How to Maintain the Efficiency of Hydraulic Accumulators

Blog | October 17th, 2019

Hydraulic accumulators function like compact fluid batteries. In electronics terms, they’re capacitors or energy storage units. They store fluid energy, in other words. When they work as they’re designed to, remote system energies keep heavy mechanical assemblies moving responsively. However, if a hydraulic accumulator operates inefficiently, those moving parts become unresponsive. They move, but the motion is sluggish. Clearly, especially in mobile hydraulics gear, accumulator efficiency is an important matter.

Troubleshooting Hydraulic Accumulator Losses

The problem won’t be found in the device’s material build. Remember, their seamless cylindrical housings are made from high-grade stainless steels, from titanium and carbon fibre composites, too. That’s a necessary design feature for a device that’s expected to store massive amounts of fluid pressure. Inside the cylinder, that’s where the issue is causing problems. Having realized that important fact, let’s take this opportunity to list the available types of accumulator architectures:

  • Bladder type design
  • Piston type
  • Diaphragm accumulator


At any rate, it’s not a long list. With the bladder variant, one side of the sack is filled with an inert gas. Thanks to this design feature, bladder models are incredibly responsive, which is probably why they’re so popular. Unfortunately, the gas filling procedure can go wrong. If the gas charge process is poorly regulated, the gaseous pressure will embrittle the bladder’s internal components. To avoid this and other charging headaches, the nitrogen must be admitted to the accumulator chamber slowly.

Regarding Piston and Diaphragm Accumulator Shortcomings Gas is the troublemaker again, at least that’s the case with diaphragm and bladder models. If the chilled gas permeates a low-quality flex-material within the cylindrical housing, then the stored charge won’t be released efficiently when it’s needed. Consequently, equipment responsiveness issues will arise. As for the piston type, even without a flexible bladder, high-pressure pistons perform sluggishly when the fluid stored in the piston chamber is contaminated. Purely mechanical hydraulic accumulators are essentially fluid-sensitive devices, so they must be filtered properly. Again, if the filter becomes clogged, all kinds of system inefficiency issues will propagate.

To start with, a maintenance engineer needs to identify the hydraulic accumulator type. There’s no use using a bladder-type diagnosis routine to fault-find a piston-type model, after all. After the inner workings are identified, the real troubleshooting process can begin. Looking at a piston model, are the inlet filters functioning? Is that fluid uncontaminated and fully cleaned? Likewise, with bladder models now under scrutiny, is the nitrogen gas properly charged? And remember, if that charging procedure is incautiously conducted, the chilled gaseous medium could embrittle the device’s internal workings.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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Contact Us

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Phone: (03) 9798-6511
Address: Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road, Keysborough, Victoria, 3173