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Electronic and Manually Controlled Hydrostatic Pumps

As technology has evolved, computer numerical control (CNC) protocols have become increasingly common in a number of industrial sectors, including machining and other forms of manufacturing. Recent advances in hydrostatic pumps are implementing similar types of technology to improve the way that hydraulic systems operate.

Electronically operated hydrostatic pumps possess a number of advantages over other older, manually operated systems, including improved efficiency. Conversely, manually operated pumps also have several benefits that may make them a more appealing hydraulic solution for your selected operation.

If you’re hoping to learn more about electronically and manually controlled hydrostatic pumps, you should contact a provider of hydraulic parts in Minnesota. Working with a qualified pneumatics expert is the best way to identify a hydraulics solution that works best for your application.

Benefits of manually controlled pumps

The primary benefit of a manually controlled hydrostatic pump is that the user feels in complete and total control of the pump. Because they are directly applying pressure to the pump’s swashplate, the user is able to “feather” the pump, and finesse the amount of pressure that it exerts. Because of this tactile input and output, many people perceive manually controlled pumps to be more precise.

Another benefit is that because manually operated pumps have been around for a while, people are more likely to be familiar with how to operate them. This can make it easier to find team members who are comfortable operating your pump when you need to use it.

Benefits of electronically controlled pumps

While people may perceive manual pumps to be more accurate, the truth is that electronically controlled pumps actually allow people to exercise greater levels of control. Additionally, electronically controlled pumps boast fewer potential leak points, meaning that they require less maintenance and overall attention than manual pumps.

Additionally, manual pumps require a substantial investment to install. Because of this, they can be more cumbersome to install than electronic pumps, and they require a larger investment to install than electronic pumps. Electronic pumps also require a smaller footprint than manually controlled hydrostatic pumps, meaning that by investing in an electronic system you’ll be freeing up more of your floor space to use in a productive manner.

It’s important to point out that investing in a manual hydrostatic pump may cost more money initially, but it should save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. Additionally, consider the potential fatigue that pump operators may face when continuously stroking and de-stroking a manually operated pump—by investing in an electronic system, you’ll be helping your workforce.

Since 1976, M & M Hydraulic Company has been a trusted provider of hydraulic parts in Minnesota. We’re proud to provide quality services to each and every one of our clients. To learn more about our wide range of hydraulic pneumatic parts, systems and services, reach out to one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives today. We’re capable of servicing components like jacks, cylinders and so much more. Additionally, we pride ourselves in our ability to deliver prompt and professional service.

Understanding Power Fluid Schematics

If you’re hoping to learn more about the interesting and exciting world of pneumatic components in Minnesota, you’ll likely encounter a challenging schematic. Without proper experience or a highly specialized base of knowledge, power fluid schematics can seem nearly impossible to read. The ability to read a fluid schematic is essential, however, if you’re hoping to learn more about the way that your hydraulic gear operates and is repaired.

Hydraulic schematics can look mystifying at first glance, which is why it’s so exceptionally important for people to possess an understanding of the symbolism behind the schematics. Here are just some of the symbols behind power fluid schematics:

  • Pumps: On power fluid schematics, there are two primary types of pumps indicated: hydraulic and pneumatic. Pumps are indicated as a circle with one or more arrowheads. Hydraulic pumps are indicated using a solid arrowhead, whereas pneumatic compressors are indicated with hollow arrowheads. The arrowheads indicate the direction of flow in the schematic.
  • Piping: Piping is arguably the most significant part of any fluid schematic system. Piping transports the working media from one point to another. An even, straight line indicates a working line; a line with a single break in the middle indicates a pilot line. A dotted line indicates a drain line, while a single black dot indicates a connector. A bowed line between two connectors indicates a flexible line, while a line with an “x” at the end indicates a plug.
  • Reservoirs: Reservoirs are where the working media is stored in a fluid system. Because there are a number of different types of reservoirs capable of holding compressed gas or hydraulic fluid, there are a number of different symbols used to indicate reservoirs. There are some universal conventions, however. A hollow rectangle without a top line indicates an open reservoir; a closed hollow rectangle indicates a pressurized reservoir.
  • Valves: Because valves are one of the most important and dynamic pneumatic components in Minnesota, the way that they are presented on power fluid schematics is especially complex. Most valve indicators will appear to be a cutaway of an actual valve system, including cylinders, pressure inlets and exhaust piping.
  • Actuators: The actuator is the component of the hydraulic system that converts the hydraulic or pneumatic pressure into mechanical energy. There are two primary types of actuators used: linear actuators and rotary actuators. Linear actuators are usually illustrated in a way that shows their piston; rotary actuators appear identical to pumps except for the fact that the tail of their arrow touches the interior wall of the circle, rather than the point.

