Hydraulic machinery
Hydraulic machines are machinery and tools that use liquid
Liquid is one of the three classical states of matter . Like a gas, a liquid is able to flow and take the shape of a container. Some liquids resist compression, while others can be compressed. Unlike a gas, a liquid does not disperse to fill every space of a container, and maintains a fairly...

 fluid power
Fluid power
Fluid power is the use of fluids under pressure to generate, control, and transmit power. Fluid power is subdivided into hydraulics using a liquid such as mineral oil or water, and pneumatics using a gas such as air or other gases...

 to do simple work. Heavy equipment
Engineering vehicle
Heavy equipment refers to heavy-duty vehicles, specially designed for executing construction tasks, most frequently ones involving earthwork operations. They are also known as, construction equipment, construction plant, earth movers, engineering vehicles, or simply equipment...

 is a common example.

In this type of machine, hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluids, also called hydraulic liquids, are the medium by which power is transferred in hydraulic machinery. Common hydraulic fluids are based on mineral oil or water...

 is transmitted throughout the machine to various hydraulic motor
Hydraulic motor
A hydraulic motor is a mechanical actuator that converts hydraulic pressure and flow into torque and angular displacement . The hydraulic motor is the rotary counterpart of the hydraulic cylinder....

s and hydraulic cylinder
Hydraulic cylinder
A Hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical actuator that is used to give a unidirectional force through a unidirectional stroke. It has many applications, notably in engineering vehicles.- Operation :...

s and which becomes pressurised according to the resistance present. The fluid is controlled directly or automatically by control valves
Control valves
Control valves are valves used to control conditions such as flow, pressure, temperature, and liquid level by fully or partially opening or closing in response to signals received from controllers that compare a "setpoint" to a "process variable" whose value is provided by sensors that monitor...

 and distributed through hoses and tubes.

The popularity of hydraulic machinery is due to the very large amount of power that can be transferred through small tubes and flexible hoses, and the high power density and wide array of actuator
An actuator is a type of motor for moving or controlling a mechanism or system. It is operated by a source of energy, usually in the form of an electric current, hydraulic fluid pressure or pneumatic pressure, and converts that energy into some kind of motion. An actuator is the mechanism by which...

s that can make use of this power.

Hydraulic machinery is operated by the use of hydraulics, where a liquid is the powering medium.

Force and torque multiplication

A fundamental feature of hydraulic systems is the ability to apply force or torque multiplication in an easy way, independent of the distance between the input and output, without the need for mechanical gears or levers, either by altering the effective areas in two connected cylinders or the effective displacement (cc/rev) between a pump and motor. In normal cases, hydraulic ratios are combined with a mechanical force or torque ratio for optimum machine designs such as boom movements and trackdrives for an excavator.

Two hydraulic cylinders interconnected

Cylinder C1 is one inch in radius, and cylinder C2 is ten inches in radius. If the force exerted on C1 is 10 lbf, the force exerted by C2 is 1000 lbf because C2 is a hundred times larger in area (S = πr²) as C1. The downside to this is that you have to move C1 a hundred inches to move C2 one inch. The most common use for this is the classical hydraulic jack where a pumping cylinder with a small diameter is connected to the lifting cylinder with a large diameter.
Pump and motor

If a hydraulic rotary pump with the displacement 10 cc/rev is connected to a hydraulic rotary motor with 100 cc/rev, the shaft torque required to drive the pump is 10 times less than the torque available at the motor shaft, but the shaft speed (rev/min) for the motor is 10 times less than the pump shaft speed. This combination is actually the same type of force multiplication as the cylinder example (1) just that the linear force in this case is a rotary force, defined as torque.

Both these examples are usually referred to as a hydraulic transmission
Hydraulic transmission
Hydraulic transmission may refer to:* Hydrostatic transmission, see Hydraulic drive system and Hydraulic machinery* Hydrokinetic transmission, see Torque converter...

 or hydrostatic transmission involving a certain hydraulic "gear ratio".

