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Technical information


System Design

There is obviously little point in discussing the design of a system that has operated satisfactorily for a period of time. However, some complex procedures such as the relocation of a system or change a component can cause problems. For these reasons, the following should be considered.

  • Each component of a system must be compatible and form an integral part of the system. For example, a filter format inappropriate to the pump inlet will cause cavitation, and subsequently damage the pump.
  • All lines must be of good size and free of restrictive curves. A line of undersized or having restrictive curves will cause a pressure drop across the line.
  • Some components must be mounted in a specific position relative to other components or lines. The frame of a pump for example, must always be filled with fluid to provide lubrication.
  • The addition of points of pressure reading is not essential for the operation, but will decrease the time to research problems.

Knowing the system

Probably the best aid to research problems is knowledge of the system. The construction and operating characteristics of each system should be well understood. For example, save considerable time in locating a faulty solenoid, knowing that a directional valve controlled by a solenoid can be activated manually.

Other methods that facilitate the understanding of the system, and possibly the life of this follow:

  • Knowing the system's ability.

Each system component has either a maximum rate of speed, torque or pressure. Load the system beyond these specifications simply increases the possibility of failure and reduces the useful life of the system.

  • Knowing the correct operating pressures.

Always check and adjust the pressure using a gauge. How else do you know if the operating pressure is above the maximum pressure system components? If the correct operating pressures are not clearly marked on the water plan, the following rules should apply: The correct operating pressure is the minimum pressure that will allow adequate performance of the system and at the same time, remain below maximum specifications of system components. When the correct pressure has been established, the note on hydraulic plans for future reference.

  • Knowing the correct signal levels, feedback and adjustments of servo control system.

If not specified, the check when the system is working properly and the note on hydraulic plans for future reference.

Developing systematic procedures

Analyze the system and develop a logical sequence for adjusting valves, mechanical stops, the entrebarrages and electrical controls. Tracing the paths of flow rates can often be accomplished by listening for the flow in the lines, or feel for heat.

Develop a guide to finding problems with causes and effects. The initial time spent on such project can save hours when the system is under arrest for breach.

Recognize the signs of problems


The ability to recognize signs of problems in a specific system usually comes with experience. However, some general issues can be discussed.

  • Excessive heat is synonymous malfunction. A coupling misaligned puts an excessive load on the bearings and can be quickly identified by the heat generated. A return line to the tank on a "relief valve" warmer than normal indicates an operation running on the valve adjustment.

Hydraulic fluids which have low viscosity increases the possibilities of leakage of internal components and increased heat will result. Cavitation or pump that slides, also generates heat.

  • Excessive noise means wear, misalignment, cavitation, or air that seeps into the fluid. A contaminated fluid may block the drawer safety valve "relief valve". Excessive noise may be the result of dirty filters, dirty fluid, high viscosity of the fluid, speeding the order, low reservoir inlet lines loose, or worn couplings.


Three simple maintenance procedures have the greatest effect on performance, efficiency and life of a hydraulic system. The simplicity of these procedures may be the reason for their forgetfulness. What are they?

  • Maintain clean enough hydraulic fluid of the correct type and good viscosity.
  • Change filters and clean the "strainers".


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