Basics of Hydraulic Power Steering
Electric power steering is extremely common. In fact, it’s the gold standard across a significant number of manufacturing and machinery industries all over the world, including the automotive industry. Hydraulics in a vehicle’s steering gears make it dramatically easier to turn and maintain control over the vehicle without needing to wrestle the steering or fight environmental influences.
The same reasoning applies to other non-vehicular applications; hydraulics reduce the amount of physical labor required by humans or machines. For example, hydraulic lifts and hydraulic presses can both exert much more pressure on an item than a standard machine or human ever could.
Before we get too far into what products like hydraulic steering can do, let’s get back to the basics and talk about the history of hydraulic power steering.
The History and Design of Hydraulic Power Steering
First installed in 1876, hydraulic power steering revolutionized the manufacturing industry. This technology works by pressurizing hydraulic fluid on one side of a piston; fluid returns from the second chamber into a reservoir.
Hydraulic power steering has a very specific and unique design. As the wheel of the vehicle is turned, the rotary valve, acting as a pump, opens. This action sends the hydraulic power steering fluid flowing from hydraulic cylinders to an actuator. The actuator then uses it to enable the wheels to change direction, allowing the vehicle to turn more easily. All of this happens in just a matter of seconds—or even microseconds, in some cases.
In vehicles, hydraulic pumps contain pressure relief valves. These devices ensure the right amount of pressure builds without exceeding predetermined levels. If the pressure gets too high as the engine accelerates, the system might overheat or sustain damage. Thus, the pressure relief valve acts as a failsafe to protect the vehicle from harm due to excessive pressure.
Parts Breakdown for Hydraulic Power Steering
Every hydraulic steering system is unique, but many vehicles and equipment with this technology feature the same core parts. These parts include:
- Vane pumps for a steady flow of oil
- Gear pumps that displace or move fluid
- Hydraulic piston pumps (for heavy-duty vehicles)
Some devices may have a wide assortment of other items, including custom-built parts, external gear pumps, drive-shafts, casings, and more. All play an important role in helping the hydraulic power steering system work efficiently and quickly. The higher the quality of the system, the more nimble and reactive it will be.
Some extraneous devices serve a specific need or use. For example, external gear pumps provide positive displacement and operate over a wide load and speed range with reduced noise. The Society of Automotive Engineers has extensively studied their use in electronic hydraulic steering systems.
As one of the most common types of power steering, hydraulic steering requires many components to work properly. More importantly, those parts must be made from reliable materials and kept in good working condition if you wish to maintain ideal performance measures. At White House Products Ltd., we’re proud to serve a long list of clients with some of the best hydraulic products in the industry. Browse our shop to find just about anything you might need to keep your hydraulic system in top shape.
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