Hydraulic circuits

For the hydraulic fluid to do work, it must flow to the actuator and or motors, then return to a reservoir. The fluid is then filtered
Filter (oil)
An oil filter is a filter designed to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil. Oil filters are used in many different types of hydraulic machinery. A chief use of the oil filter is in internal-combustion engines in on- and off-road motor vehicles,...

 and re-pumped.
The path taken by hydraulic fluid is called a hydraulic circuit
Hydraulic circuit
A hydraulic circuit is a system comprising an interconnected set of discrete components that transport liquid. The purpose of this system may be to control where fluid flows or to control fluid pressure...

 of which there are several types.
Open center circuits use pumps which supply a continuous flow. The flow is returned to tank through the control valve's open center; that is, when the control valve is centered, it provides an open return path to tank and the fluid is not pumped to a high pressure. Otherwise, if the control valve is actuated it routes fluid to and from an actuator and tank. The fluid's pressure will rise to meet any resistance, since the pump has a constant output. If the pressure rises too high, fluid returns to tank through a pressure relief valve. Multiple control valves may be stacked in series http://www.tpub.com/content/engine/14105/css/14105_179.htm. This type of circuit can use inexpensive, constant displacement pumps.

Closed center circuits supply full pressure to the control valves, whether any valves are actuated or not. The pumps vary their flow rate, pumping very little hydraulic fluid until the operator actuates a valve. The valve's spool therefore doesn't need an open center return path to tank. Multiple valves can be connected in a parallel arrangement and system pressure is equal for all valves.

Constant pressure and load-sensing systems

The closed center circuits exist in two basic configurations, normally related to the regulator for the variable pump that supplies the oil:

Constant pressure systems (CP-system), standard. Pump pressure always equals the pressure setting for the pump regulator. This setting must cover the maximum required load pressure. Pump delivers flow according to required sum of flow to the consumers. The CP-system generates large power losses if the machine works with large variations in load pressure and the average system pressure is much lower than the pressure setting for the pump regulator. CP is simple in design. Works like a pneumatic system. New hydraulic functions can easily be added and the system is quick in response.

Constant pressure systems (CP-system), unloaded. Same basic configuration as 'standard' CP-system but the pump is unloaded to a low stand-by pressure when all valves are in neutral position. Not so fast response as standard CP but pump lifetime is prolonged.

Load-sensing systems (LS-system) generates less power losses as the pump can reduce both flow and pressure to match the load requirements, but requires more tuning than the CP-system with respect to system stability. The LS-system also requires additional logical valves and compensator valves in the directional valves, thus it is technically more complex and more expensive than the CP-system. The LS-system system generates a constant power loss related to the regulating pressure drop for the pump regulator:

The average is around 2 MPa (290 psi). If the pump flow is high the extra loss can be considerable. The power loss also increase if the load pressures varies a lot. The cylinder areas, motor displacements and mechanical torque arms must be designed to match in load pressure in order to bring down the power losses. Pump pressure always equals the maximum load pressure when several functions are run simultaneously and the power input to the pump equals the (max. load pressure + ΔpLS) x sum of flow.

Five basic types of load-sensing systems

(1) Load sensing without compensators in the directional valves. Hydraulically controlled LS-pump.

(2) Load sensing with up-stream compensator for each connected directional valve. Hydraulically controlled LS-pump.

(3) Load sensing with down-stream compensator for each connected directional valve. Hydraulically controlled LS-pump.

(4) Load sensing with a combination of up-stream and down-stream compensators. Hydraulically controlled LS-pump.

(5) Load sensing with synchronized, both electric controlled pump displacement and electric controlled valve flow area for faster response, increased stability and less system losses. This is a new type of LS-system, not yet fully developed.

Technically the down-stream mounted compensator in a valveblock can physically be mounted "up-stream", but work as a down-stream compensator.

System type (3) gives the advantage that activated functions are synchronized independent of pump flow capacity. The flow relation between 2 or more activated functions remains independent, of load pressures even if the pump reach the maximum swivel angle. This feature is important for machines that often run with the pump at maximum swivel angel and with several activated functions that must be synchronized in speed, such as with excavators. With type (4) system, the functions with up-stream compensators have priority. Example: Steering-function for a wheel loader. The system type with down-stream compensators usually have a unique trademark depending on the manufacturer of the valves, for example "LSC" (Linde Hydraulics), "LUDV" (Bosch Rexroth
Bosch Rexroth
Bosch Rexroth is an engineering firm based in Lohr am Main in Germany. It is the result of a merger on 1 May 2001 between Mannesmann Rexroth AG and the Automation Technology Business Unit of Robert Bosch GmbH, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. Rexroth in turn consisted of a...

 Hydraulics) and "Flowsharing" (Parker Hydraulics) etc. No official standardized name for this type of system has been established but Flowsharing is a common name for it.

Open and closed circuits

Open-loop: Pump-inlet and motor-return (via the directional valve) are connected to the hydraulic tank.The term loop applies to feedback; the more correct term is open versus closed "circuit".

