Basic Components of Hydraulic System

Hydraulic system which is also known as fluid power system is a power system in which transmission of power takes place through a fluid medium.
Layout of Hydraulic system
Layout of Hydraulic system

The major advantage of this system is that, it avoids the mechanical linkages such as pulleys, gears, ropes, belts. The transmission of power through this system is most convenient and highly efficient.
A hydraulic system has following basic components :

  • Prime mover
  • Pump
  • Control valves
  • Actuators
  • Piping system
  • Working medium i.e. Fluid.
In addition to these components, there are few supporting components for the proper functioning of the system.

  • Filters
  • Strainers
  • Storage tank
  • Heat exchanger
  • Pressure guages
  • Sensors
  • Control devices
  • Accumulators
Each of these components performs their specific function to run the system efficiently.
So let us see the description of the basic components of hydraulic systems.

1. Prime mover :

Prime mover is a device that produces mechanical power. It could be any power producing device like an IC Engine, a turbine or an electric motor. According to the application, typical type of prime mover is selected.

2. Pump :

Pump is driven by the prime mover. Pump is used to pressurize the fluid. Pressure so obtained is of the order of several thousands.

3. Control valves :

High pressure fluid supplied by the pump is required to be supplied for the various components of the system. Hence to control the flow of pressurized fluid control valves are used.
Control valves can be classified as :
  1. Pressure control valve
  2. Flow control valve
  3. Direction control Valve
As the name suggests, these control valves controls their respective parameters.
Pressure control valve controls or we can say limits the pressure flowing through the systems.
Direction control valve controls the direction of the flow by diverting the flow of fluid.
Flow control valve controls the flow and thereby controlling the speed of motion of the actuator.

4. Actuators :

Actuators are called the muscles of the system. They provide motion to the desired parts of the system.
Generally, actuators convert pressurized fluid power into mechanical energy.
Actuators may be of linear type or rotary type.
Linear type actuators consists of single acting or double acting cylinders, telescopic cylinders, etc.
Rotary type actuators consist of hydraulic or pneumatic motor etc.

5. Piping System :

Piping system is like the blood vessel of the hydraulic system. It carries the fluid which is to be supplied to the various parts of the system.
Similar to the fluid supply to various components, return fluid is also carried by the piping system to the reservoir.
Due to high pressures, extreme care should be taken while designing of the pipes.

6. Fluid :

Hydraulic oil is the working fluid of the hydraulic system. 
Hydraulic fluid used in the system has to perform following functions :
  • Transmitting power
  • Moving parts
  • Sealing gaps
  • Heat dissipation.
Hydraulic fluids can be broadly classified in three categories as :
  1. Petroleum based fluids.
  2. Water based fluids.
  3. Synthetic based fluids.
In this chapter we are not discussing about the fluids, so we are not providing brief description about types of hydraulic fluid.
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Sujit Kadus

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