Focusing once again on the mobile hydraulics sector, the moment has come to talk about equipment charging. Dynamically energizing the hydrostatic feed loop, a charge pump keeps the equipment responsive. After all, like it or not, hydraulic systems become less efficient as their circuits and circuit elements move away from the system’s prime charging unit. Consequently, a sound equipment charging solution will keep the gear’s closed loop nice and tight.
Reasons for Charging Correctly
Like a flagging muscle, a poorly charged hydraulic line functions like a tired limb. Equipment responsiveness is the cost here, so the charge pump must offset any and all system limitations. Moreover, fluid charging circuits tend to employ feedback controls, which ensure adequate “pushback” if the gear suffers from a performance-hindering system defect. Line leaks and actuator fatigue issues do develop over time, but a properly charged closed-loop will counteract such problems, at least for a time.
Keeping the Equipment Cool
The mechanical limbs of an excavator or crane are moving with maddening slowness because of the low charge. The gear lacks responsive control, plus it’s starting to overheat. Properly charged hydraulic circuits are, to use the musclebuilder’s term, “pumped up” with pure fluid power. If that powerhouse performance drops, then the fluid can’t act as a thermal conductor anymore. The oil can’t remove thermal energy and dissipate it elsewhere, so the equipment heats up and ages. Seals fail, the gear springs a leak, and hydrostatic efficiency sinks low.
A Marked Efficiency Drop-off
Pre-charged and smoothly operating, a system accumulator is performing at its optimized best. Charged improperly, the oil flows with pulsed irregularity. The flow/pressure reservoir for the servo motors and actuators move across their full span, but they do so jerkily. The various moving parts across the whole vehicle are also suffering, for the pumps and motors aren’t receiving sufficient hydrostatic lubrication. Unfortunately, although hydraulic equipment parts are amazingly strong, they are susceptible to fluid “knock-on” effects. If poorly or improperly charged, a whole slew of operational defects will crop up to stymy a frustrated operator.
The first thing a repair engineer learns is to always look for the obvious defect. If a computer technician sees a computer that’s not functioning, he checks for power first, not a damaged motherboard. And it’s the same with hydraulics equipment. If one or more of the above issues plague a mobile excavator, the repair engineer looks for charge issues first, not for a damaged pump or actuator. The clue’s in the area the fault is found within. Cropping up unpredictably throughout the equipment frame, a hydraulics charge issue is indicated.
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