Closed-loop: Motor-return is connected directly to the pump-inlet. To keep up pressure on the low pressure side, the circuits have a charge pump (a small gearpump) that supplies cooled and filtered oil to the low pressure side. Closed-loop circuits are generally used for hydrostatic transmissions in mobile applications. Advantages: No directional valve and better response, the circuit can work with higher pressure. The pump swivel angle covers both positive and negative flow direction. Disadvantages: The pump cannot be utilized for any other hydraulic function in an easy way and cooling can be a problem due to limited exchange of oil flow. High power closed loop systems generally must have a 'flush-valve' assembled in the circuit in order to exchange much more flow than the basic leakage flow from the pump and the motor, for increased cooling and filtering. The flush valve is normally integrated in the motor housing to get a cooling effect for the oil that is rotating in the motor housing itself. The losses in the motor housing from rotating effects and losses in the ball bearings can be considerable as motor speeds will reach 4000-5000 rev/min or even more at maximum vehicle speed. The leakage flow as well as the extra flush flow must be supplied by the charge pump. Large charge pumps is thus very important if the transmission is designed for high pressures and high motor speeds. High oil temperatures, is usually a major problem when using hydrostatic transmissions at high vehicle speeds for longer periods, for instance when transporting the machine from one work place to the other. High oil temperatures for long periods will drastically reduce the lifetime for the transmission. To keep down the oil temperature, the system pressure during transport must be lowered, meaning that the minimum displacement for the motor must be limited to a reasonable value. Circuit pressures during transport around 200-250 bar is recommended.

Closed loop systems in mobile equipment are generally used for the transmission as an alternative to mechanical and hydrodynamic (converter) transmissions. The advantage is a stepless gear ratio (continuously variable speed/torque) and a more flexible control of the gear ratio depending on the load and operating conditions. The hydrostatic transmission is generally limited to around 200 kW maximum power, as the total cost gets too high at higher power compared to a hydrodynamic transmission. Large wheel loaders for instance and heavy machines are therefore usually equipped with converter transmissions. Recent technical achievements for the converter transmissions have improved the efficiency and developments in the software have also improved the characteristics, for example selectable gear shifting programs during operation and more gear steps, giving them characteristics close to the hydrostatic transmission.

Hydrostatic transmissions for earth moving machines, such as for track loaders, are often equipped with a separate 'inch pedal
Inch pedal
Inch pedal is a standard pedal used in mobile machinery with a hydraulic pilot pressure output proportional to the pedal position, or an electronic pedal with a proportional electric signal output. The pedal is used in hydrostatic transmissions to temporarily affect the preset characteristics for...

' that is used to temporarily increase the diesel engine rpm while reducing the vehicle speed in order to increase the available hydraulic power output for the working hydraulics at low speeds and increase the tractive effort. The function is similar to stalling a converter gearbox at high engine rpm. The inch function affects the preset characteristics for the 'hydrostatic' gear ratio versus diesel engine rpm.

Hydraulic pump

Hydraulic pump
Hydraulic pump
Hydraulic pumps are used in hydraulic drive systems and can be hydrostatic or hydrodynamic.Hydrostatic pumps are positive displacement pumps while hydrodynamic pumps can be fixed displacement pumps, in which the displacement cannot be adjusted, or variable displacement pumps, which have a more...

s supply fluid to the components in the system. Pressure in the system develops in reaction to the load. Hence, a pump rated for 5,000 psi is capable of maintaining flow against a load of 5,000 psi.

Pumps have a power density about ten times greater than an electric motor (by volume). They are powered by an electric motor or an engine, connected through gears, belts, or a flexible elastomer
An elastomer is a polymer with the property of viscoelasticity , generally having notably low Young's modulus and high yield strain compared with other materials. The term, which is derived from elastic polymer, is often used interchangeably with the term rubber, although the latter is preferred...

ic coupling to reduce vibration.

Common types of hydraulic pumps to hydraulic machinery applications are;
  • Gear pump
    Gear pump
    A gear pump uses the meshing of gears to pump fluid by displacement. They are one of the most common types of pumps for hydraulic fluid power applications. Gear pumps are also widely used in chemical installations to pump fluid with a certain viscosity...

