Power circuits like hydraulics and pneumatics share some similar ways of using a fluid to channel mechanical energy. Some of their processes, terminologies, and even components are somehow similar. However, one key difference between the two is in the medium utilised to transmit power.
Hydraulics use relatively incompressible liquid media like mineral oil, water, and other high-temperature fire-resistant fluids in transmitting power. Pneumatics, on the other hand, use easily compressible gas like or pure gas. But in providing efficient, smooth, and more reliable operation, the installation of accumulators can help both the hydraulics and pneumatics.
Functions of Accumulators
As mentioned, accumulators are installed in hydraulic and pneumatic pumps for the sole purpose of improving their efficiency and performance. Additionally, they are also utilised to store emergency power if ever an electrical failure occurs. This stored energy can also be used whenever the pumps need to consume energy greater than what could be given to them alone.
Aside from storing energy, accumulators can also effectively absorb surge or pulsation. They can cushion hydraulic hammer, reduce shocks caused by rapid operation or sudden starting, and stop power cylinders in a hydraulic circuit. The release of small volumes of fluid can also be done by accumulators, which helps in maintaining reliable operations.
When the accumulators are sized and precharged properly, they go through a cycle of three stages. One of the stages includes the opening of system relief, the entry of maximum fluid, and the system pressure exceeding the precharge pressure. The dropping of system pressure and the precharge pressure forcing fluid from the accumulator and into the system also happens in this cycle. Another stage on the cycle is the system pressure reaching the needed minimum capacity to do work.
One element that is very important in an accumulator is the precharge pressure. It usually determines the remaining fluid in the accumulator at minimum system pressure. In a correct precharge, the accumulator’s gas side is accurately filled with a dry inert gas while no hydraulic fluid is found in the fluid side. The charging of the accumulator begins when hydraulic fluid is transferred into the fluid side and will only occur at a pressure greater than the precharge pressure. The gas is normally compressed during the charging process so that enough energy is stored.
Maintenance of Accumulators
Precharge pressure is crucial in maintaining and prolonging the life of accumulators. So, precharging must be done correctly, especially with some specific type of accumulator.
Gas pressure and relief valve settings that are carelessly adjusted can shorten your accumulator’s service life. The same thing will happen if you adjust system pressures without making corresponding adjustments to precharge pressure. Choosing the wrong type of accumulator for your pump can also affect the performance of your entire unit.
Luckily, accumulator charging and testing services can be done by professionals. At Mobile Hydraulic Specialties, we can help you with proper servicing and maintenance of the accumulator on any given pumps. We are dedicated to the sales, service, design, and installation of mobile and industrial systems, components, and accessories for both hydraulic and pneumatic applications.
Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173
Phone: (03) 9798-6511
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