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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 .
As you are aware we love hydraulic power, we wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t. But, today we wanted to write an article on some of our favourite machines that are powered by hydraulic powerpacks. We have told you before that the world is a better place because of hydraulic powerpacks, and today we are going to prove it.
Firstly we have chosen to look at how hydraulic powerpacks help the everyday mechanic.
In the UK, there are as many as 36 million cars registered on the roads. At many points during a cars life, they will need to visit a garage. Hydraulic lifts are vital for mechanics to see and get under your car and our hydraulic powerpacks can easily connect to your mechanics lift, providing all the power it needs to lift up your car. This in turn not only makes a mechanics job much easier, but it also means your car has been thoroughly checked over. Thanks to hydraulic power your car will spend a minimal amount of time out of action.
In the mobile hydraulic industry there are a wide range of safety and conformity regulations that should be adhered to for both safety and product performance and reliability.
The E Mark is an ECE mark to designate approved vehicles and vehicle components sold in the EU.
The E11 Mark is the British specific Mark that covers equipment/vehicles supplied to the automotive industry. This includes commercial vehicles, construction machinery and general vehicle use and basically means the unit has been approved by ECU compliance and quality control regulations.
The E Mark number differs dependent on which country the product inspection had taken place in. So, Germany for example uses the E1 Mark while Turkey uses the E37 Mark.
When businesses buy new products they expect that product to live up to expectations and do what it is claimed to do. When dealing with DC hydraulic power packs this is crucial as the safety implications of such a unit failing when in use could be catastrophic and cost a business dearly.
To achieve the E11 status in the UK, a DC hydraulic power pack product must meet EMC standards. To certify this is the case an approved test house must be engaged to carry out and verify compliance. As well as this a COP must be in place, this is essentially a quality control plan to ensure all future manufacturing is done to the same standard. This is externally verified periodically.
The E Mark system was implemented in the 2004/104/EC directive for the regulated movement of electronic goods used for motor vehicles around Europe.
Changing the filter element in your hydraulic machinery is a very important part of routine maintenance and for this reason it is often tacked onto a schedule and done at a set time, usually determined by the number of hours it has been in service for. Changing filter elements, wherever they are situated in the hydraulic loop, needs to be done in order to keep the fluid as clean as possible to therefore prolong the life of the components in the system, however, getting the timing right to ensure you are making the most of your expensive filter elements is a more intricate art than simply totting up the service hours and basing a filter change schedule on that data alone.
If a filter element is changed early it will still have plenty of dirt holding capacity left, and to replace one with life left in it is a false economy – yes, you will not run the risk of leaving it too late and potentially allowing contaminants into the oil, but it is also a waste of resources. Leaving an element change too late means that dirt can enter the system and cause damage to the components, leading to machine failure and spiralling associated repair costs. If we cannot use service hours to inform the timing of a filter change, how can we tell when is the right time for a switch?
The location of the filter can make a difference to the regularity of the element changes, as pressure filtration systems work a lot harder than off line or return filter systems. They are often higher in initial cost as well as in ongoing maintenance costs, but offer a fine level of cleansing as they can trap the smallest particles, thanks to the pressure forcing the fluid through the filter. The same pressure can dislodge trapped dirt, sending it back into the machinery and causing damage, so there are also downsides to using this location for hydraulic fluid filtration. Off line filtration systems are also very expensive but are the most effective at filtering, as they run continuously and therefore offer the best extension of machinery life. They also require regular replacement of the filter elements, as they are active for much longer than a filter that is only operational while the machinery is running. Return filtration is the most popular and most economical location for filtering hydraulic fluid within a system and also offers the opportunity to filter new oil in via the same part of the loop.
The best way of knowing when a filter element needs to be changed is to monitor the pressure drop across the filter, with a marked drop in pressure on the downstream side indicating that the dirt holding capacity is almost used up. A clogging indicator is one way of measuring the pressure drop and this can be used when it is suspected that the time may be approaching. Clogging indicators can be visual or electronic and set to go off before the pressure for the filter bypass valve is reached. Not all hydraulic systems have a filter bypass, but those that do can link the associated pressure point to the point at which a clogging indicator is activated.