    : cheap, durable, simple. Less efficient, because they are constant (fixed) displacement, and mainly suitable for pressures below 20 MPa (3000 psi).
  • Vane pump
    Rotary vane pump
    A rotary vane pump is a positive-displacement pump that consists of vanes mounted to a rotor that rotates inside of a cavity. In some cases these vanes can be variable length and/or tensioned to maintain contact with the walls as the pump rotates. It was invented by Charles C...

    : cheap and simple, reliable (especially in g-rotor form). Good for higher-flow low-pressure output.
  • Axial piston pump
    Axial piston pump
    An axial piston pump is a positive displacement pump that has a number of pistons in a circular array within a cylinder block. It can be used as a stand-alone pump, a hydraulic motor or an automotive air conditioning compressor.-Description:...

    : many designed with a variable displacement mechanism, to vary output flow for automatic control of pressure. There are various axial piston pump designs, including swashplate (sometimes referred to as a valveplate pump) and checkball (sometimes referred to as a wobble plate pump). The most common is the swashplate pump. A variable-angle swashplate
    A swashplate is a device used in mechanical engineering to translate the motion of a rotating shaft into reciprocating motion, or to translate a reciprocating motion into a rotating one to replace the crankshaft in engine designs.- Construction :...

     causes the pistons to reciprocate a greater or lesser distance per rotation, allowing output flow rate and pressure to be varied (greater displacement angle causes higher flow rate, lower pressure, and vice versa).
  • Radial piston pump
    Radial piston pump
    A radial piston pump is a form of hydraulic pump. The working pistons extend in a radial direction symmetrically around the drive shaft, in contrast to the axial piston pump.-Construction:...

     A pump that is normally used for very high pressure at small flows.

Piston pumps are more expensive than gear or vane pumps, but provide longer life operating at higher pressure, with difficult fluids and longer continuous duty cycles. Piston pumps make up one half of a hydrostatic transmission.

Control valves

Directional control valve
Directional control valve
Directional control valves are one of the most fundamental parts in hydraulic machinery. They allow fluid flow into different paths from one or more sources. They usually consist of a piston inside a cylinder which is mechanically or electrically controlled...

route the fluid to the desired actuator. They usually consist of a spool inside a cast iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 or steel
Steel is an alloy that consists mostly of iron and has a carbon content between 0.2% and 2.1% by weight, depending on the grade. Carbon is the most common alloying material for iron, but various other alloying elements are used, such as manganese, chromium, vanadium, and tungsten...

 housing. The spool slides to different positions in the housing, intersecting grooves and channels route the fluid based on the spool's position.

The spool has a central (neutral) position maintained with springs; in this position the supply fluid is blocked, or returned to tank. Sliding the spool to one side routes the hydraulic fluid to an actuator and provides a return path from the actuator to tank. When the spool is moved to the opposite direction the supply and return paths are switched. When the spool is allowed to return to neutral (center) position the actuator fluid paths are blocked, locking it in position.

Directional control valves are usually designed to be stackable, with one valve for each hydraulic cylinder, and one fluid input supplying all the valves in the stack.

Tolerances are very tight in order to handle the high pressure and avoid leaking, spools typically have a clearance
Hydraulic clearance
Hydraulic clearance. Flow in narrow clearances are of vital importance in hydraulic system component design. The flow in a narrow circular clearance of a spool valve can be calculated according to the formula below if the height is negligible compared to the width of the clearance, such as most of...

 with the housing of less than a thousandth of an inch (25 µm). The valve block will be mounted to the machine's frame with a three point pattern to avoid distorting the valve block and jamming the valve's sensitive components.

The spool position may be actuated by mechanical levers, hydraulic pilot pressure, or solenoid
A solenoid is a coil wound into a tightly packed helix. In physics, the term solenoid refers to a long, thin loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it. Solenoids are important because they can create...

s which push the spool left or right. A seal
Seal (mechanical)
A mechanical seal is a device which helps join systems or mechanisms together by preventing leakage , containing pressure, or excluding contamination...

 allows part of the spool to protrude outside the housing, where it is accessible to the actuator.

