Hydraulic systems are the muscle behind many machines, from construction equipment to agricultural machinery. These systems live by the fact that fluid under pressure can be used to transmit force and motion. However, even the toughest muscles can tire and sag. Hydraulic systems can suffer from a problem known as leak down. Learn how to fix hydraulic leak down with Summit Hydraulics’ Double Piloted Check Valves!
In simple terms, hydraulic leak down represents a strong man holding a heavy object, only to let it slip as his grip weakens.
Understanding Hydraulic Leak Down
In simple terms, hydraulic leak down represents a strong man holding a heavy object, only to let it slip as his grip weakens. In hydraulics, this “grip” is the pressure that holds a load. When internal seals within the hydraulic cylinders or valves wear down or when the hydraulic fluid itself escapes through tiny gaps, the pressure that keeps the load in place lessens. As a result, the load may begin to sink or drift.
Imagine a tightly sealed syringe filled with water. If you pull the plunger back, the water stays in place, held by the vacuum you’ve created. But if there’s a tiny hole in the plunger’s seal, water will slowly leak back in. This causes the plunger will move forward. Hydraulic systems operate under similar principles, although with much more complexity and force. Over time, wear and tear can introduce tiny “holes” in a system’s seals, allowing pressure to escape and the system to fail to hold its load.
Hydraulic leak down isn’t just a maintenance issue. It’s a safety concern.
Training for Operators
Proper training for operators plays a crucial role in the prevention and early detection of hydraulic leak down. It’s important for operators to understand how hydraulic systems work and to recognize the early signs of potential issues. Training should cover:
- System Use: Educating operators on how the hydraulic system functions, focusing on the role of pressure and seals in maintaining load stability.
- Early Warning Signs: Teaching operators to identify early signs of leak down, such as gradual movement of hydraulic arms or changes in system performance.
- Emergency Steps: Instructing operators on immediate steps to take if leak down is suspected, including system shutdown and safety protocols.
- Routine Checks: Training operators to perform basic, routine inspections of hydraulic systems to identify wear and tear on seals and other components.
- Reporting Guidelines: Ensuring operators know how to report potential leak down issues to maintenance teams for prompt action.
This training enhances the safety and efficiency of operations. It extends the lifespan of the hydraulic equipment by ensuring timely detection and correction of issues.
The Safety Implications Without Check Valves
Hydraulic leak down isn’t just a maintenance issue. It’s a safety concern. Equipment arms that slowly drift can be dangerous. A loader bucket that creeps downward unexpectedly could result in property damage, injury, or worse. Operational precision means that even a small movement can lead to significant errors. This compromises the integrity of the work being done.
The Summit Hydraulics Solution: Check Valves
Summit Hydraulics carries a brilliant solution to this problem: the double piloted check valve. This valve serves as an effective blockade against unwanted hydraulic drift. For general hydraulic systems, our Double Pilot Operated Hydraulic Check Valve offers a quick fix to combat leak down. The valve ensures that the hydraulic fluid cannot move back through the system unless directed by a control signal. This allows for the maintenance of pressure even if there’s a loss of power or a line rupture. This holds the load securely in place. We carry numerous versions of this valve to meet many different hydraulic needs, including valves with 11 GPM, 15 GPM, 20 GPM flow capacity. The 11 GPM variant comes with either #6 SAE thread ports or ½” NPT thread ports, for your convenience.
For customers who wish to purchase or already own our third function kits, rear remote kits, front and rear kits, D03 style control valves, or D05 style control valves, Summit Hydraulics provides a solution. Our Double Pilot Operated Check Valve designed for D03 or D05 valves easily installs into the existing setup. This ensures the hydraulic fluid is allowed to flow only when the operator permits it. The valve fits between the valve spool and hydraulic manifold and simply screws in. This not only prevents leak down but also improves the overall efficiency of the hydraulic system.
For general hydraulic systems, our Double Pilot Operated Hydraulic Check Valve offers a quick fix to combat leak down.
Check Valve Installation Offers Peace of Mind
Installation of these double piloted check valves is easy. It can be a big upgrade to the safety of your hydraulic system. Operators can rest assured that their equipment will maintain its position and not leak down. Adding a double piloted check valve is like giving your hydraulic system a new, firmer grip. It’s a grip that doesn’t weaken over time. One that you can trust to hold the heavy loads, just as promised. Safety is not just about responding to accidents; it’s about preventing them. With Summit Hydraulics’ double piloted check valves, you’re choosing prevention. Ensure a safer and more reliable operation.