Mapping a Basic Hydraulic System

hen most people think of hydraulics, they think of a hydraulic piston that extends and retracts based on the needs of the application. While this is definitely an accurate representation, it’s actually only part of what a true hydraulic system actually looks like. In reality, even the most basic system contains a fair number of hydraulic parts in Minnesota!

Let’s take a look at what a basic system looks like all mapped out and how each component functions with the entire system to provide fluid power to an application:

  • First and foremost, you’re going to have a hydraulic tank, also called a hydraulic fluid reservoir, which will be responsible for holding the hydraulic oil. This is the most essential part of the system because without it, you don’t have a hydraulic medium!
  • Connected to the hydraulic tank you have the hydraulic hose, which serves as a supply channel for the hydraulic fluid as it’s transported to the hydraulic pump.
  • The hydraulic pump is going to pull hydraulic oil from the hydraulic tank through the hydraulic hose and transport it through to the main relief valve.
  • When a hydraulic system is engaged, the main relief valve is going to push hydraulic oil to the hydraulic ram. The hydraulic ram will then be pressurized by the oil, pushing the piston down.
  • After the hydraulic ram is compressed, hydraulic oil will be fed back to the hydraulic tank as the piston begins to rise. First, however, it will be filtered so that no debris is being routed back into the tank.

All in all, the process is quite simple! A basic hydraulic system is a closed circuit operation that utilizes hydraulic oil to create and alleviate force as required. Without the completely closed circuit to regulate pressure within the system however, there will be inefficiencies and ultimately, failure. This is why each of the individual hydraulic parts in Minnesota is so important!

Singling out the main relief valve

Let’s take another look at one specific part of any hydraulic system: the main relief valve. This seemingly innocuous part may seem like just another component during regular operation—and it is—however when problems occur, this part is going to shine.

Overloading occurs when pressure within the hydraulic system becomes deregulated (usually via a leak or damaged seal). When this occurs, the hydraulic ram will push back against the influx of hydraulic fluid, forcing it back towards the main relief valve. This is when the valve kicks in, to divert back-flowing fluid to the filter and back into the tank, so as to avoid catastrophic depressurization and blowouts. This valve is regulated by pressure sensors that serve to kick it on in the event of pressure buildups, while also alerting operators to the presence of dangerous pressure levels within the system.

Maintenance is key

With so many critical parts within a hydraulic system, routine maintenance and inspections are paramount to maintaining the functionality of the circuit—especially its failsafe components, like the main relief valve. Be sure you’re having your hydraulic systems professionally inspected and serviced regularly!

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