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The Hydraulic System Made Easy with Anchor Fluid Power

hose school | Posted: 1/19/2022

Hydraulic systems are all around you and you may not even realize it. The power steering in your car, the forklift whizzing by you at work, or the large backhoe ripping up the road in front of your house are all run with the assistance of a hydraulic system.

How Hydraulic Systems Work

You may be wondering how a tiny pump is going to create enough force to lift a 1000-pound object. This happens through the hydraulic transfer of power. This graphic shows that one piston is 10X the size of the other, but through the transfer of force you can put 100lbs onto one piston and the other will lift 10X that amount. So, using hydraulics to lift the heavyweight, you will need to exert less force but over a larger distance. This is how you are able to lift heavy objects with minimal force.

Anchor Fluid Power Valves

Hydraulic System Components

The hydraulic system is made up of five components:

  1. The first is the reservoir. This contains the fluid used in the system most often being hydraulic fluid.
  2. The pump. This takes the hydraulic fluid from the reservoir and pressurizes it, sending it to the control valve.
  3. The control valve then controls the direction of the fluid sending it either to the cylinder and extending it, or sending it back to the reservoir.
  4. The cylinder is the slave of the system. It extends or contracts depending on what side of the piston the pressure is applied to.
  5. Last is the plumbing, these are the components that are used to join the reservoir pump control valve and cylinder all together so the hydraulic system operates properly.

Types of Hydraulic Valves and How They Work

Valves are needed to regulate the hydraulic fluid, and more than a simple on and off switch can do. This is where Anchor Fluid Power comes in. The first valve you typically run into in a hydraulic system is the check valve. This valve would connect to the plumbing between the pump and the cylinder. Its primary function is to allow the hydraulic fluid to flow one way.

Anchor Fluid Power Valves

When the pump is turned on, the system starts to apply pressure to the metal ball this eventually pushes back on the spring and opens up the valve. This valve is a one-way design, which means fluid can only flow in one direction. When the pressure on the ball subsides, it returns back to its resting place sealing the valve once again. Valves can come in either 7 PSI or 65 PSI(PSI is the amount of pressure needed to open the valve). Besides requiring a certain amount of pressure to open the valve, the PSI rating also affects the position or height of the cylinder. Meaning that when the pump is shut off and the fluid pressure goes down, it will take less time for the spring to push the ball back into place allowing less time for the fluid to escape and your cylinder to lower.

Next is the needle valve. Just like the check valve, this one sits in the system, but rather than restricting the flow of fluid in the system to one direction, this valve’s primary function is to limit the flow of fluid coming from either direction. A needle valve uses a tapered pin to gradually open a space for fine control of the flow rate. The flow rate can be controlled and regulated with the use of a spindle. When the knob is screwed down into the valve, it limits the amount of fluid that gets through. This is helpful when you have a cylinder that you want to raise gradually. If you had unrestricted flow fill up the cylinder, it would extend or shoot your object up at an uncontrolled rate compared to if you had limited the amount of fluid flowing into it. The major difference between the needle valve compared to the check valve is that it restricts the flow in both directions.

The next valve is the flow control valve, it combines properties of both the check and the needle valve. When fluid runs through the valve, it initially has to run into the needle valve, where its flow is limited, allowing it to fill up the cylinder in a controlled manner. When the cylinder is then lowered, rather than the fluid being limited in its flow, when enough pressure is built up the fluid is pushed on the ball which allows the fluid to move freely and unrestricted back to the reservoir.

About Hydraulic Ball Valves

Anchor Fluid Power Valves
Anchor Fluid Power Valve

When it comes to ball valves, there are two types: Two-way and three-way. The two-way valve only has two ports which means that you can either open this valve and have your fluid run through or you can completely seal it off and block the flow. You would use this type of valve on either end of the components in your hydraulic system so that if a problem arises in your pump, you can cut off all flow into that area and replace it without having to take apart your whole system. Basically, a two-way valve makes maintaining and repairing individual aspects of your system easier.

three-way valve features three ports. Rather than completely stopping the flow of a system, the three-way port can divert the flow of fluid to another cylinder when maintenance is required. This allows you to bypass the cylinder rather than shutting down the entire system. There are two versions of this valve, the AE3, and the AE3K. The difference between the two is that the AE3K is a “true” three-way ball valve meaning any port on it may be pressurized and when it is sealed off, it is able to withstand the pressure of the fluid pushing on its sealed port. As opposed to the AE3 where just the center port can be pressurized.

Another version of this valve is both two and three-way ball valves in an excavator style. The main difference is that an excavator-style ball is specifically made for use on excavators. You can weld this valve on and it can withstand temperatures up to 145°C which is critical as this machine could be used for hours at a time, creating a lot of heat within the system. These valves are also handle-less as the handle can become a liability out in the field if it were to be bumped or moved by an uninformed employee or other machinery.

With all of that being said, always remember to consult an engineer when looking to replace or add a valve to your hydraulic system as these contain high pressured fluid and safety should be your number one priority. If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to contact us here and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list so you can stay up to date with things happening here at

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