Hydraulic power supplies

18 August 2022

The heart of a hydraulic system is the hydraulic power supply. The quality of this system is crucial to the operation of the system. What are the system’s main parts and how does it work? Read more to find out all about the hydraulic power supplies!

What is a hydraulic power supply?

Hydraulic power supplies are designed to convert electrical or chemical energy into hydraulic energy. The pump is typically powered by rotary motion, which causes the fluid to move within its system. The energy is therefore converted results high force output and ensuring constant operation.

This fluid is most often a special type of oil (but can also be a mixture of water and oil), which is stored in the tank, from where the liquid is pumped out and returned to the machine during operation. Its function is not only to store but also to dissipate unwanted heat energy.

The energy is converted into the pumping unit. A clutch is used to transmit the rotary motion of the motor to the pump, which sucks the fluid out and delivers it to the consumer unit via the control unit. The motor-pump unit can be installed in the machine in three different ways: fully surrounded by the liquid, submerged, or separated.

The control unit regulates the flow rate and pressure generated by the pump. There are so-called directional valves, which determine the direction of the flow, and throttle valves which increase or decrease the flow. Shut-off valves are also part of the system, which retain the liquid, and pressure valves that regulate the pressure. The control unit also includes sensors and switches, such as pressure gauges, pressure switches, flow rate sensors and temperature sensors.

The flow rate and pressure can be stored in the accumulator, which can be used to compensate for unwanted pressure peaks. The pressurised gas can flow into the pressurised gas tank. It is otherwise separated by a piston or a membrane. If the pressure increases, the gas contracts, and the liquid flows in; if it decreases, the gas expands and forces the liquid out of the container.

The hydraulic system has screw connections, piping, and hoses. The connections must have pipes that are pressurised and pipes that are not so that the circulation can take place smoothly.

As in all industrial situations, safety must be a priority. There are many devices to prevent accidents and faults, such as ventilation filters, suction filters, temperature controllers, level controllers and heat exchangers.

Hydraulic power supplies can be face-plate, which is recommended for more complex and sophisticated systems. It may also have a high tank, in which case the pumping units are located under the supply unit for space-saving purposes.

The range of applications for a hydraulic power supply is wide. It is broadly used in hoists, tooling machines, injection moulding machines, log splitters, baling machines, simulator handling, mining machinery, lifting equipment, crop, and manure spreaders, and presses.


No matter how carefully a system is designed and assembled, maintenance and upgrading are essential from time to time. This minimises the risk of failure and the risk of loss of revenue due to downtime. Modern technology also plays an important role in condition assessment and monitoring. Digitalisation can help optimise operations and increase the lifetime of machines.

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