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Hydraulic motors and pumps, like all hydraulic equipment, need adequate lubrication to function properly. A lack of lubrication causes moving parts to grind against each other, causing wear and tear and also generating heat – both things which cause severe yet preventable damage to the equipment. Unfortunately, many people operating hydraulic machinery are unaware of the science behind it, and do not understand why dry starting a motor or pump is a bad idea, especially if they have been told that a motor or pump housing will fill with hydraulic oil during operation. Of course, this will happen, but not immediately on starting – it can take several hours for a decent level of fluid to build up in the housing to protect and lubricate the machine, and in that time irreparable damage is occurring. As Alexander Pope's famous misquote states, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (the original quote was “a little learning is a dangerous thing” - for those who are interested).
This is one example of preventable damage that can be addressed through basic training. By instructing pump operators to check the fluid levels prior to starting and explaining the dangers of not doing so it is possible to improve and build upon the knowledge the operators already have, which helps empower staff to learn more. The simplest way to check is to remove the top-most connection on the pump or motor housing. If oil comes out of the seal, then there is enough hydraulic fluid in there for the equipment to be started. If no oil comes out, then the housing should be filled with the same hydraulic fluid that it uses to ensure proper lubrication before starting.
It should go without saying that when a pump is changed or drained for repair that clean hydraulic oil should then be flooded into the housing before the motor is started up again. Unfortunately, the misunderstood concept of a hydraulic pump filling its own housing is all too common and sometimes this misinformation prevails, leading to much shorter component life than expected, higher repair and replacement costs and unexpected downtime, all of which are undesirable consequences of taking shortcuts or making assumptions about the speed at which a hydraulic pump will fill its own housing.
Hydraulic pumps, one of the more common mechanical applications of hydraulic technology, use fluid to push an arm a set distance forwards and backwards (or up and down). One example is the mechanical arms of a digger or other ground-working machinery. A hydraulic pump is perfect for this use, as the machinery works using the set distances between the components of the arms.
A hydraulic gear motor uses fluid to power movement for a much longer distance (or to put it another way, for an unspecified length of time). The motor works by running fluid through a chamber containing two cogs. One is linked to the drive shaft and transfers the power to the component that needs to move, and the other is idle, existing only to complete the mechanism. The same fluid is pumped through the motor chamber for as long as the power is needed, and it works in a similar fashion to an electric motor, but is much smaller and can be used in places where electricity is not safe or viable to use. It is a natural development of the waterwheel that was commonplace in the UK during the Industrial Revolution, powering cotton mills, woodworking and even bellows for blacksmiths forges.
A hydraulic gear motor is more appropriate than a pump for any piece of machinery that needs continuous power in a simple mechanism; a series of hydraulic pumps, arms and cogs can be used to create continuous power, but the resulting apparatus is bulky and made up of several components, which increases the likelihood of mechanical failure. A hydraulic motor, by comparison, can be very small and portable, meaning it is ideal for any application that is a long distance from traditional power sources and remote areas of the planet where other forms of energy are not viable. They are also reasonably simple in construction, so parts and maintenance are not an issue.
Hydraulic motors are ideal for use underwater and in dangerous places like mines and gas works, where the spark from an electric or petrol motor poses a serious fire risk. They are also good for any task where the motor is operated remotely, as the fluid can be pumped a long distance to the motor using comparatively little power and the only connection needed is piping, compared to more expensive electrical cable for running a remote electric motor. What is the most ingenious application of a hydraulic motor you have ever seen? Let us know in the comments below.
If you're reading this then the operation of hydraulic motors is probably no secret to you, but perhaps the people you work with or machine operators struggle to grasp exactly what is happening inside the equipment, and more importantly, why? We have put together a short, user-friendly guide to hydraulic motors that can serve as an educational tool, for those not in the know and will hopefully reduce the number of repeat questions you have to answer.
In a nutshell, all hydraulic power systems comprise the same four basic elements. They are:
The size of these components can affect the speed, pressure, flow, strength and efficiency of the hydraulic motor but the basic concept is the same across the board. Essentially a hydraulic motor uses varying pressures conducted via hydraulic fluid to increase and magnify force in an energy-efficient and reliable manner.
The jargon terms used to describe hydraulic motor operation can seem confusing and complex to the lay person, but learning what these words mean and how they relate to the hydraulic equipment is important to fully understand what is happening during normal running, and also what is happening where there is a system failure.
