Hydraulic systems are found everywhere — in industrial settings, vehicles, construction equipment, and buildings. All types of industries rely on hydraulic systems, including manufacturing, logging, steel processing, and paper mills. Hydraulics, which involves systems that use a pressurized fluid to perform tasks — is an efficient, cost-effective means to move equipment or parts repetitively.
Liquid fuel is surprisingly powerful. A pressure is applied to a contained fluid at a certain point, and that pressure is transmitted onto all parts of the containing vessel, thereby creating power. This force enables operators to lift heavy loads and accomplish otherwise difficult repetitive tasks.
The type of hydraulic system used in an industry depends on the task. Here are some examples:
In troubleshooting hydraulic systems, experts recommend starting with the basics, which means remembering that most hydraulic issues are due to problems with pressure or volume. The technician should always refer to the fundamental laws of hydraulics, such as these:
As mentioned above, most hydraulic issues can be divided into two categories: pressure or volume. When pressure is too low to operate the machine properly, you’ve got a malfunction. For instance, if the pressure needed to machine a part is insufficient to perform the task, then the technician must determine why the speed is insufficient, and whether the speed is too low because of pressure drop or a volume issue.
Say a press requires 3,500 pounds per square inch (psi) to machine a part or compress a board, but the pressure only builds to 2,500 psi. If the issue is speed related, then a volume problem is most likely occurring. This means that either the pump is not delivering the required amount of oil or a bypassing is occurring somewhere in the system.
Sometimes equipment works intermittently, which can be difficult to track down. A loose wire, for instance, might be a common cause for this problem. A technician might notice the blinking of a power supply light and then infer that the motor was stopping due to a volume problem.
The best way to train your team in the troubleshooting techniques discussed above is through formal training. Colleges and vocational schools offer programs that can help your key employees absorb the basic skills they will need to diagnose a wide range of malfunctions and typical problems with hydraulic systems. Formal training can also teach employees how to maintenance can prevent small repairs from becoming major breakdowns by catching a malfunction early. Training in principles of hydraulics, and the following topics, will help the technician accurately diagnose problems and effect repairs in minimal time:
In addition, a training should offer the student a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on lab exercises in a variety of topics, including meter-in and meter-out flow control, bleed-off flow control; two-speed control, sequencing circuit and sequencing with flow control, remote pilot sequence valve, and pilot-operated relief.
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