The main valve block is usually a stack of off the shelf directional control valves chosen by flow capacity and performance. Some valves are designed to be proportional (flow rate proportional to valve position), while others may be simply on-off. The control valve is one of the most expensive and sensitive parts of a hydraulic circuit.
  • Pressure relief valves are used in several places in hydraulic machinery; on the return circuit to maintain a small amount of pressure for brakes, pilot lines, etc... On hydraulic cylinders, to prevent overloading and hydraulic line/seal rupture. On the hydraulic reservoir, to maintain a small positive pressure which excludes moisture and contamination.
  • Pressure regulator
    Pressure regulator
    A pressure regulator is a valve that automatically cuts off the flow of a liquid or gas at a certain pressure. Regulators are used to allow high-pressure fluid supply lines or tanks to be reduced to safe and/or usable pressures for various applications....

    reduce the supply pressure of hydraulic fluids as needed for various circuits.
  • Sequence valves control the sequence of hydraulic circuits; to ensure that one hydraulic cylinder is fully extended before another starts its stroke, for example.
  • Shuttle valve
    Shuttle valve
    A shuttle valve is a type of valve which allows fluid to flow through it from one of two sources. Generally a shuttle valve is used in pneumatic systems, although sometimes it will be found in hydraulic systems.-Structure and function:...

    provide a logical or
    Logical disjunction
    In logic and mathematics, a two-place logical connective or, is a logical disjunction, also known as inclusive disjunction or alternation, that results in true whenever one or more of its operands are true. E.g. in this context, "A or B" is true if A is true, or if B is true, or if both A and B are...

  • Check valve
    Check valve
    A check valve, clack valve, non-return valve or one-way valve is a mechanical device, a valve, which normally allows fluid to flow through it in only one direction....

    are one-way valves, allowing an accumulator to charge and maintain its pressure after the machine is turned off, for example.
  • Pilot controlled Check valves are one-way valve that can be opened (for both directions) by a foreign pressure signal. For instance if the load should not be held by the check valve anymore. Often the foreign pressure comes from the other pipe that is connected to the motor or cylinder.
  • Counterbalance valves are in fact a special type of pilot controlled check valve. Whereas the check valve is open or closed, the counterbalance valve acts a bit like a pilot controlled flow control.
  • Cartridge valves are in fact the inner part of a check valve; they are off the shelf components with a standardized envelope, making them easy to populate a proprietary valve block. They are available in many configurations; on/off, proportional, pressure relief, etc. They generally screw into a valve block and are electrically controlled to provide logic and automated functions.
  • Hydraulic fuses
    Fuse (hydraulic)
    In hydraulic systems, a fuse is a component which prevents the sudden loss of hydraulic fluid pressure. It is a safety feature, designed to allow systems to continue operating, or at least to not fail catastrophically, in the event of a system breach...

    are in-line safety devices designed to automatically seal off a hydraulic line if pressure becomes too low, or safely vent fluid if pressure becomes too high.
  • Auxiliary valves in complex hydraulic systems may have auxiliary valve blocks to handle various duties unseen to the operator, such as accumulator charging, cooling fan operation, air conditioning power, etc. They are usually custom valves designed for the particular machine, and may consist of a metal block with ports and channels drilled. Cartridge valves are threaded into the ports and may be electrically controlled by switches or a microprocessor to route fluid power as needed.


  • Hydraulic cylinder
    Hydraulic cylinder
    A Hydraulic cylinder is a mechanical actuator that is used to give a unidirectional force through a unidirectional stroke. It has many applications, notably in engineering vehicles.- Operation :...

  • Swashplate
    A swashplate is a device used in mechanical engineering to translate the motion of a rotating shaft into reciprocating motion, or to translate a reciprocating motion into a rotating one to replace the crankshaft in engine designs.- Construction :...

    s are used in 'hydraulic motors' requiring highly accurate control and also in 'no stop' continuous (360o) precision positioning mechanisms. These are frequently driven by several hydraulic pistons acting in sequence.
  • Hydraulic motor
    Hydraulic motor
    A hydraulic motor is a mechanical actuator that converts hydraulic pressure and flow into torque and angular displacement . The hydraulic motor is the rotary counterpart of the hydraulic cylinder....

     (a pump plumbed in reverse)
  • hydrostatic transmission
  • Brakes


The hydraulic fluid reservoir holds excess hydraulic fluid to accommodate volume changes from: cylinder extension and contraction, temperature driven expansion and contraction, and leaks. The reservoir is also designed to aid in separation of air from the fluid and also work as a heat accumulator to cover losses in the system when peak power is used. Design engineers are always pressured to reduce the size of hydraulic reservoirs, while equipment operators always appreciate larger reservoirs. Reservoirs can also help separate dirt and other particulate from the oil, as the particulate will generally settle to the bottom of the tank.

Some designs include dynamic flow channels on the fluid's return path that allow for a smaller reservoir.