Torque is probably the most important term which refers to hydraulic motors. It is used to describe the ability of the engine to translate pressure into motion and is measured in Newton Metres (Nm) or inch pounds (lbf). A hydraulic motor will have a starting torque and a running torque. The starting torque is the force required to start the motor turning and the running torque refers to the pressure generated to maintain operation, at a certain pace. Torque ripple refers to the difference between the minimum and maximum torque delivered during a single rotation of the motor.
Motor displacement is an important term to know. It refers to how much hydraulic fluid is needed to turn the motor through one revolution and is measured in centimetres or inches cubed per revolution. A motor may be a fixed or variable displacement type, meaning that either torque or speed is the priority. A fixed displacement motor has torque as the priority, running at a constant pressure. Speed can be controlled by varying the amount of fluid going into the motor. In a variable displacement motor both torque and speed can be controlled.
Hydraulic fluid replacement is also something that machine operators should be trained in, if they are expected to top up the reservoir or replace the fluid. Hydraulic oil comes in a variety of weights, which refers to the viscosity of the fluid. Different types of hydraulic fluid can withstand different temperature ranges and different chemical make-ups of hydraulic fluid are recommended for different applications. It is vital that the correct fluid is used, as any mistakes can cause costly damage to the equipment. When replacing or topping up hydraulic fluid, it is important that it is filtered before entering the system, (we have written more about this topic previously on this blog). Contaminated hydraulic fluid causes the same problems as using the incorrect product and it is crucial for operators to know how their actions can affect the operation of the machinery and cause problems.
Of course, there is a lot more to hydraulics than we have covered here, but the very basics that we have covered, should help hydraulic machinery operators understand a little more about their equipment, how it works, and most importantly, what can cause it not to work.
We recently had a motor brought to our attention that had failed after only 600 hours of service. Having been expected to have a service life of over 7,000 hours, this seemed particularly strange. What could cause such a negative result? Upon inspection, it became evident that there was not enough lubrication of the bearings in the motor. In fact, there was hardly any oil in there.
Unfortunately it’s a mistaken belief that the oil that is circulating through hydraulic components is enough to maintain all parts of a hydraulic system. This simply isn’t true and each component should be taken care of and given attention in its own right to prevent this type of mishap from occurring.
In this situation, the case of the hydraulic motor should have been filled with hydraulic oil when it was installed, before the case drain line was connected. Without any oil in a piston-type motor, it’s almost guaranteed that it will fail prematurely upon starting.
Although it could be possible that the motor may have some hydraulic oil in it caused by internal leaking that is unlikely to be the case without the motor or the pump having been damaged. Until the component fails, that damage will not be known about – and this could take anywhere between 100s and 1000s of service hours to be discovered.
Our customer got back to us and told us that the warranty claim was rejected for this component. It was not installed properly, so the customer had to handle the expense of getting it repaired himself. It can be very costly to fail to install or commission components properly.
Although we aren’t a manufacturer of standard hydraulic systems, we do have some experience in how to maintain and take care of them. However, our speciality is mobile hydraulic systems. If you need to find out more, contact us today.
There have been many comparisons between hydraulics and pneumatics in the past with each having their own benefits.
For most hydraulic applications, induction type variants are commonly used comprising of single phase to 3 phase motors.
To answer this question, we need to look at the type of application you are using and its function. So, for example, if you need a motor for a commercial vehicle application such as a tipper, tailift or trailer the DC motor will suit your needs, whereas AC motors are more commonly found in car lifts, security barriers and dock levellers.
It is therefore always necessary to specify your end use application first when enquiring about which motor you require.
One important fact to remember when positioning your electric motor on a power unit is its location away from other components. It is always recommended to leave sufficient space to allow the motor to breathe effectively especially if your system will be running high temperatures.
As well as the motor mountings, the general level of the ground the power unit stands on should be even as any kind of tilt could affect the motor should it suffer any short circuit forces while operational.
Electric motors are typically configured to run to temperatures from -20C up to +40C and the information on the motors running plate should be strictly adhered to.
• Take care to avoid rotating parts on the motor whilst it is in operation
• While the unit is energised it is imperative that the terminal boxes are not touched or opened as this could lead to a safety hazard
In order to maintain the reliability of the motor, manufacturer service schedules should be strictly adhered to and individual motor components such as seals and bearings should be regularly inspected for any wear or damage and replaced as necessary.
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 .
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