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Basic Hydraulics

For today’s capital equipment to work, it needs highly maintained ingredients. Thanks to the invention of hydraulics, this kind of substance is not only used in construction but also to other forms of applied science and engineering.


Hydraulic oil ranks high among fluids with multi-function capability. Hydraulic oil does serve as an energy-transmission medium, heat-transfer medium, sealant, and lubricant as it powers buckets, blades, and breakers, for example, or propels hydrostatically driven machines, or actuates multi-disc clutches and brakes.


To meet the requirements of these varied applications, hydraulic oil’s formulations are numerous.


According to Dan Silverman, Operations Manager of Axis Capital Group, a company which sells and rents capital equipment in Singapore, Jakarta, Indonesia and other neighboring countries in Asia, there is a wide variety of hydraulic fluid available in the market that even fraudsters had invested in it. Not all fluids are created equally in terms of performance or intended application.


When referring to this broad range of formulations, the term hydraulic “fluid” is a more encompassing term than hydraulic “oil.” Also, for this discussion, “hydraulic fluid” refers to products marketed as such, although other types of fluids—engine oil, universal tractor transmission oil, and automatic transmission fluid, for instance—often are specified for hydraulic applications.


According to reviews conducted by Construction Equipment Inc., hydraulic fluid is composed of a base fluid and additives, with the base fluid typically constituting 98-plus percent of the formulation. The exact formulation requires balancing the characteristics of the base fluid and the additive package to achieve optimum performance in an intended application.


Fundamentals of the formulation involve the quality of the base fluid, as well as the selection of specific additives, which can include anti-oxidants, anti-wear and anti-foam agents, demulsifiers/emulsifiers (to control water), rust/corrosion inhibitors, and, when required, viscosity-index improvers.


Fluids have changed as hydraulic systems have become more compact and operate at higher temperatures and pressures. Most are now formulated with API Group II and Group III oils, which have better oxidation resistance and better thermal stability.


Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. In fluid power, hydraulics is used for the generation, control, and transmission of power by the use of pressurized liquids.


The integration of hydraulics in today’s machines is now developing as many more systems are being put into process. More and more, the formulation will be used in more than engineering and applied sciences.