How Does A Hydraulic Pump Work?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A tractor, log splitter and assembly line have a lot in common. They all use hydraulics to operate. The term “hydraulic” simply means that a liquid is used to move an item. This lofty idea makes industrial work possible. One of the core parts to a hydraulic system is the pump. Here we break down the details that make a hydraulic pump possible. Its invention is a wonder to construction and manufacturing companies around the world.

Why Hydraulics are Necessary

You hear a lot about hydraulics in this modern world. It would be virtually impossible to complete or create certain projects without a hydraulic pump and its accessories. These compact parts are able to force heavy objects into place with great precision and control.

Hydraulics are necessary for assembly equipment, construction machines, farming devices and many more products, reports the Tractor Supply Company. The hydraulic pump is at the heart of any system.

Basic Parts of the Pumping System

How does a hydraulic pump work? It needs these components to effectively move a heavy object:

  • Hydraulic fluid
  • Valves
  • Pump
  • Reservoir
  • Hoses
  • Motor

A reservoir supplies the fluid that will be drawn into the pump. Hydraulic pumps form a vacuum with their mechanical action in order to move the liquid in and out of their housings.

A Parker hydraulic pump essentially uses physics in order to move the fluid instead of generating any kind of a force. The pump might use these internal parts, such as:

  • Pistons
  • Lobes
  • Vanes
  • Gears

There are many different pumps, including non-positive-displacement and positive-displacement models. Each type serves a specific purpose.

Simple Flow Action

A pump works when it has a hydraulic pump motor attached to it. This device starts the fluid’s movement. When the motor activates, it energizes the pump. It begins its action by forcing the liquid to move into the pump and exiting through the outlet side. Simple changes in atmospheric pressure rather than generated forces are the power in the hydraulic system.

The mechanical parts within the Parker hydraulic pump will keep the liquid flow moving in the proper direction. This entire process reverses when it’s time for the fluid to enter the reservoir once again.

Understanding the Two-Stage Pump

For many simple systems, a double acting hydraulic pump is put into action. Consider the basic movement of a log splitter, suggests How Stuff Works. A piston must force the machine to split a log while moving the mechanism back from the wood in order to complete the activity.

During the splitting action, the pump gives a lot of pressure to the piston. It releases this pressure as the activity ceases. Many mechanisms need this type of pump, so you’ll see two-stage designs in several industries. The pump simply alters the flow rate and subsequent pressures within the system to perform a job.

Knowing How Air Affects the System

Because a pump relies on the liquid’s flow rate to generate action, any air trapped within the hydraulics is an issue. Air bubbles within the pump creates unbalanced pressure being transferred to the pistons. It’s possible for a mechanism to weaken or outright fail with air in the pump.

How does a hydraulic pump work? It operates when the system remains closed to air bubbles. Bleed out the air if there’s maintenance performed on the pump. Be observant about operational anomalies. Any air creates issues within the hydraulics.

Caring for the Pump

Care for the pump by keeping the fluid clean. Keep up with filter replacements and system maintenance. Don’t force the pump to operate outside of its specifications. If it’s struggling, there’s a reason why the pump isn’t properly functioning.

Check on the internal pressure whenever necessary. The pump can withstand a lot of pressure, but it has its limits. Overheating fluid and suspended particles will quickly cause a pump to break down.

Take fluid samples, and test them for water molecules and air. Clean fluid gives the pump a chance to live a long life on any machine.

Hydraulics can be complex systems, but we can help break down the basics for you. Get your systems moving with a reliable pump by your side!