Hydraulic power units, also known as hydraulic power packs, are systems that may create rotary motion, linear motion, or force through the use of enclosed and pressurized fluids. Hydraulic power units are self-contained, such systems comprising a motor, pump, and fluid reservoir. With the use of their assembly and fluids, pressure may be generated for driving parts.
While a standard pump may be fairly simple in its operation, hydraulic power units take advantage of multi-stage pressurization networks for the transfer of fluids. Hydraulic power units will often vary in their capabilities based on their limitations, those being pressure limits, reservoir volume, and power capacity. They can also be affected by size, the strength of their motor pumps, and their power supply. As standard operations are determined by their mechanical characteristics and specifications, it can be beneficial to familiarize oneself with the basic components that make up such systems for the means of ensuring that the unit is fit for a given application.
While hydraulic power packs may vary in their performance and design, most share common features that enable their standard operations. Accumulator components are often attached to the actuators of the hydraulic system, coming in the form of containers that draw water from the pumping mechanism for the means of maintaining a supply for fluid pressure. As a supplement to the motor pumps, the accumulator ensures that the system functions as intended. Depending upon the application and design of the unit, one or more motor pumps may be implemented. In systems with multiple pumps, it is typical for a single unit to operate at a given time.
As hydraulic fluids drain from the pumps, they will enter a large tank for storage. Actuator fluids are also stored in the tank as well during various operations. On top of the tank is a filter, that of which is an advanced assembly consisting of a bypass unit, motor, pump, and filter. With the use of a multi-directional valve, the filter is capable of filling or emptying the tank as required. As such assemblies are self-contained, filters may be replaced when needed, even when the hydraulic power unit is still in operation.
Managing fluid temperatures is highly beneficial for more optimal operating characteristics, coolers and heaters often being present within the system. Air coolers are typically situated around the filter unit, removing heat from fluids to protect the hydraulic system. The oil-based heater, meanwhile, is tasked with heating fluids as necessary when they become too cool for operations. Hydraulic power units also rely on power unit controllers for functionality, such devices featuring power switches, displays, and monitoring elements. Power unit controllers are typically wired to the hydraulic system itself, serving as a necessary element of operations.
The motor of the unit often must be chosen based on the requirements of the system or application, and general system factors to consider include speed, power capacity, and torque. The power source of the motor is also quite important as gasoline, diesel, and electric motors all vary in their operational characteristics and capabilities. Electric motors are known for achieving high initial torque, while gasoline and diesel types exhibit a more even torque-to-speed curve. Generally, gasoline or diesel motors should feature a power rating that is double the equivalent electrical system to properly benefit a hydraulic power pack. Horsepower, gallons per minute, pressure, and mechanical pumping efficiency also are all parameters that affect general performance. A helpful way to find a fitting motor is to determine the root square means and maximum torque of a given unit and cross-reference them with a motor manufacturer’s performance chart.
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