Hydraulics define certain industries, from construction to assembly line tasks. Fluid under pressure gives life to countless machines. With this in mind, it may sound extraordinary that most people don’t understand their hydraulic systems. These workhorses make heavy-duty tasks possible and efficient for everyday production.
Before you encounter another hydraulic system, take some time out to understand the basics surrounding their use and troubleshooting procedures. There’s an amazing science behind pressurized fluid.
1. It’s Not Always the Pump’s Fault
Understanding how a hydraulic system works means that you should be familiar with the basic parts.
Each system has at least one of these components, such as:
- Hydraulic fluid
Because these systems depend on precise pressures to create mechanical energy, breakdowns aren’t uncommon. As a user or technician, repair issues are to be expected. However, people who’re unfamiliar with the systems can swap out the wrong part.
Remind yourself during a future, troubleshooting session that a breakdown isn’t always the hydraulic pump’s fault. This component offers fluid flow and not pressure.
Lack of pressure is one of the most common issues that plagues a hydraulic system. There are a number of parts that should be examined if you suddenly experience low pressure, such as:
- Loose valve fittings
- Slipped o-rings
- Malfunctioning hoses
A solid troubleshooter might swap out several components and see what works for the system. Blindly selecting the pump as the culprit may lead to further problems as issues continue to mount from the real, declining parts.
2. Allow the Professionals to Adjust the System
It’s a fact that many systems run with a PSI of 2,000 or higher. These extreme pressures are possible because of the quality components and adjustments made to them. Issues arise, however, when someone tries to “tweak” the parts to operate in a slightly different manner.
Always have an experienced, hydraulic employee on hand for any minor adjustments. You may believe that a simple turn of a knob couldn’t be harmful, but tiny changes are all that it takes for these conditions to occur, including:
- Leaking fittings
- Overheated fluid
- Component damages
If you notice that the hydraulic pump seems to be struggling, don’t adjust the flow. You can inadvertently alter the system’s entire operations, which leads to breakdowns.
Shutting down the system for a short duration is much more appealing to business owners compared to an unexpected delay. Most businesses rely heavily on their hydraulics to generate profits.
Remember that you might have multiple hoses supplying one valve block and pump. Examine these areas and report possible issues. A dedicated technician takes this information and moves forward with a swift resolution.
3. Schematic Details are Important Clues
Your hydraulic pump and associated components have multiple valves that serve different purposes. From a casual glance, the valves all look the same. Take a closer look, however, and you’ll notice that the valves might have these features, including:
- Solenoid controlled
- Four way
- Two positions
A common, service issue involves bleeding the system. This term merely refers to the process of removing air from the hydraulic parts.
Technicians use schematics to find the best location for the bleeding process. Every valve is also featured on these schematics. Valves simply control the flow of fluid to different locations. You’ll know exactly how that valve operates and its corresponding part number when you reference the schematics.
If you ever need to swap a valve out, pay careful attention to the part number. A single, digit difference can create major problems for the system. Keep the schematics handy as well. Knowing how the system is configured will help during troubleshooting processes.
Hydraulics can be complex systems to understand at first. Get familiar with the components so that the next, troubleshooting session moves rapidly to completion. Strong pressure in your pump, valves and hoses will contribute to a productive workday. As always, our team at Motion & Flow Control Products, Inc.is always happy to answer your questions.