Hydraulic pumps are vital to the operations of all hydraulic drives. These pumps help create a vacuum at the pump inlet that will allow atmospheric pressure to force liquid into the inlet line to the pump. Additionally, they also assist in delivering the said liquid to the pump outlet and forcing it into the hydraulic drives. All these processes are generated through the mechanical action of the hydraulic pumps.
Contrary to popular belief, hydraulic pumps do not generate pressure. Instead, they generate liquid movement or flow that is needed to develop pressure. Once the pressure is developed, it is subsequently delivered by the hydraulic fluid to certain components such as cylinders, actuators, and hydraulic motors at a certain pressure level and volume.
To effectively direct the flow of a liquid medium, hydraulic pumps maximise the functionality of control valves. With the correct size and type of control valves, the intended purpose of the hydraulic pumps will be met easily. Some of the most common types of control valves for hydraulic pumps are the following:
Directional Control Valves
Directional control valves are intended to transfer the pressure medium in a specific direction. They can effectively control the start, stop, and change in the flow direction of a pressure medium. They also allow the pressure medium to flow into various paths from one or more sources. These control valves are mostly comprised of a spool inside a cylinder that is either mechanically or electrically actuated. Some types of these valves include directional poppet valves, directional spool valves, and others.
Pressure Control Valves
Pressure control valves, on the other hand, can switch at a predetermined pressure setting so that the operations of the hydraulic pumps remain safe. The switching process of these valves may occur either gradually with the variable throttle or suddenly with a fixed one. They can help keep the pressure of the system within the safe operation limit and maintain a set pressure in a specific circuit. This type of control valve can be further categorised into relief, reducing, sequence, counterbalance, and unloading.
Flow Control Valves
The main purpose of using flow control valves is to effectively regulate the flow or pressure of a specific portion of a fluid in a hydraulic circuit. These valves can help control the flow rate to motors and cylinders, which then regulate the speed of these mentioned components. They can either decrease or increase the opening at the throttling point so that the flow can be regulated right away. Flow control valves may come in pressure compensated valves and throttle valves.
Proportional Control Valves
The opening of the flow with proportional control valves can be produced proportionally to the electric signal within the system, instead of letting the flow gradually. These valves can control compressed air, gas, liquid, and vacuum, making them versatile and adaptable. Proportional control valves are also known for their resistance to vibration and can be mounted at any orientation. Some types of proportional control valves include proportional directional, proportional pressure, and proportional flow control valves.
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