Hydraulic systems can be thanked for both safety and ease of operation in our automobiles for the better part of the 20th and 21st centuries. Hydraulic systems began being used in power steering systems in 1927, multiplying the force we apply to the steering wheel and allowing for faster response time and more control. Hydraulic brakes originated in 1914 for racing cars, but the superiority of the brake disc response could not be denied and was quickly implemented in passenger cars. Hydraulic brakes transfer energy to stop the rotating axle with hyper-efficiency. When the brake pedal is pressed, a pushrod exerts force on the piston in the master cylinder, causing fluid from the reservoir to flow into a pressure chamber through a compensating port. This results in an increase in the pressure of the entire hydraulic system, forcing fluid through the hydraulic lines toward one or more calipers.
Hydraulic engineering is a sub-discipline of civil engineering concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids. Gravity is usually used as the motive force to propel fluids applicable to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, levees and sanitary and environmental engineering. Hydraulic engineering is the application of fluid mechanical principals to problems dealing with the collection, storage, control, transport, regulation, measurement and use of water. Civil engineers have to build dams, aqueducts, canals and other structures that come in contact with water. Take dams for example. The largest force on a dam is the water behind it. To calculate the force we have to know the hydraulics and how the height of water and other various factors effect where the force acts on the dam.
Hydraulic “muscles” are primarily used in industrial applications, but hydraulic systems are also used often to create special effects, motion for theme parks, museums and multi-media theater attractions. The 1976 remake of the motion picture King Kong relied heavily on electro-hydraulics. In the MGM remake, Jessica Lange is lifted up and held tightly by a giant hydraulic hand. A 6-foot, 10-inch wide hand to be specific, powerful enough to crush her if something went wrong. Fortunately, top-notch engineering was used to make sure that couldn’t happen. There are many benefits to using hydraulic technology for entertainment purposes. They are low-maintenance, need zero downtime, are high-powered and capable of heavy lifting, have excellent performance and repeating capabilities and low noise production.
Most high-performance robots built these days utilize hydraulic actuation. Several beneficial properties make hydraulics ideal for robotic applications. Hydraulic processes have a higher power-to-weight ratio, strengthening their capabilities. The hydraulic transmission is characterized by fluid and stiffer than electric drive transmissions (like a gear box), resulting in the ability to have higher closed-loop grains, greater accuracy, and better frequency response. Hydraulic actuators have the ability to convert hydraulic pressure and flow into torque, and rotation can be used when a large amount of force is needed. Despite their incredible capabilities, hydraulic actuators are mechanically very simple and allow for sturdy design against impacts and overload. Hydraulic valves guarantee high enough actuator bandwidth to achieve near-perfect torque control for dynamic locomotion of medium to large-scale robots. This provides legged robots with the compliance needed for legged locomotion by using a naturally very stiff actuation system. Another bonus: the hydraulic fluid serves also as the coolant for the actuators.
Hydraulic components are used in pumps, motors, valves, and electro-hydraulic hybrid systems all over the globe. Hydraulics provide the power source in excavators, cranes, fork lifts, agricultural machinery, and other special purpose vehicles. Hydraulic components are designed for operation in the most rigorous of operating conditions, offering precise control even in high power applications. In the 1960s, hydraulic excavators first became widely established and their pumps are required to provide the immense power source needed by earth moving machines. Hydraulic motors are then used to apply this power to enable the machines movement and various control valves to provide the operator with the precise feel and control required to undertake a wide range of tasks from delicate soil grading to rock breaking and demo work. Hydraulic Breakers and Crusher Jaw attachments are often used to break and crush difficult obstacles and they require both fast, powerful movement and the ability to occasionally provide highly controlled, smooth and slow application of force.
Hydraulics are the best power density solution for pumps, power units, and cylinders used in large civil projects and government applications for land systems and special technologies. Land systems applications specialize in mobile and stationary motion control solutions. This hydraulic specialization is especially useful for design and engineering services in military and commercial markets, including freight distribution, emergency rescue vehicles and equipment, and other subsystem technologies. Other uses in this field are numerable and include but are not limited to: fan and compensator drives, propel and auxiliary uses in robotics, hydrostatic drives, NBC protection system drives, winches, hydrostatic power units, deployable bridging systems, and electronics.
