If you have been reading about hydraulic systems, you may have encountered the acronym HPU or hydraulic power unit. What is it? What purpose does it serve? What are its different types and applications?
You will probably have numerous questions in mind. In the phrase HPU micro pack, in particular, there might be some confusion as to what a hydraulic power unit micro pack is exactly. This post will try to clarify all of these while presenting the basics of an HPU.
Hydraulic power unit
An HPU is not a source of electric power. It is totally different from other similar technical acronyms you may know, the PSU (power supply unit) for example. What it does is exert pressure on a liquid medium that results in the movement of a mechanical setup, which performs various functions such as the lifting of a boulder or the raising of a platform. The hydraulic system amplifies the force exerted by a hydraulic power unit as it makes a liquid pass through a series of valves that takes advantage of the liquid medium’s incompressibility.
It is in the hydraulic power unit where a liquid medium like water passes through and is trapped by valves to push a piston rod that then pushes a component in a separate mechanical setup to produce the desired movement. This forward force is not pushed back by the weight it supports (or drives) since liquids are virtually resistant to compression. The push happens as liquids are permitted to enter the chambers inside the HPU and trapped by the valves.
Hydraulic power units are categorised according to their sizes. They can be standard, mini, or micro HPUs. The standard units come with motors with up to 30-kilowatt power ratings and have tanks that can hold up to 180 litres and handle a maximum of 100 litres per minute. Mini hydraulic power units are slightly smaller than the standard ones. They are equipped with motors with power ratings as high as 5.5-kilowatts and liquid holding and flow capacities of up to 100 and 30 litres, respectively. The micro HPUs, on the other hand, have DC motors (150 to 800 watts) and flow rates at around 5 litres per minute. Standard and mini units usually have pressure generation potential of up to 250 bar while micro units can produce up to 200 bar.
There are also bespoke hydraulic power units the capacities of which are customised to suit specific needs. There are cases when a micro unit is deemed too small while a mini one is too large. Some may be used in industrial operations that require systems equipped with 375-kilowatt motors. For situations like these, it would be better to get tailor-made solutions to achieve the best operational efficiency.
The hydraulic power unit is a vital component of hydraulic equipment. It needs to be durable and reliable. Its failure always means the failure of a hydraulic system to work as expected, so it only makes sense to ascertain that it is of the highest quality.
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