Many systems today rely on hydraulics to perform different tasks. Unlike mechanical systems which need solid components to move other components, hydraulics relies on fluids and the force generated by them.
Whatís so special about hydraulics, especially since the same results, more or less, can be achieved through mechanical, electrical and pneumatic systems? The answer lies in the strength of fluids and how they can turn a relatively weak pump or similar component into one that generates force many times the original amount.
Pros of hydraulic systems
Fluids flow smoothly and this feature is applied to systems and heavy equipment. The force generated by hydraulics produces very smooth movement which is invaluable in applications where jerky motions cannot be tolerated.
A second feature of such a system is load-bearing capacity. Unlike pneumatic systems that rely on compressed gas, hydraulics is able to bear much heavier weights as itís incompressible. It does it smoothly too, something pneumatic systems canít achieve as the air pressure alters with cylinder movement and load changes. Moreover, the amount of force required to generate the same produced by a hydraulic system is much more. This can translate into higher expenses as larger and more powerful components carry heftier price tags.
In terms of energy, hydraulics uses a lot less when compared to others like pneumatic systems. Heat loss is also less which means not much energy is used to generate the required force. Since such systems are typically used in large scale applications in settings like factories and plants, it becomes important to cut corners without compromising quality and production volume. Hydraulics allows this while combining all the other benefits mentioned above.
Cons of hydraulics
Where there are several benefits to using hydraulics there are also cons. This shouldnít be a deterrent but should rather give us an understanding of what to expect.
Since hydraulics relies on fluids, thereís a chance of leakage. Not only does this reduce the efficiency and power of the system but it causes a mess. Since many systems and components require clean environments and surroundings, thereís a chance that the leaking fluid may cause damage and fire hazards. Bear in mind, however, that since this is a known fact, steps are always taken to ensure that accidents donít occur. The hydraulic systems themselves are designed in such a way that they pose little danger to you and to components even during leakage.
The fluid used in these systems must be clean as contaminants can clog pipes. However, itís possible that pollutants can enter in which case efficacy can be reduced. The environment or setting must, therefore, follow strict sanitary standards during all points of the manufacturing process.
Like all systems, hydraulics has its benefits and drawbacks. But at a time where bulky components are beginning to be edged out in favour of smaller and more efficient systems, hydraulics trumps. Pneumatic and electrical-based machines and components work well too but they require a higher source of power or larger pumps to generate the same amount of force given out by a hydraulic system. For manufacturers and users requiring such high output, itís more cost-effective to rely on hydraulics. Production time is reduced as efficiency maintains a high average.
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