Hydraulic systems can be found in countless applications ranging from aircraft to industrial machinery, allowing for high amounts of power to be generated for various means. Hydraulics rely on the pressurization of enclosed fluids, those of which optimally transfer loads due to their incompressible nature. To circulate fluids within a system and to guarantee high pressure for hydraulic actuator elements, hydraulic systems take advantage of hydraulic pump components.
Depending on one’s needs and the various characteristics of the system in question, there are a few common hydraulic pump types that one may use. These include the gear pump, piston pump, and rotary-vane pump, each of which features different elements and capabilities which may benefit a diverse set of needs. To help you better understand the use of each, we will detail their design and functionalities.
Gear pumps are fairly simplistic in their construction, containing a low amount of moving parts in their assembly outside of two intermeshing gears. Gear pumps are useful when a constant flow rate is needed, and they will generally operate between a pressure range of 50 to 210 bar. For their speeds, gear pumps are known as the fastest option as their operations can reach upwards of 6000 rotations per minute (RPM). Gear pumps have the advantage of being fairly inexpensive and are fixed-displacement, though their volumetric efficiency is low.
There are two subtypes of gear pumps that one may take advantage of, those of which are external- and internal-gear pumps. External-gear pumps are assemblies where the drive gear is the only gear wheel to be connected to the drive, while the driven gear revolves in an opposing direction for the means of interlocking. Internal-gear pumps, on the other hand, feature an eccentric internal gear and a crown gear. As the crown gear rotates, volume is produced so that fluids may be moved when the wheels are disengaged.
Hydraulic piston pumps are a type that is great for handling large flows with high pressures, and their operations rely on pistons that constantly move back and forth. With ample sealing, piston pumps are also able to prevent any chance of leaking while operating with very high pressures. Generally, the advantages of the piston pump are its volumetric efficiency and pressures that far surpasses other types, reliability, high power density, and variety of subtypes.
The rotary-vane pump is one that has rectangular vanes that are mounted onto the rotor’s radial grooves, and this supports their movements. As compared to gear pumps, rotary-vane pumps exhibit improved volumetric efficiency, and they operate with a low amount of noise. Rotary-vane pumps may be procured in either variable or fixed-displacement models, the variable displacement model allowing for flow rates to be reduced to control energy consumption. Despite their advantages, rotary-vane pumps are pricier than their gear pump counterparts, and they are known for being fragile as a result of discharge pressure causing bending stress.
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