Hydraulic accumulator
A 'hydraulic accumulator' is an energy storage device. It is a pressure storage reservoir in which a non-compressible hydraulic fluid is held under pressure by an external source. That external source can be a spring, a raised weight, or a compressed gas...

s are a common part of hydraulic machinery. Their function is to store energy by using pressurized gas. One type is a tube with a floating piston. On one side of the piston is a charge of pressurized gas, and on the other side is the fluid. Bladders are used in other designs. Reservoirs store a system's fluid.

Examples of accumulator uses are backup power for steering or brakes, or to act as a shock absorber for the hydraulic circuit.

Hydraulic fluid

Also known as tractor fluid, hydraulic fluid is the life of the hydraulic circuit. It is usually petroleum oil with various additives. Some hydraulic machines require fire resistant fluids, depending on their applications. In some factories where food is prepared, either an edible oil or water is used as a working fluid for health and safety reasons.

In addition to transferring energy, hydraulic fluid needs to lubricate
Lubrication is the process, or technique employed to reduce wear of one or both surfaces in close proximity, and moving relative to each another, by interposing a substance called lubricant between the surfaces to carry or to help carry the load between the opposing surfaces. The interposed...

 components, suspend contaminants and metal filings for transport to the filter, and to function well to several hundred degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius.


Filters are an important part of hydraulic systems. Metal particles are continually produced by mechanical components and need to be removed along with other contaminants.

Filters may be positioned in many locations. The filter may be located between the reservoir and the pump intake. Blockage of the filter will cause cavitation
Cavitation is the formation and then immediate implosion of cavities in a liquidi.e. small liquid-free zones that are the consequence of forces acting upon the liquid...

 and possibly failure of the pump. Sometimes the filter is located between the pump and the control valves. This arrangement is more expensive, since the filter housing is pressurized, but eliminates cavitation problems and protects the control valve from pump failures. The third common filter location is just before the return line enters the reservoir. This location is relatively insensitive to blockage and does not require a pressurized housing, but contaminants that enter the reservoir from external sources are not filtered until passing through the system at least once.

Tubes, pipes and hoses

Hydraulic tubes are seamless steel precision pipes, specially manufactured for hydraulics. The tubes have standard sizes for different pressure ranges, with standard diameters up to 100 mm. The tubes are supplied by manufacturers in lengths of 6 m, cleaned, oiled and plugged. The tubes are interconnected by different types of flanges (especially for the larger sizes and pressures), welding cones/nipples (with o-ring seal), several types of flare connection and by cut-rings. In larger sizes, hydraulic pipes are used. Direct joining of tubes by welding is not acceptable since the interior cannot be inspected.

Hydraulic pipe
Pipe (material)
A pipe is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can flow — liquids and gases , slurries, powders, masses of small solids...

is used in case standard hydraulic tubes are not available. Generally these are used for low pressure. They can be connected by threaded connections, but usually by welds. Because of the larger diameters the pipe can usually be inspected internally after welding. Black pipe is non-galvanized
Galvanization is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron, in order to prevent rusting. The term is derived from the name of Italian scientist Luigi Galvani....

 and suitable for welding
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes...


Hydraulic hose
Hose (tubing)
A hose is a hollow tube designed to carry fluids from one location to another. Hoses are also sometimes called pipes , or more generally tubing...

is graded by pressure, temperature, and fluid compatibility. Hoses are used when pipes or tubes can not be used, usually to provide flexibility for machine operation or maintenance. The hose is built up with rubber and steel layers. A rubber interior is surrounded by multiple layers of woven wire and rubber. The exterior is designed for abrasion resistance. The bend radius of hydraulic hose is carefully designed into the machine, since hose failures can be deadly, and violating the hose's minimum bend radius will cause failure. Hydraulic hoses generally have steel fittings swaged on the ends. The weakest part of the high pressure hose is the connection of the hose to the fitting. Another disadvantage of hoses is the shorter life of rubber which requires periodic replacement, usually at five to seven year intervals.

Tubes and pipes for hydraulic applications are internally oiled before the system is commissioned. Usually steel piping is painted outside. Where flare and other couplings are used, the paint is removed under the nut, and is a location where corrosion can begin. For this reason, in marine applications most piping is stainless steel.

