Hydraulic pumps are tasked with converting mechanical power into fluid energy inside a framework of metal tubes and flexible hoses. As they address this errand, hydraulic valves govern pump action by employing inlet checks. Directional by design, the valves located in and around this pump deserve their own fifteen minutes of fame, right?
Hydraulic Valves: Check Valves in Hydraulic Pumps
This is a directional controller, so fluid only flows in one direction. Reverse flow is not possible, which is why this device is often found installed alongside reciprocating pumps. The prime mover engages pistons, the check input opens, and flow is established. Actually, there’s also an outlet check valve, so full reciprocating action generates near pulse-free fluid motion.
Interpreting Valve Designs
Unlike a one-way electronic diode, hydraulic valves aren’t constricted by microscopic form factors. Instead, there are poppet and seat valves. Discs are used in some variants while plungers and balls smartly close off directional flow in other forms. The human heart, for example, has 4 valves, all of which work directionally and in concert to push blood. Hydraulic valves in hydraulic pumps are similarly essential, so each reseated poppet or disc must work with leak-free efficiency.
Governing and Protecting Pump Mechanisms
If directional valves govern the actions of pumps, then pump relief valves double-down on this process by engaging an extra layer of safety into the mechanism. A pressure relief valve operates like a fuse or circuit breaker when an overload event is detected. System-damaging pressure spikes are handled quickly by this device. They’re dumped into the storage tank only when an emergency occurs. Meanwhile, governing duties are passed from the check valves onto a series of flow control and splitter controllers. Three and five-way devices reduce flow or split the fluid off into separate lines. The latter function enables discrete subsystems to run independently of the main fluid artery.
Crucially, hydraulic valves in hydraulic pumps maintain a stable relationship between the inlet port and the outlet. The vacuum created by this partnership produces a pulseless flow from every piston-generated cycle. This latter function is based in part on the type of pump, but a check valve (unidirectional) will be required by most pump types if the initial vacuum is to be properly developed. Supplemental to this arrangement but no less important, a series of relief valves, throttling mechanisms, splitters, and flow controllers ensure the right flow conditions are maintained all the way to the actuators.
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