The Pros and Cons of Hydraulic Systems
A hydraulic system transmits power by using pressurised fluid. This simple principle has a variety of practical applications, including car brakes, lifts, hydraulic jacks, and construction machinery. Manufacturers of machines still prefer hydraulics over other systems because it has many advantages. Apart from the simplicity of operation, hydraulics is also convenient and readily available.

How does a hydraulic system work?
The main component of a hydraulic system is the pressurised fluid used to produce power. Whether it is an integrated hydraulic system or compact Hydraulic Power Packs, the same mechanism facilitates the system’s function. Since pressurised liquid transfers equal pressure regardless of direction, any force applied on one point transfers to another point. Increasing the area of the pressurised liquid also increases the amount of power produced.

Applications of hydraulic systems
Most people use hydraulic systems in their daily lives without even noticing. A car brake is a typical example of a hydraulic system. For someone who works in the construction industry, hydraulic-powered machines are a common sight. There are excavators, bulldozers, and jackhammers often used in construction projects which all derive power from hydraulics.

What is most notable with hydraulic systems is that despite the size and magnitude of the machine, the working principle remains the same. The essential components of hydraulics are also consistent, regardless of configuration and design.

Advantages of hydraulic systems
There are many excellent reasons why hydraulic systems are widely used today.

• Easy control and manipulation. Hydraulic systems do not have complicated parts and controls. A simple lever or push button is typically used to turn the system on or off. The simple operation makes it quicker for an operator to learn how to use a hydraulic machine. The ease of manipulation also increases accuracy and minimises errors.

• Multiply force efficiently. Since a hydraulic system has a simple operating principle, it is also easier to increase the energy required for the load.

• Consistent torque and force. The fluid system used in hydraulics is capable of maintaining constant power and torque, even when subjected to varying speeds.

• Economical and safe. Hydraulic systems have fewer moving parts, making it a more reliable source of power, especially in heavy equipment. It is also less expensive and requires minimal maintenance.

Hydraulic systems are also intrinsically safe and ideal for various industrial applications such as in mines and chemical plants.

Drawbacks of using hydraulic systems
Despite the many advantages of using hydraulic systems, there are also some drawbacks to consider. One of the reasons why hydraulic systems are not ideal in some applications is that hydraulic fluid tends to leak and create a mess. In some instances, fluid leaks may cause accidents or ignite a fire. Depending on the type of liquid used, prolonged exposure may lead to some health problems. There are also corrosive hydraulic fluids which may damage the equipment.

Indeed, hydraulic systems have many practical applications. But, before deciding whether a hydraulic system is the best option for the intended use, you need to study the pros and cons extensively.

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