How Hydraulic Pumps & Motors Work Together

a hydraulics system is a type of drive technology in which a fluid is used to transfer energy from an electric motor and then into an actuator. The major components of a hydraulics system are the pump, actuator (motor), valve, and reservoir.

In this article, we’re going to cover hydraulic pumps and motors, and how these two specific components work together in a hydraulics system. Let’s start with hydraulic pumps.

Function of a Hydraulic Pump

Simply put, a hydraulic pump is a device that changes mechanical energy into hydraulic energy. Hydraulic drive systems utilize certain types of hydraulic pumps to overcome loads.

An example of this at play is a hydraulic drive system (like one found in an excavator) lifting up a car. The majority of heavy construction vehicles utilize a hydraulic pump inside of a hydraulic system.

However, there are smaller hydraulic pumps that power a variety of different hydraulic tools. Cutting tools, pressing machines, and hydraulic saws are just a few tools that are powered by hydraulic pumps.

How Is a Hydraulic Pump Different From a Regular Pump?

The main difference between a hydraulic pump and a regular pump is that a regular pump maintains a constant flow of fluid, whereas a hydraulic pump has a fluid flow. Additionally, the functions of these two pumps differ; a hydraulic pump overcomes pressure from a load, while a regular pump provides continuous transfer and flow of fluid.

Next, let’s discuss hydraulic motors.

Function of a Hydraulic Motor

A hydraulic motor is a rotary actuator, or rotating shaft; its main purpose is converting hydraulic energy into mechanical energy. This actuator is responsible for providing the motion and the force to move a load. Its pressure drop and flow are what determine the power that it generates. As a result, this means that the power output of the hydraulic motor is directly proportional to the speed of the motor.

Categories of Motors

Hydraulic motors come in two types: low-speed and high-torque (LSHT), and high-speed and low-torque (HSLT).

If you go with a low-speed hydraulic motor, then you get a motor that is capable of generating a large amount of torque at low speeds. Within these categories, there are different types including gear, vane, and piston, the latter of which can be divided further into axial-piston and radial-piston.

Now that you understand the function of each component, let’s look at how hydraulic pumps and motors work together.

Powering the System: Hydraulic Pumps & Motors in Action

First, the hydraulic pump takes the mechanical force it receives from the prime mover and converts it into fluid energy. This fluid energy takes the form of oil flow.

After this, the hydraulic motor takes the fluid energy that the pump created, and turns that fluid energy into mechanical energy.

The motor has to do this so that the system has the mechanical energy necessary to do the work. Some applications of hydraulics systems in everyday life include elevators, gasoline pumps, and amusement park rides.

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