M & M Hydraulic Company has been a premier provider of pneumatic components in Minnesota since 1976. We’re proud to provide high-quality pneumatic supplies and hydraulic repair to clients throughout the Upper Midwest. Whether you’re in need of jack repair or a custom-built hydraulic power unit, you can depend on our highly qualified team to provide you with the service and expertise you need to succeed. Reach out to one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives today to learn more about our highly qualified team members and robust range of services.

Choosing the Right Hydraulic Filter

Are you in need of a new hydraulic filter? Choosing the right one comes down to knowing the application for which you’re using it, and the differences among the types of filters available.

Here is some information from a hydraulic service in Minnesota to help you ensure you get the right kind of filter for your needs.

The types of filters to choose from

Your first step should be looking at the different categories of filters available. Here are the main options you’re going to want to consider:

  • Suction filters: Suction filters are filters you put inside the tank to filter out bolts, rags or other items you accidentally drop into the reservoir. These are very basic filters that you are not going to be able to use to filter the fluid to the extent that it achieves ISO code standards.
  • Return filters: These filters clean the oil before it returns to the hydraulic reservoir, which keeps your reservoir clean and completely free of dirt particles that could cause the system some harm. Return line filters are most frequently used in open loop applications, and must be rated at the ISO code required by your particular system.
  • Pressure filters: These filters are highly recommended because they are placed in the system after the pump. This means if your pump ends up failing, all the components downstream of the pump are still protected, thanks to the pressure filter. These filters must be rated for the running pressure of your system and the ISO code that is applicable.

Note that while you do not necessarily need to use all three of these types of filters in the same hydraulic system, you should at least have a pressure filter or a return line filter in every application to ensure your fluid maintains the appropriate cleanliness standards that cannot be achieved with only a suction filter.

Determining the correct pressure drop

Once you’ve decided the kind of filter you want to use, you’ll also need to know the pressure drop through the filter. The majority of pressure filters and return filters have what’s called a “bypass,” an element that shields the system if the filter gets clogged up with debris. This bypass gives the oil the ability to pass the filter element and keeps the system running even if the oil isn’t being filtered.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that this is unfiltered oil, so while this feature does prevent you from experiencing some inconvenient downtime, it’s still important you keep up with proper filter maintenance steps.

The dirtier the filter becomes, the more pressure it takes to force the oil through the element. When the pressure reaches a certain level, it becomes inefficient, meaning you’re wasting power in the system.

When selecting the size of your pressure filter, you should have the goal of keeping the pressure drop under 10 PSI.

M & M Hydraulic Company has been handling a variety of hydraulic system needs for over four decades. For more information about choosing a hydraulic filter, contact our hydraulic service in Minnesota today.

The Micron Rating for Media in Fluid Filters

Fluid filters get rated based on how well they’re capable of removing particles of a certain size from the fluid in question. A 10-micron filter, for example, can filter out particles that are as small as 10 micrometers.

The most common filter ratings that are used are absolute and nominal ratings. These are different methods of indicating the effectiveness of a particular fluid filter.

Let’s take a close look at each of these rating methods, which can be helpful to know when undergoing hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota.

Absolute rating

A filter’s absolute rating is also known as its cutoff point. This rating provides the diameter of the largest spherical glass particle that would be able to pass through the filter. These diameters are measured in micrometers, which measure at a millionth of a meter.

Filter media that have an exact, consistent pore size are also going to have an exact absolute rating, because the absolute rating is the medium’s pore opening size. It should not be confused with the largest particle that passes through a filter—the absolute rating just indicates the size of the largest glass bead that passes through the filter under non-pulsating, low-pressure conditions.

It is important to note that filter media that have exactly consistent pore sizes do not exist in practice. Pore size is determined by the form of the filter element, but it is not necessarily consistent with actual open areas. Depending on the shape of the particle, it might be possible for it to pass through a smaller hole in the media than might have otherwise been expected based on at least one of the particle’s dimensions. For example, consider how a cylinder might be capable of passing through a small hole if put through lengthwise, but not widthwise. This type of passage is influenced by the shape and size of the opening and the fluid depth over which the filtering process is occurring.

Nominal rating

A nominal rating is a measure of a given filter’s ability to prevent a certain minimum percentage of particles greater than the nominal rating’s micron size from passing through. Particles are measured by weight for each specific contaminant in a nominal rating. The nominal rating also indicates a degree of filtration, which gives an idea of how efficient a particular filter is. For example, a nominal rating might be “95 percent of 10 micron,” in which the filter is capable of removing about 95 percent of all 10 micron and larger particles passing through a fluid.

The nominal rating method is not used as frequently as the absolute rating method, because there is enough variance in testing conditions such as contaminant concentration and operating pressure in testing settings that the rating might not be very consistent, which means it cannot be relied upon to the same degree that an absolute rating can.

For more information about these different types of rating systems and how they measure the effectiveness of fluid filters, contact M & M Hydraulic Company today to learn more about hydraulic maintenance in Minnesota.