In machine tooling, precision and reliability cannot be jeopardized. Hydraulic systems provide multiple benefits in this specialized industry. Hydraulic equipment is efficient, long-lasting and requires very little maintenance. Hydraulics provide high-power density, dynamic performance, repeatability, and precision positioning. Other benefits are minimal power consumption, saving money over time and a high level of flexibility and reliable operation. Industrial hydraulics accelerate machine tool production by producing more tools faster and with greater precision. Hydraulics enable positioning with greater accuracy and offers true acceleration for lift, transfer and shuttle operations. Hydraulic equipment is available for machine tool applications in broaching, gear cutting, grinding, honing, lapping, machining centers, transfer machines, turning centers, friction welding, spin forming, waterjet cutting, and much more.
Demanding and fragile marine environments require safe and proven equipment. Hydraulic systems are designed to withstand harsh marine and offshore environments. Pumps, motors, valves, cylinders, manifolds, and hydraulic power units all need to be faultless and dependable in the offshore and marine industry. Marine and offshore experience includes heavy lifting and rig skidding systems, centralized hydraulic drives and controls for offshore rigs, pipe laying barges and dredges. Hydraulic solutions also offer innovative motion compensation systems. Hydraulic systems protect deck elements while deck mating. They also provide heave compensation in active, passive, linear and rotary solutions. Heave compensation systems should incorporate more dependable advanced hydraulic pumps, motors, valves, cylinders, manifolds and hydraulic power units. Hydraulic jacking systems are available for self-elevating platforms as well. Hydraulic equipment is also applicable for rig skidding, load out skidding, and modular and tailor-made concepts.
Hydraulic mining was originally a technique used by ancient Romans, using water to excavate soft underground deposits. This practice was honed and developed over time and became a primary method of mining for gold during the late 1800s in America. Today, hydraulic solutions are still used in mining and must be tough and dependable, able to withstand the harshest and most extreme conditions. Extracting resources from the earth for energy production and other uses requires powerful, long-lasting systems that won’t quit on the job. Cost-effectiveness, minimal maintenance and reliable safety performance means hydraulic equipment in mining is indispensable for mining purposes, where the slightest mistake can mean an epic catastrophe. Mining industry hydraulic applications include: continuous miners, surge and shuttle cars, tunneling machines, rail equipment, coil tubing injectors, nitrogen fracturing, cementing, ramping and blenders.
In dredging, pipe works play an essential role in ensuring stable operations. Complying with strict health, safety and environmental regulations is an integral part of every business. Increasing economic pressure can sometimes make this difficult. A well-functioning hydraulic installation can help ease these burdens. In order to ensure that all hydraulic systems are working correctly and operation-time is maximized, installed hydraulic piping systems are crucial and must be of high-quality. Aboard dredgers, hydraulic pipe work facilitates the constant release of oil to ensure that the system can cope with increasing loads and higher work pressure. The quality and cleanliness of hydraulic piping is essential to minimizing downtime and maximizing safety and efficiency.
Hydraulic systems and controls make plastics processing machinery safer, cleaner and the end-product more attractive. Hydraulic cylinders can be controlled with such high precision and are so effective, it has been demonstrated that no other mechanical concept can match it. Hydraulic equipment has a lot of inherent benefits for plastics processing: the machinery is quiet, the clean seals prevent leakage, and necessary positioning accuracy can be realized according to any requirement. The quality of the plastic produced verifies this. Hydraulic equipment saves energy by containing power peaks through accumulators with pressure limiting valves, preventing overload. Hydraulic systems also demonstrate the highest efficiency in power-density and take up the least amount of space.
A hydraulic generator transforms the hydraulic power of a working machine into high-quality electricity with the utmost efficiency. The electricity produced is suitable to power all electric equipment, small to large. When a working machine is equipped with a hydraulic generator, electric power will occur every time. Fully reliable start and independence from extra fuel are some of the valuable assets of a hydraulic generator. Hydraulic power generation systems are designed to minimize equipment costs by simplifying the configuration thereof. Hydraulic power generators are engineered for improved quality and reliability. Hydraulic manifold systems provide trouble-free performance while taking up a minimal amount of space. Other advantages include quickness, efficiency, system compatibility, and minimum downtime.
