Basic Components of Hydraulic System

A hydraulic system which is also known as a fluid power system is a power system in which transmission of power takes place through a fluid medium. In this post, we are going to discuss the basic components of Hydraulic system.

Basic Components of hydraulic system
The layout of the Hydraulic system

The major advantage of this system is that it avoids mechanical linkages such as pulleys, gears, ropes, belts. The transmission of power through this system is most convenient and highly efficient.

Basic components of Hydraulic System

A hydraulic system has the following basic components

  1. Prime mover
  2. Pump
  3. Control valves
  4. Actuators
  5. Piping system
  6. Working medium i.e. Fluid.

In addition to these components, there are a few supporting components for the proper functioning of the system.

  • Filters
  • Strainers
  • Storage tank
  • Heat exchanger
  • Pressure gauges
  • Sensors
  • Control devices
  • Accumulators

Each of these components performs its specific function to run the system efficiently. So let us see the description of the basic components of hydraulic systems.

Prime mover

A 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, the typical type of prime mover is selected.


The hydraulic pump is the heart of the hydraulic system. Its function is to convert mechanical energy into hydraulic energy by pushing hydraulic fluid into the system.
The hydraulic pump is driven by the prime mover. The pump is used to pressurize the fluid. Pressure so obtained is of the order of several thousand.
There are different types of hydraulic pumps

  1. Gear Pump
  2. Vane Pump
  3. Piston Pump
  4. Screw Pump

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 control their respective parameters.
Pressure control valve controls or we can say limit the pressure flowing through the systems.
The direction control valve controls the direction of the flow by diverting the flow of fluid.
The flow control valve controls the flow and thereby controlling the speed of motion of the actuator.


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 the linear type or rotary type.
Linear type actuators consist of
  • Single acting plunger type cylinder
  • Single acting single rod type cylinder
  • Double acting single rod cylinder
  • Double acting double rod cylinder
  • Tandem cylinder
  • Telescopic cylinders
Rotary type actuators consist of hydraulic motors or pneumatic motors etc.

Piping System

The 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 the pipes. Oil leakage is the major problem in hydraulic systems and mostly it happens in the pipes. Hence, care should be taken while selecting the hydraulic pipes.


Hydraulic oil is the working fluid of the hydraulic system.
The hydraulic fluid used in the system has to perform the following functions :
  • Transmitting power
  • Moving parts
  • Sealing gaps
  • Heat dissipation.
Hydraulic fluids can be broadly classified into three categories:
  1. Petroleum-based fluids.
  2. Water-based fluids.
  3. Synthetic-based fluids.

In this topic we are not discussing the fluids, so we are not providing a brief description of types of hydraulic fluid.

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