Seals, fittings and connections

In general, valve
A valve is a device that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways. Valves are technically pipe fittings, but are usually discussed as a separate category...

s, cylinders
Cylinder (engine)
A cylinder is the central working part of a reciprocating engine or pump, the space in which a piston travels. Multiple cylinders are commonly arranged side by side in a bank, or engine block, which is typically cast from aluminum or cast iron before receiving precision machine work...

 and pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

s have female
Gender of connectors and fasteners
In electrical and mechanical trades and manufacturing, each half of a pair of mating connectors or fasteners is conventionally assigned the designation male or female...

 threaded bosses for the fluid connection, and hoses have female ends with captive nuts. A male-male fitting is chosen to connect the two. Many standardized systems are in use.

Fittings serve several purposes;
  1. To bridge different standards; O-ring boss
    O-ring boss seal
    An O-Ring boss seal is a technique for joining two fluid-carrying pipes, hoses or tubing. In an o-ring boss system, a male threaded part is inserted into a female threaded part, providing a mechanical seal...

     to JIC
    JIC fitting
    JIC fittings, defined by the SAE J514 and MIL-F-18866 standards, are a type of flare fitting machined with a 37-degree flare seating surface.  JIC fittings are widely used in fuel delivery and fluid power applications, especially where extremely high pressure is involved.  The SAE J514...

    , or pipe threads
    Threaded pipe
    A threaded pipe is a pipe with screw-threaded ends for assembly.- Tapered threads :The threaded pipes used in some plumbing installations for the delivery of gases or fluids under pressure have a threaded section that is slightly conical . This is called a "tapered thread"...

     to face seal
    Face seal
    A face seal is a seal in which the sealing surfaces are normal to the axis of the seal. Face seals are typically used in static application and are used to prevent leakage in the radial direction with respect to the axis of the seal...

    , for example.
  2. To allow proper orientation of components, a 90°, 45°, straight, or swivel fitting is chosen as needed. They are designed to be positioned in the correct orientation and then tightened.
  3. To incorporate bulkhead hardware.
  4. A quick disconnect fitting may be added to a machine without modification of hoses or valves

A typical piece of heavy equipment may have thousands of sealed connection points and several different types:
  • Pipe fittings
    Compression fitting
    Compression fittings are used in plumbing and electrical conduit systems to join two tubes or thin-walled pipes together. In instances where two pipes made of dissimilar materials are to be joined , the fittings will also be made of one or more compatible materials appropriate for the connection...

    , the fitting is screwed in until tight, difficult to orient an angled fitting correctly without over or under tightening.
  • O-ring boss, the fitting is screwed into a boss and orientated as needed, an additional nut tightens the fitting, washer and o-ring
    An O-ring, also known as a packing, or a toric joint, is a mechanical gasket in the shape of a torus; it is a loop of elastomer with a disc-shaped cross-section, designed to be seated in a groove and compressed during assembly between two or more parts, creating a seal at the interface.The O-ring...

     in place.
  • Flare fitting
    Flare fitting
    Flare fittings are a type of compression fitting used with metal tubing, usually soft steel and ductile copper, though other materials are also used.  Tube flaring is considered to be a type of forging operation, and is usually a cold working procedure.  During assembly, a flare nut is...

    s, are metal to metal compression seals deformed with a cone nut and pressed into a flare mating.
  • Face seal, metal flanges with a groove and o-ring are fastened together.
  • Beam seals are costly metal to metal seals used primarily in aircraft.
  • Swage
    Swaging is a forging process in which the dimensions of an item are altered using a die or dies, into which the item is forced. Swaging is usually a cold working process; however, it is sometimes done as a hot working process....

    d seals, tubes are connected with fittings that are swaged permanently in place. Primarily used in aircraft.

Elastomeric seals (O-ring boss and face seal) are the most common types of seals in heavy equipment and are capable of reliably sealing 6000+ psi (40+ MPa) of fluid pressure.

Basic calculations

Hydraulic power is defined as flow times pressure. The hydraulic power supplied by a pump:
Power = (P x Q) ÷ 600

where power is in kilowatts [kW], P pressure in bars, and Q is the flow in liters per minute. For example, a pump delivers 180 lit/min and the pressure equals 250 bar, therefore the power of the pump is 75 kW.

When calculating the power input to the pump, the total pump efficiency ηtotal must be included. This efficiency is the product of volumetric efficiency, ηvol and the hydromechanical efficiency, ηhm.
Power input = Power output ÷ ηtotal. The average for axial piston pumps, ηtotal = 0.87. In the example the power source, for example a diesel engine or an electric motor, must be capable of delivering at least 75 ÷ 0.87 = 86 [kW]. The hydraulic motors and cylinders that the pump supplies with hydraulic power also have efficiencies and the total system efficiency (without including the pressure drop in the hydraulic pipes and valves) will end up at approx. 0.75. Cylinders normally have a total efficiency around 0.95 while hydraulic axial piston motors 0.87, the same as the pump. In general the power loss in a hydraulic energy transmission is thus around 25% or more at ideal viscosity range 25-35 [cSt].

