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Hydraproducts provides bespoke hydraulic manifold design and manufacture, from concept circuit design, through to manifold assembly and test. Our design process helps customers through the hydraulic design process through to product realization and integration.
Our hydraulic specialists then use Visio Hydraw software suite to develop both the hydraulic schematic and a manifold outline. After the design is agreed, the 3d Models can be exported for incorporating into machinery designs.
Custom hydraulic manifolds integrate a variety of functions into a single product. They reduce system pipework by reducing the number of connections, thus reducing potential leak points. Custom hydraulic manifolds can be flexibility in their design and are compact and reliable.
Functional components integrated into the custom manifold, such as screw-in or slip-in cartridge valves, are more readily removed for servicing. Valves are selected from world-class valve manufacturers, ensuring worldwide availability and interchangeability. The compact nature of a manifold system means that space and weight is reduced along with overall machine assembly time.
Manifold themselves can be manufactured in either ductile steel and aluminum. The selection can be critical for product reliability and safety. The following factors should be considered:
System pressures consistently above 250bar, ductile steel is preferred. With normal pressure near this level but with pressure “spikes” above 250bar then ductile steel should be considered.
Environmental protection will commonly be applied to the manifold be it anodizing for aluminum or electro-plating for ductile steel.
Aluminum is less costly due to lower material cost and ease of machining.
These custom manifolds or integrated valve systems can be particularly useful to OEMs as this process can be modified for the OEMs equipment and specific application. This makes the final customized valve and manifold assembly a proprietary item for the OEM, reducing stock levels and procurement overhead.
Unless you’ve been involved with hydraulic systems for some time, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll be highly familiar with the ins and outs of the hydraulic manifold. Its purpose is to regulate the flow of fluid as it passes between actuators, pumps and other components in a hydraulic system.
Some engineers might compare the manifold to the switchboard of an electrical circuit as the flow of fluid is under the control of the operator. For example a hydraulic manifold of a backhoe loader will control whether the fluid is being diverted to the telescopic arms of the back bucket or the front bucket. The levers used by the operator in their cabin are connected to the manifold and it’s these that are used to control what the backhoe does.
A manifold works with a number of valves connected to each other. It is through the combinations of these valves that enable the manifold to control complex behaviour. The hydraulic valves are what control the flow of pressurized hydraulic fluid and direct it either to a cylinder or a hydraulic motor.
Manifolds are also known for many advantages including space reduction, pressure reduction, less connections and therefore less leaks. They also make it faster to assemble a hydraulic system as the components are consolidated into one unit. Some engineers feel wary of troubleshooting systems that have manifolds as there may not be an obvious place to start looking for issues. However, as long as the design of the hydraulic system includes test points, finding the root of problems can be much faster and easier. If transducers are attached, in the event of issues the data can then be displayed.
The applications where you’re most likely to find manifolds in use are in production equipment, material handling, heavy construction, food processing, oil field, off-highway equipment and machine tools.
There are two basic variations of the manifold… One is of the modular-block design which will support valves by providing interconnecting passages for just one or two valves with possibly some provision for flow-throughs. The other type is a mono-block design. This will support an entire system with valves and passages.
The material that manifolds are made from need to be strong and solid to handle the high pressure of the fluid. This is why they are manufactured in either laminar or drilled metal block. Most laminar manifolds will be created in steel with either milling or machining techniques used to pass through the layers of metal. Through the use of several layers that make up the passages, the manifolds are strong enough to take up to 10,000 psi.
Made in a bespoke custom manner, laminar manifolds are designed to suit the hydraulic system with passages added where needed.
When it comes to drilled metal block manifolds they can be manufactured from a number of different materials including steel, ductile iron and even aluminium. Blocks are drilled until there are flow passages, circuit paths and valves added where required.
In some cases there could be cartridge valves added to cavities in the surface of the manifold. Sometimes these are kept in place by plates and other times they are held in place by threaded bodies.
When it comes to selecting a hydraulic manifold to suit your hydraulic system setup there a number of different questions that you’ll need to answer. Keep in mind that there are software packages on the market that can be used to help the engineer design his or her perfect solution.
