powerpacks. A vital piece of equipment that is used with so many machines we see every day.
In a nutshell, hydraulic powerpacks are self contained units that are used instead of a built in power supply for hydraulic machinery. Hydraulic power uses fluid to transmit power from one location to another in order to run a machine. It really is as simple as that.
So what do they look like?
In order to recognise and better understand hydraulic powerpacks, it is a good idea to get to know the key components. Hydraulic powerpacks come in many different shapes and sizes, some are very large and stationary whereas others are much smaller and more compact. In fact, some hydraulic powerpacks are so compact that they can easily be transported in a small van or even an estate car.
The only real way to identify hydraulic powerpacks is through its main components. No matter the size of the unit, all power packs will have the following; a hydraulic reservoir, regulators, a pump, motor, pressure supply lines and relief lines.
What do these components do?
It may be obvious to some but in this post we wanted to explain every hydraulic power pack component as simply as possible. So here goes.
First up is the hydraulic reservoir which quite simply holds the fluid. Reservoirs will come in different sizes.
Then we have the regulators. Regulators are vital as they control and maintain the amount of pressure that the hydraulic powerpack delivers.
Thirdly we have the pressure supply lines and relief lines. The supply line simply supplies fluid under pressure to the pump and the relief lines relieve pressure between the pump and the valves. The relief lines also control the direction of flow through the system.
Finally we have the pump and a motor. We will begin with the simpler component of the two, the motor. The motor is simply there to power the pump. Easy as that. Now the pump generally performs two actions. Firstly, it operates as a vacuum at the pump inlet and through atmospheric pressure forces fluid from the reservoir into the inlet line and then to the pump. It then delivers the fluid to the pump outlet and pumps it into the hydraulic system. We did warn you that the second part would be slightly more confusing.
So what is the function of hydraulic powerpacks?
Hydraulic powerpacks deliver power through a control valve which in turn runs the machine it is connected to. Hydraulic powerpacks come with a variety of valve connections. This means that you can power a variety of machines by using the appropriate valves.
Hydraulic powerpacks are relied upon by a range of different machines that use hydraulic power to do its work. If a machine is required to carry out heavy or systematic lifting then its likely it would need help from a hydraulic powerpack.
To make it easier for you to understand, we have included a list of trades that regularly rely on our powerpacks. On a building site you will see machines like bulldozers and excavators, which both need hydraulic powerpacks. But, it is not just on building sites that you will find these types of machines. Fishermen and mechanics both need hydraulic powerpacks too. If we did not have them then how would fishermen lift their nets or how would mechanics lift our cars?
When picking a hydraulic powerpack there are a variety of pumps and options to pick from and it is important to pick the right pack to meet your machines needs. It is also important to consider a pack that will help maximise productivity and minimise cost.
Many people will overlook the necessity of hydraulic powerpacks, but they really are vital to ensuring our society runs efficiently.
Do you need to maintain hydraulic powerpacks?
Yes you do and this is hugely important! Hydraulic powerpacks require regular maintenance to ensure they are working properly and safely and to help extend their life. Maintaining hydraulic powerpacks is relatively simple and includes checking the tubing, this can be for any noticeable problems such as dents or cracks. It is also vital to regularly change the hydraulic fluid and look at the reservoir to check for any corrosion or rust in hydraulic power packs.
What hydraulic powerpacks do we provide?
Generally we provide four different types of hydraulic powerpacks. You can pick from a standard powerpack, a mini powerpack, a micro powerpack or a bespoke powerpack.
The standard hydraulic powerpack uses a standard range of modular components and is ideal for the most demanding industrial applications. The mini powerpack is ideal for applications requiring up to 5.5kW. The micro hydraulic powerpacks were originally produced for mobility applications, so are great for when space is limited. Finally, if none of these seem to fit your needs then we offer bespoke hydraulic powerpacks ensuring your application gets the hydraulic powerpack it requires.
Finally, who is the genius behind hydraulic powerpacks?
The man behind hydraulics was Laissez Pascal. A French mathematician, physicist and religious philosopher who lived in the mid seventeenth century. Pascal made observations about fluid and pressure which led to Pascal’s law. Pascal's law states that when there is an increase in pressure at any point in a confined fluid, there is an equal increase at every other point in the container. Hydraulic powerpacks have been designed based on Pascal's law of physics, drawing their power from ratios of area and pressure.
So, interested in our Power Packs? Come on over to the main website and see what we can do for your Hydraulic Power Pack Needs .
Our hydraulic power solutions make it possible to deliver hydraulic power at any location. Costly investments can become a thing of the past. By deploying a hydraulic power pack, it is no longer necessary to use machines larger than you need to power a machinery that is relatively small.
Hydraproducts manufacture the hydraulic power pack. Available in 3 different sizes, the hydraulic power pack can be installed and utilised in a broad range of applications.
Being flexible, cost efficient and fast are essential issues for all industrial fields. These issues are also present when it comes to looking for additional hydraulic capacity solutions. Hydraproducts offer tailor-made solutions to cater for these needs.
Each of our solutions are supplied ready to fit and operate, without needing to build or buy new equipment. Maintenance and repair work costs are minimised, whilst you’re in a position to continue to operate and deliver output.