Hydraulic heavy presses are used to crush, straighten and mold metallic material. Hydraulic presses are used for almost all industrial purposes. Unlike their mechanical counterparts, hydraulic presses can fully compress any material. Furthermore, hydraulic presses take only half the space of mechanical presses because they can compress larger pressure in smaller cylinders. Heavy power presses are used in large industries that demand heavy machinery and equipment for purposes like crushing cars or even simple tasks that require excessive force like making cocoa powder. Hydraulic heavy presses reduce waste, increase output and deliver top-quality product every time. Heavy hydraulic presses can be used for many applications like: brake presses, shear presses, punch and die cutting systems, tube bending, end forming, compression molding, match plate and foundry molding and more.
Hydraulic applications in the pulp and paper business improve mill and line productivity and reduces wasted product. These benefits allow your business to be more flexible and responsive to market needs. Hydraulic filters and accessories reduce a broad range of contaminants to keep pulp and paper equipment running smoothly, resulting in efficient systems with superior performance. Protecting equipment, maintaining operative performance and staying efficient are all crucial to the pulp and paper industry. Hydraulic filters protect critical components. Pulp and paper mills are pump intensive facilities. By utilizing hydraulic equipment, pulp and paper companies can increase pumps' and systems' reliability, accurately determine pump performance, reduce life cycle costs and energy, decrease design costs and avoid miscommunication.
Industrial hydraulic applications are as diverse as the special machinery requirements they serve. Hydraulics provide innovative drive, motion, and control solutions for your business’s special machinery. Apply hydraulics to solve your industry’s machine challenges. Hydraulic applications are useful in car washes, food processing, railroad maintenance, packaging machinery, and concrete products manufacturing. Any industrial requirement you have can be alleviated with a wide variety of hydraulic applications. Hydraulics enable the operator to accomplish significant work with minimum investment in mechanical linkage.
Hydraulic testing machines are generally used to test metals and metal components at higher forces. Their ability to perform millions of static tests and fatigue cycles with little mechanical wear and tear makes the hydraulic testing machine well-suited for these testing applications. Because of their durability, hydraulic testing machines are also ideal for retrofitting. Electrohydraulic systems are perfect for testing aerospace equipment, structural components, fatigue limits and stimulation. Hydraulic products such as power units, accumulators, manifolds, proportional, and high response valves are crucial to building innovative test beds, which often include secondary hydraulic controls and regenerative circuits.
Hydraulic drive components have proven reliability under demanding conditions. Wind turbines that use hydraulic drivetrains, rather than the traditional mechanical parts, are lighter, more reliable, and less expensive to produce. Hydraulic drivetrains decouple torsional vibrations generated in the rotor hub from the generator, only one of the ways reliability is boosted. Some hydraulic systems eliminate the need for mechanical gear boxes. Consequently, the overall wind turbine mechanics are less complex and operational time improves. Hydraulic pumps also have less inertia than mechanical wind turbines, allowing the turbine to generate power in lighter winds. Therefore, such systems have lower operating costs overall.
Hydraulic equipment is well-suited to wood production as the machines have to undergo shock, vibration, extreme temperatures, and exposure to contaminants. Land clearing operations frequently process plant clippings, tree branches, and other debris by mulching. Hydraulic drives built into professional-grade mulchers deliver the high torque and dead-on speed control needed to quickly and efficiently turn such debris into a pile of mulch for composting, landscaping or other form of recycling. Log splitters are a prime example of the basic application of hydraulic power in action. If you have ever used one, you know that these machines still won’t tire long after your arms are exhausted from stacking.
With all we know about the efficiency, reliability and durability of hydraulic equipment, it comes as no surprise that the government, military and independent contractors that supply them use hydraulics in a multitude of applications. Military applications require precision engineering and innovative design. Hydraulic filtration solutions protect fixed-wing air craft, rotorcraft, military ground vehicles, electronic equipment, missiles, military shipboard systems and amphibious vehicles. Modern aircraft uses hydraulics in primary flight controls, flap/slat drives, landing gear, nose wheel steering, thrust reversers, and emergency hydraulic-driven electrical generators for example. Military aircraft also use hydraulics on gun drives, weapons-bay doors and hydraulic-motor-driven fan heat exchanges. Hydraulics are able to withstand temperature extremes, are lightweight, fast, reliable and quiet; elements that are essential in defense situations.