Within a hydraulic system, there are three main different types of hydraulic controls which all perform a different function, and keep the whole system operating as efficiently as possible. These three hydraulic controls are directional controls, pressure controls and flow controls, all of which have a specific purpose within the larger hydraulic structure, and are generally self explanatory – directional, as suggested by it’s name, controls the direction of the hydraulic fluid, pressure controls monitor the pressure and flow controls manage the flow of the fluid. All three types of controls are vital in the smooth operation and performance of all hydraulic components, and the system as a whole.
The first hydraulic control to be addressed is the directional control. These can come in the form of valves which can control the direction in which the hydraulic medium moves. These are often referred to as switching valves, as they can switch the direction quickly. The performance of these hydraulic controls depends on the power limit, the resistance to flow and the switching time. Leakage also affects directional control, as the volume of the hydraulic liquid is significantly reduce and calculations become incorrect. Different directional controls are able to operate at different pressures and almost all boast limited leakage, long product life and superior sealing.
Pressure controls can change the pressure within the tubing or piping of a hydraulic system. They usually do so at a predetermined pressure setting which is manually entered by the operators. The change in pressure can occur either gradually or suddenly, and there are many different reasons why the pressure of the system may need to be changed. Sometimes, pressure becomes too high for the system to handle and hydraulic controls are necessary to relieve some of this pressure from the tubing into the tank, to prevent any leakages or bursting. Pressure reduction is another reason why these hydraulic controls are useful, and produce the same outcome as pressure relieving – however this limits the input pressure instead of increasing the output pressure. Similarly, if the pressure within the system is too low, it may not operate as efficiently as it should, and so pressure controls can be used to increase pressure to keep it operating well.
Flow controls are the third and final type of hydraulic controls. These manage the flow of the hydraulic liquid by decreasing or increasing the opening of the throttling point, which helps determine the speed of the hydraulic fluid. The flow controls help the hydraulic system to continuously operate at constant speeds, ensuring the efficiency and speed of performance.