A more sophisticated system involves continually monitoring the pressure drop across the filter, wherever it is located, and the resulting data can be used to inform a more reasonable and reliable filter element change schedule, as it shows the true lifespan of the filter elements. The data also acts as an early warning system of system or component failure. Although an advance continuous monitoring system costs more, in the long run it will save money on unnecessary filter changes, warn of expensive system failure before it happens and provide valuable information about the operating capacity of your hydraulic equipment that could prove a lot more valuable in the long run, and just think - all these benefits can arise from simply trying to work out a proper filter element replacement schedule!
Injuries are a relatively common occurrence for people working with hydraulics, especially those working in the maintenance and/or repair of hydraulic equipment. The most serious injury is a pressurised fluid injection, but accidents can also happen with moving parts when the stored energy in the system is not released before inspections and repairs are made. Unfortunately, it is not routine for tags and gauges to be used to denote places where energy is stored. The engineer must study the schematic thoroughly before starting any investigative work, in order to be sure that there is no danger of anything moving while they are working on the machinery.
If pressure gauges were used to show the residual pressure left in moving parts the engineer could utilise the pressure relief valve to release the stored energy and make the hydraulic equipment safe to work on. Relieving pressure stops anything moving of its own accord, which could be dangerous, and also reduces the risk of high pressure hydraulic fluid injection injuries, which can be fatal.
When inspecting for leaks in seals and hoses, it is important that pressure is released before checking but even then, it is not advisable to check with your hands. Instead, perform a visual inspection and look for other signs of leaks, such as fluid on the floor or on parts of machinery that sit underneath the suspected location of the leak.
Hydraulic equipment can be just as dangerous as electrical circuits for those investigating and repairing faults; but electrical work is governed by strict regulations which include the use of lockout tags and labels denoting the location of potentially dangerous components. Hydraulic equipment is not covered by such stringent regulations and as such, it is at the discretion of the designer whether pressure gauges and safety accessories are included in the machinery at the time of building. These items can be retrofitted by the owner, but this is not often done and this means hydraulic engineers must spend a lot of time reading manuals and schematics to understand where the dangers lurk, before being able to safely get on with any repair work.
Just because it isn't legally required, there are no good arguments for overlooking these safety precautions, but several reasons why they should be addressed., such as: reduced downtime on repair and maintenance tasks, a reduction in the potential for workplace injuries and a speedier repair. All effected by removing the need to spend time studying diagrams to pinpoint potential dangers. Employee health and safety is of paramount importance to employers, and this could well be the biggest reason why hydraulic equipment should be fitted with pressure gauges, relief valves and lockout tags, to prevent tampering with settings and to alert engineers to the locations to address first.
Welcome back to part 2 … we continue looking at IoT and uses in the home.
The IoT is not confined to commercial and industrial applications, however, and the concept of the smart home is becoming more mainstream as people try out smart home apps such as the ones that control your heating and lights. Although there is no requirement for using hydraulic components in these applications, combining the ability to control temperature and lighting with the ability to pre-emptively open your gate or garage door as you arrive home (perhaps with the use of GPS, so your connected home knows where you are and how long you will be) is something that will involve electrohydraulic components.
Some smart home systems know when a window is open and allow you to close it remotely, which is great if you have gone to bed and realise a door or window is unsecured. Electric actuators may be able to control the motion of most domestic windows and internal doors, but large windows, fire doors and external doors would require more power which can be offered by hydraulic actuators. These systems are also perfectly suited to being used as a security solution in large buildings that are guarded by a skeleton staff. Security cameras can be used to monitor all areas of the building, both inside and out and an intelligent network of hydraulic actuators can be used to close doors that have been left open without the security guards needing to leave their station. In a break in situation doors can be closed and locked remotely, trapping a burglar until the police arrive. Hydraulic components have a clear security advantage here as they cannot be tampered with by messing with electric circuits or by using magnets to interfere with electrical signals, and the hydraulic pressure locking a door shut can only be released by accessing a relief valve or by having access to the main control panel.
Micro and mini packs from Hydraproducts are perfect for automated door and window security applications, as they are small enough to be retrofitted in a building without causing a lot of disruption and offer a surprising amount of force for their size. Multiple units can be wired in to add extra security when needed, or they can be used to affect a further mechanical lock that is not prone to tampering or damage.
Hydraproducts also manufacture and design bespoke systems, so if you have the seeds of an idea regarding how electrohydraulic components can help you automate certain features of your home or business we are the people to call. With experience of working in hazardous industries such as subsea drilling and demanding locations like film sets where performance is key we are well versed in working within parameters set by our clients and always come up with the solution that suits the client and performs well. Give us a call today on 01452 523352 to see how we can help.
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