In this day and age the word ‘Energy Saving’ seems to be the number one buzzword with manufacturers working to maximise their productivity whilst saving as much energy as they can. Fortunately, in the hydraulics industry which has seen huge leaps in technology over the years, it is possible to design a power unit to maximise its running efficiency whilst still maintaining reliability.
There are a number of key areas of a hydraulic power pack that can be developed to make them more efficient and these are explained below:
Correct hydraulic pump specification – It is essential when the end user specifies which hydraulic pump they need for their application they should aim lower rather than higher, as lower pressures going through the system will aid efficiency and avoid working the system too hard.
Variable Displacement Pump – This is a device designed to convert mechanical energy into fluid energy This is carried out by varying the displacement of the pump while it is running, which basically means the amount of fluid pumped per input shaft revolution.
Various pump compensator circuits are available that ensure pump flows closely match those required by the hydraulic system, thus reducing energy lost through heat etc.
System piping – In the design stage of a power unit and its installation, it is always best to try to minimise and bends in the system as this will allow the hydraulic fluid to flow more freely and efficiently. Pipe sizing is crucial to minimise pressure losses that add to the power requirements.
Component specifications and positioning – When creating a bespoke power unit it is crucial to successfully plan where componentry is to be situated including pumps, motors, tubing, valves etc. and components such as accumulators and should be designed correctly to ensure they are suitable for the type of unit that is being built and the load that will be added to it whilst in operation.
Lightweight materials – As in many things, using lightweight yet strong materials can help a system lower its footprint and improve system reliability by not putting as much stress on internal system components. Aluminium is an industry favourite for hydraulic power units, as it has all of the above qualities and is a cost effective and long lasting solution.
Inverter Drives – A good device to consider if you want to make your power unit more efficient, as it allows you to adjust the output speed of the unit’s motor; some modern drives can make units 50% more energy efficient while also reducing noise levels and environmental impact.
Recent surveys conducted among hydraulic engineers show that the majority of them believe that inverter drive usage will increase considerably over the next 3 years.
Unit location – One major factor, which, if carefully managed can save energy as well as prolong the life of a system is its positioning. If for example if the unit was placed in a dusty environment where particulate matter could cause a problem with filters etc. it could severely restrict the running of the system and thus reduce its energy efficiency, whereas if the unit was placed in a well-ventilated area it would drastically improve its running, making it more energy efficient and preserving the life of system components
So we can see from the above energy saving measures that if a build project is managed correctly, taking the above points into account, it is likely to be a reliable, efficient and energy saving system that will save you on costs long into the future.