Understanding the Benefits and Flexibility of Hydraulic Valve Manifolds
Hydraulic Valve Manifolds
Manifolds are used extensively in our industry and they provide a very flexible design option to help reduce the number of threaded or flanged connections, save space and weight on a machine and simplify labor and assembly processes. They are typically a custom designed and machined item-tailored to fit the exact application requirements.
Manifolds are used in almost any hydraulic system. They provide an integrated, single location to install many-if not all-of the valve functions required in a system. Anything from directional valves, flow controls, pressure controls, load holding valves, etc. can be designed into a manifold. They utilize surface mounted valves (D03, D05, etc.), cartridge style valves that thread into machined cavities in the manifold or DIN style cartridges that drop into a machined cavity and are held in place with retaining covers (used in very high flow applications). These designs are critical in hydraulic systems to minimize the number of threaded or flanged connections (reducing leak potential), reduce weight in the system and to dramatically reduce the installation/assembly time required when building the system.
The most common materials used are aluminum or ductile iron (steel) with specific properties that make them an excellent choice for many hydraulic systems. Aluminum (most commonly 6061) is used on applications below 3,000 psi operating pressure. It is lightweight, relatively easy to machine and is readily available in bar sizes that fit well with the vast majority of applications.
Ductile Iron is a specific steel composition that lends itself very well to higher pressure system requirements (3,000-6,000 psi typically). Again, it is relatively easy to machine and is readily available.
Other, less common materials are also used. 7075 aluminum is a “stronger” version of aluminum that works well in higher pressure applications where the weight of steel is prohibitive. It is more expensive and not as readily available, but it is still a very good alternative in the right situation. Titanium, Monel, Inconel are quite expensive and rare, but still viable when the application requires extremely good corrosion resistant properties, dramatic weight reduction, etc.
Virtually any configuration or set of requirements can be created with a custom manifold design. In addition to valve functions many other features can be incorporated into the design; filtration, sensors, accumulators are also quite common. Another design feature that is common and helpful is to directly mount the manifold to another component in the system such as a pump or hydraulic cylinder. Again, this saves space, reduces connection points and provides a secure mounting location for the manifold and associated components.
Our Engineering Team is ready and waiting to work with you to develop a custom solution for your hydraulic system and manifold requirements! We utilize 3D modeling software to develop and verify designs and we use components from the “best of the best” manufacturers in the world. We will assist in the sizing, selection, design, testing and delivery of the finished product whether your requirement is for one or many. We look forward to working with you to help make your system economical, efficient and functional.