How does a hydraulic system work?

It may seem easy to understand, a hydraulic system uses fluid to provide fluid power. But what exactly does that mean? Power Team SA, one of South Africa’s leading hydraulic suppliers, breaks down exactly how a hydraulic system works.

What components are needed for a hydraulic system

To build a hydraulic system the following hydraulic components are needed:

  • A reservoir to hold the hydraulic fluid
  • A hydraulic pump to move the liquid through the system and convert the mechanical energy and motion in hydraulic fluid
  • An electric motor to power the hydraulic pump
  • Valves to control the flow of the liquid and relieve excessive pressure from the system when needed
  • A hydraulic cylinder to convert the hydraulic energy back into mechanical energy

There are different types of hydraulic systems, however they are all designed in the same way and need these six components in order to work.

How does an hydraulic system works?

The basics behind how an hydraulic system works is primarily based on the fluid. The fluid within the system has pressure placed on it from one side. This pressure then forces the fluid against a piston on the other side of the container which transfers the energy into the piston, forcing it upward to lift something. Because the fluid is unable to flow backwards, the piston will not be able to move in the opposite direction until the pressure is released. This is why when hydraulics is used within equipment that can lift something, such as a forklift, the item will remain secure until the system’s operator allows it to be released.

Within the system the pump pushes the hydraulic fluid through the system creating fluid power. The fluid passes through the valves and flows to the cylinder where the hydraulic energy is converted back into mechanical energy.

Where are hydraulic systems used?

Hydraulic systems are used in various pieces of equipment from cars, mining vehicles, NASA equipment and construction equipment. Hydraulic equipment is most often used to lift or move heavy loads as it can generate a great deal of power. The idea behind hydraulics is very simple, but it has been built upon by engineers through the decades to provide us with the machinery we have today.

Power Team SA understands the power behind hydraulic equipment and as a supplier of quality hydraulic equipment, knows that having the best parts and components is important to get the job done correctly. Power Team SA are on hand to provide you with professional and expert advice when needed.