1. What type of fluid will you be expecting the manifold to handle?
2. Consider your seal materials – they will need to be able to connect the manifold to pipes and other components.
3. Which material and finish is going to suit your needs the most?
4. There are certain environmental conditions for every setup – keep these in mind including temperatures for your choice.
5. What pressure will the manifold be under when it’s under normal working conditions and maximum strain?
6. Check that the ports are suitable in size, location and type.
7. Are there enough valves on your manifold?
8. What flow conditions will there be – ie from a pump, an accumulator or a return?
9. What electrical voltage do you need and how will this be connected?
10. How will the manifold be mounted to the system?
This information should fill in any gaps in your knowledge about hydraulic manifolds. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line, we’ll do our best to help.
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.
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.
Hydraulics has been around for a very long time. But are you aware of how far it has actually come? You wouldn’t be alone if you responded with no. It is a very technical subject that can be quite difficult to understand, but in this article we want to tell you the story of hydraulics! We want to share with you who discovered hydraulics, what it was originally used for and how hydraulic power got to where it is today.
So why don’t we start at the beginning! Where does the word hydraulic come from?
The word hydraulic originates from the Greek word ‘Hydros’ which means water. Why water? Well, this is because water was the first liquid to be used in the hydraulic system. Today, hydraulics includes the physical behaviour of all liquids, not just water.
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 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.
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 .
It’s no secret that every engineer wants their hydraulic system to run well forever.
During a recent chat with one of our clients we discovered that although they were using our mobile hydraulic power packs quite happily out in the field, back at base they had another hydraulic system that there were considering improving. They wanted to add a highly effective filtration system to it so that the fluid would be as clean as a whistle – or in this case, more like as clean as a fresh coat of paint - excuse the simile! (Even our editor couldn’t come up with anything else!)
Of course, as experienced engineers we are well aware that the cleaner the hydraulic fluid, the longer the service life will be of any component – in the case of all things being equal anyway. Whether taking action would deliver a worthwhile return on investment will also rest on a number of other variables that we won’t cover here. But this situation got us cogitating about something else.
We are fully supportive of the maintenance approach for hydraulic systems, rather than informing somebody of what they should have done a day too late when everything has jammed up and there is a huge repair bill hanging in the future. Although maintenance and design are seen as separate matters, in reality they are closely tied as the design of a hydraulic machine will impact both its reliability and its operating cost.
Taking this into consideration, it becomes clear that the best time to think about what your objectives are with regards to hydraulic system maintenance is before you purchase a machine.
Keeping operating costs in mind, before you order your system, you need to consider what you want when it comes to both reliability and maintenance. You need to avoid buying a flop that will cause more issues than output.
You will also need to consider what targets you have when it comes to contamination control. Ask for a machine that can reach your objectives on reliability because it has been equipped and designed to deliver on them.
Take the hydraulic oil that you plan to use and work out the ultimate running temperature for that oil. Then give directions to the manufacturer that you need your machine to have the right cooling capacity = using the temperature stats that you’ve given to him.
If you’re one to think that the temperature or viscosity of the oil is not all that important, then we’re afraid to inform you that you’re wrong. Based on our experience in hydraulic system repair, we know that failure of lubrication is one of the worst perpetrators when it comes to hydraulic component failure. There are of course other specifics that need to be considered when looking for reliability such as how much oil is in the tank, whether there is a flooded inlet for each of the pumps and what suction strainers are in place for the pump intake lines.
To clearly demonstrate this point, let’s go back to the viscosity and oil temperature connection. Let’s say you’ve got plans to buy a hydraulic excavator in the 25 ton range. According to directions from the manufacturer, you can expect optimum performance, reliability and longevity from keeping the oil in the range of 25 to 36 cSt with a viscosity index of 100.
The manufacturer has informed you that if you run the excavator at a temperature that is hotter than 70°C then you won’t be able to expect a lot from the machine. The oil won’t last long, the seals will fail and each component will struggle to last a long time.
So you ask the manufacturer to ensure that you cannot even run that machine hotter than 70°C, even on a day that is at 45°C (your local weather). If they do mess up and deliver something that does, then tell them that they will have to fix it at cost to themselves.
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