What to Consider Before Switching to a Water-Based Hydraulic System

More and more facilities are switching from oil-based to water-based hydraulic systems, for a variety of reasons. Water hydraulic systems are generally safer, cleaner to operate and much less expensive to use than oil-based systems.

There are still some limitations and drawbacks associated with using water-based systems, and it’s very important to understand both these limitations and the benefits of using this type of system.

Here’s some information from a hydraulic service in Minnesota to help you make your decision if you’re considering switching to a water-based hydraulic system.

The benefits of water-based hydraulic systems

Perhaps the single largest benefit touted by proponents of water-based hydraulic systems, including many hydraulic and pneumatic distributors, is the relatively lower cost associated with using such a system. As a general rule, water-based hydraulic systems cost less to operate than oil-based systems.

A single gallon of a biodegradable, non-toxic synthetic additive concentrate that’s made up of 95 percent water and five percent additive can produce 20 gallons of solution. This is not possible when using oil-based solutions, because the fluid cannot be diluted in the same way, meaning you cannot stretch out its usage. The fluid is also not biodegradable. This means if you ever experience a spill, there will be some major cleanup costs to contend with.

Water-based solutions provide some significant savings in costs that would otherwise be put toward preventing environmental contamination and cleaning up any spills that occur. This is also because water-based fluids are typically safer—they are fire-resistant and non-toxic. Insurance companies lower the rates for any companies that use water hydraulic systems because of the safer nature of the fluid.

The disadvantages of water-based hydraulic systems

Even staunch proponents of water-based hydraulic systems will be quick to admit there are some limitations associated with these systems. There is always the chance of water-based fluid freezing inside the system, which could cause some significant damage. This is one of the main reasons why companies try to stay away from using water-based hydraulic systems.

Of course, you can add some antifreeze into the solution to prevent it from freezing. This can be less than ideal because using antifreeze can counteract the environmental benefits associated with water-based hydraulic systems.

But there are other options available. You can, for instance, use a series of hoses to insulate the liquid and keep the solution constantly moving.

Another challenge associated with the use of water-based hydraulic systems is preventing bacteria from causing harmful effects. It can be hard to seal these systems, and if air gets inside, this could lead to bacteria growth and resulting component failure. This means you must take extra steps to ensure the system is sealed properly.

These are just some of the facts you’ll need to consider if you’re interested in switching to a water-based hydraulic system. To learn more about the pros and cons of water-based systems, contact a hydraulic service in Minnesota. The team at M & M Hydraulic Company looks forward to hearing from you soon!

About Water-Based Hydraulic Oil

Water-based hydraulic systems have been a fixture of longwall mining and hot metal steel mill processes for years, due in large part to their fire resistance. But it’s not their fire resistance alone that makes them so beneficial—they also pose some significant cost advantages over oil-based fluids that make them attractive to hydraulic facilities.

Here’s some more in-depth information from a hydraulic service in Minnesota about the advantages of water-based hydraulic oil over oil-based fluids.

Cost benefits

A single gallon of concentrate can make 20 gallons of a solution that contains 95 percent water and just five percent additive. When you consider the fact that these biodegradable additives cost much less per gallon than oil-based fluids do, and that you can stretch their use out over longer periods of time, that provides the potential for some outstanding savings.

There are also savings capabilities at the plant level, especially when one considers the costs typically associated with cleaning up and preventing environmental contamination. Oil that leaks or drains out of a system cannot be dumped down a drain—it has to be properly collected, contained and then carried away by a certified carrier capable of properly disposing of that oil. Compare this to water that contains synthetic additives, which can be dumped into effluent systems at the plant, and it’s significantly easier (and less expensive) to dispose of it.

Safety benefits

The use of water-based fluids allows for greater safety for workers at plants, because the water-based fluid is both non-flammable and non-toxic. These attributes can reduce the insurance rates at the plant, which provides some additional savings, but more importantly makes the entire facility safer.

In addition, putting antifreeze into water-based fluids can significantly lower its freezing temperature, which allows the machines using the fluid to run better in colder temperatures. It is recommended to use propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol, as the former is non-toxic and biodegradable, meaning its use won’t compromise the environmental benefits associated with water-based fluids.


This benefit comes more out of necessity than anything. If water-based hydraulic systems are not properly designed, they could become prone to the problem of pump cavitation. Therefore, a lot of parts are designed in a standardized, identical way to make sure the system’s components work well with each other.

All the major components in these systems are designed to be used specifically with water-based fluids rather than oil-based fluids. While there are some cases in which oil valves might be retrofitted for water service, the performance you get out of such a component is never going to be quite as effective as one that’s been designed specifically for that purpose.

To learn more about water-based oils and water-based hydraulic systems, we encourage you to contact our hydraulic service in Minnesota with your questions. Our team is happy to provide you with answers and to help you better understand the functionality and benefits of water-based hydraulic systems. Reach out to M & M Hydraulic Company today to learn more!