Imagine a world without hydraulic power, where manual lifting and handling, wedges, pulleys, inclined planes coupled with high temperatures would be the order of the day? what would this would be like?

Hydraulic systems working principle is based on Pascal’s Law. Which states that Pressure is equal to Force acting per unit Area. Hydraulics is basically a science of power transmission of applying force on a confined fluid to do work. Previously water was used as a hydraulic fluid however today the most commonly used hydraulic fluids are petroleum oils which are slightly compressible but transmit power steadily, oils also have a great advantage as its serves as a lubricant for the hydraulic system.
According to pascals law, pressure that is created in a confined fluid is transmitted undiminished in all directions while acting with equal force on equal areas at right angles to them. Hydraulic systems apply this principle to operate.

Irrespective of the application, hydraulic systems have six major components:
1. A reservoir that holds the fluid – hydraulic oil
2. Pump that forces the fluid through the system
3. A motor the drives the hydraulic pump
4. Valves which control the fluid direction, pressure and the flow rates, i.e. the relief values, directional valves
5. An actuator either a cylinder or motor that converts the fluid pressure into mechanical force that does work
6. Hoses/piping that the fluid travels in from one location to another.

We find hydraulic applications almost everywhere in our daily interactions. You can talk about mobile or industrial hydraulics, they are everywhere. The manufacturing plants, transport systems, heavy lifting equipment i.e. at the ports, building and construction, household appliances etc. are all powered through hydraulics.

The hydraulic press commonly found in the industries is one example of an application of the hydraulic principle. Here a small force applied on a small area is multiplied to a bigger force on a large area, its that result bigger force that balances the bigger force downward force due to the weight of the load applied. The hydraulic press is also known as a Bramah press having been invented by a British Mechanical Engineer by the name Joseph Bramah.

Car Hydraulic brakes is another application example here the small force applied on the brake pedal which has small area, the resultant pressure is transmitted thought the brake fluid undiminished, when this pressure acts on the brake piston that has a bigger area the effect is a resultant bigger force that brings the car to a stop.

Hydraulic Elevator. Some elevators apply the hydraulic principle. Basically, this system would consist of a reservoir, a pump, valve, cylinder and a piston. In operation, the pump forces the hydraulic oil from the reservoir into a cylinder that is connected to a valve that controls the flow of the hydraulic fluid. For the elevator car to go up the valve closes hence the fluid goes into the cylinder creating pressure that pushes the piston causing the hydraulic arm to raise the elevator car to the next floor and when the valve opens fluid rushes out of the cylinder back to the reservoir and this action is enables the elevator car slowly and safely come down.

Hydraulic Cranes also applies hydraulic power. The cranes consist of chains that are hydraulically controlled to lift or lower heavy loads and even move them horizontally transporting them form one place to another. The hydraulic arm holds the lifted load in position before being loaded on to awaiting equipment or vessel or being lowered down.

The above are just but a brief description of hydraulics being a part of our lives and the listing below gives you the other applications but a just a few:
i) Construction equipment such as excavators, forklifts, trucks that use hydraulic power to lift or lower materials
ii Aircrafts use the hydraulic principle to operate their control systems
iii) Vehicle maintenance. Hydraulic systems used allow the heavy vehicles to be lifted and lowered during servicing
iv) Barber Chair. The pedal the barber steps on to lower or raise the chair uses a hydraulic application
v) Dish water that uses hydraulic power to increase the water pressure one feature of these type of dish washers is that they make less noise.

The list of mobile and industrial hydraulics applications is endless; factories that produce vehicle parts, door accessories and many more. This numerous application, especially in the industries and different economy segments, underscore the need of having a well-equipped maintenance team that understand the underlying principles of hydraulics and hydraulic circuitry as this is crucial in troubleshooting and maintenance of these systems which in turn guarantees the availability of the equipment, performance, productivity and most importantly safety.

Practical skill-based training gives you the understanding of the fundamental principles in hydraulic and this coupled with on-job learning enhances your troubleshooting and problem-solving skills required for proper and efficient maintenance of hydraulic systems.

Sign up for the upcoming basic hydraulic training taking place from 16th -20th September 2019 at the Viscar Training Centre here.

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