Calculation of the required max. power output for the diesel engine, rough estimation:

(1) Check the max. powerpoint, i.e. the point where pressure times flow reach the max. value.

(2) Ediesel = (Pmax·Qtotη.

Qtot = calculate with the theoretical pump flow for the consumers not including leakages at max. power point.

Pmax = actual pump pressure at max. power point.

Note: η is the total efficiency = (output mechanical power ÷ input mechanical power). For rough estimations, η = 0.75. Add 10-20% (depends on the application) to this power value.

(3) Calculate the required pumpdisplacement from required max. sum of flow for the consumers in worst case and the diesel engine rpm in this point. The max. flow can differ from the flow used for calculation of the diesel engine power. Pump volumetric efficiency average, piston pumps: ηvol= 0.93.

Pumpdisplacement Vpump= Qtot ÷ ndiesel ÷ 0.93.

(4) Calculation of prel. cooler capacity: Heat dissipation from hydraulic oil tanks, valves, pipes and hydraulic components is less than a few percent in standard mobile equipment and the cooler capacity must include some margins.
Minimum cooler capacity, Ecooler = 0.25Ediesel

At least 25% of the input power must be dissipated by the cooler when peak power is utilized for long periods. In normal case however, the peak power is used for only short periods, thus the actual cooler capacity required might be considerably less. The oil volume in the hydraulic tank is also acting as a heat accumulator when peak power is used. The system efficiency is very much dependent on the type of hydraulic work tool equipment, the hydraulic pumps and motors used and power input to the hydraulics may vary a lot. Each circuit must be evaluated and the load cycle estimated. New or modified systems must always be tested in practical work, covering all possible load cycles. An easy way of measuring the actual average power loss in the system is to equip the machine with a test cooler and measure the oil temperature at cooler inlet, oil temperature at cooler outlet and the oil flow through the cooler, when the machine is in normal operating mode. From these figures the test cooler power dissipation can be calculated and this is equal to the power loss when temperatures are stabilized. From this test the actual required cooler can be calculated to reach specified oil temperature in the oil tank. One problem can be to assemble the measuring equipment inline, especially the oil flow meter.


Hydraulic transmission has existed since antiquity. Practical applications originate with hydraulic power networks during the 19th century, transmitting water from a steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

. Hydraulic transmissions with hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluid
Hydraulic fluids, also called hydraulic liquids, are the medium by which power is transferred in hydraulic machinery. Common hydraulic fluids are based on mineral oil or water...

s were later adopted to internal-combustion engines. Hydraulic brake
Hydraulic brake
The hydraulic brake is an arrangement of braking mechanism which uses brake fluid, typically containing ethylene glycol, to transfer pressure from the controlling unit, which is usually near the operator of the vehicle, to the actual brake mechanism, which is usually at or near the wheel of the...

s came around in 1918.

See also

  • Automatic transmission
    Automatic transmission
    An automatic transmission is one type of motor vehicle transmission that can automatically change gear ratios as the vehicle moves, freeing the driver from having to shift gears manually...

  • Brake fluid
    Brake fluid
    Brake fluid is a type of hydraulic fluid used in hydraulic brake and hydraulic clutch applications in automobiles, motorcycles, light trucks, and some bicycles. It is used to transfer force into pressure...

  • High-density solids pump
  • Hydraulic brake
    Hydraulic brake
    The hydraulic brake is an arrangement of braking mechanism which uses brake fluid, typically containing ethylene glycol, to transfer pressure from the controlling unit, which is usually near the operator of the vehicle, to the actual brake mechanism, which is usually at or near the wheel of the...

  • Hydraulic drive system
    Hydraulic drive system
    A hydraulic drive system is a drive or transmission system that uses pressurized hydraulic fluid to drive hydraulic machinery. The term hydrostatic refers to the transfer of energy from flow and pressure, not from the kinetic energy of the flow....

  • National Fluid Power Association
    National Fluid Power Association
    The National Fluid Power Association is a 5016 trade association founded in 1955. Members include more than 315 manufacturers of fluid power systems and components, fluid power distributors, suppliers to the fluid power industry, educators and researchers...

  • Sidelifter

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.