Our Engineers are Passionate about Hydraulic Power
The hydraulic power packs are affordable and powerful. They are built by engineers who are passionate about the hydraulic power field and it’s their expertise and experience that have combined to make it possible for us to offer these reliable and strong solutions.
Hydraulic power packs can be used in the following way to provide:
· Long term installation to replace a previous hydraulic power pack that is not performing well
· A temporary solution for a fixed period of time
· An attractive solution that makes costly investments unnecessary
· Bespoke customised hydraulic power packs
Our power packs are known for delivering reliable hydraulic power transmission solutions. Whether it’s for your transport drive shaft or a winching system, our power packs have been designed to not let down the team.
Call us today for more information on what you can use our hydraulic power packs for.
Investment in business and design software has been a pivotal part of Hydraproducts growth over the last 10 years.
Upgrading our complete design suite to include Visio HyDraw600 has been our latest investment. Hydraulic circuit design forms an important part of communicating with our customers. HyDraw offers far more than that, Hydraulic manifold design and validation features mean our designers can quickly convert Hydraulic circuits into manufacturing instructions for direct application to CNC machining centres.
Accurate Hydraulic circuits using the latest ISO 1291-1 symbols can be selected from a comprehensive library of symbols, valve model data and manufacturers databases.
Simple drag and drop features allow complex hydraulic systems to be quickly displayed. Symbols have intelligent data linking to Hydraproducts valve and component databases, allowing our engineers to auto generate bill of materials. Symbols can be linked together using the “snapping” functions. Smart jumpers, connectors and snap to connection points make this an easy process. Connections are easily maintained when moving symbols around and kinks are removed to straighten connections.
Engineering features such as pressure capacity, maximum flow rate and pressure drops are displayed during the selection process ensuring all of our designs meet our customer needs.
Seamless integration into our SOLIDWORKS software is an exciting feature allows hydraulic manifolds to be converted into CAD files and 3D models.
HydrawV600 has reduced our hydraulic design time to 50% enabling Hydraproducts to firstly communicate and develop hydraulic power unit designs more effectively with our customers but secondly bring these designs to reality to our workshops in less time.
Thanks to VEST HyDraw 600 we are more clearly communicating the technical features of our hydraulic power packs internally and externally, bringing our business some real benefits.
There are many factors involved in how much subsea hydraulic related applications are able to grow and increase in usefulness in the marine related industries. For example, key considerations are how long they can be kept in use without there needing to be maintenance performed or costly repairs and engineering undertaken. How safe are they for both the ocean and for people? How can the harsh environment be overcome for industries to achieve their goals?
Some maintenance for subsea work is of course something that cannot be avoided. For example, the high external water pressure, corrosion, powerful currents and operating machinery by remote control all come at a price. With clever design and careful planning, it’s possible to keep costs to a minimum.
Pressure compensation and seals
Something that can affect performance of any system is external pressure. Pressure compensation can be used to enable better underwater operation. Used as a means to keep pressure constant between the reservoir and the seawater, it helps to ensure that seals can still operate as they are usually designed to operate for flow travelling in just one direction, and to handle pressure drop for just one way.
The majority of components that are designed for hydraulic systems are land or surface based. They will have been built to cater for the environment without any specific issues such as high pressure. These components therefore cannot withstand the pressure found in deep water or even pressure drops that are severe.
One of the solutions to handling and supporting pressure-sensitive components in their operation is to seal them inside a protective chamber. However this can be difficult and costly to implement. The chamber would need to be of rigid construction with heavy-duty rugged seals installed that could handle the high external pressure. Pressure compensation is another method that is often seen as being more effective. It’s used by applying a pressure that is equal and opposite to that of the pressure found outside the component.
Piston rods and reservoirs
Plasma arc welding is used to apply high velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) gun and cobalt-alloy coatings to piston rods that will be used in subsea deep water conditions as part of a hydraulic cylinder.
When it comes to reservoirs, they will often be replaced by sealed reservoirs. They will contain a flexible medium separator to ensure that the pressure of the external environment will also be in the reservoir, just as can be found in normal surface systems. However, the difference being that the oil and the seawater do not mix as they are prevented from doing so.
This ingenious system then makes it possible to use any component that is used on the land, underwater, as long as any areas are filled with fluid as opposed to the air that would normally be in them if they were operating on the surface. They will then need to be connected to the reservoir to maintain the balance of pressure.
Corrosion is a subsea challenge
Another area of challenge is that of corrosion. The study of keeping seals and seawater working together is known as tribology. It’s essential for subsea hydraulic system designers to be familiar with the concepts involved – keeping seawater out and hydraulic fluid inside a system. For large hydraulic cylinders, keeping the integrity of the piston rod in full operation, even after being exposed to extreme environmental conditions is critical for securing a long-term operation of the system.
Another area of concern is ensuring that all subsea application machinery is designed to a level that does not hurt the ocean environment or people.
Overall, the challenges of designing subsea equipment are multiple due to the harsh environment of the ocean, the reliability required for operators in addition to safety. As industries opt to travel deeper into the ocean, we can only see the challenges increasing.
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