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Hydraulic Systems vs Pneumatic Systems

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Hydraulics and Pneumatics in Mechanical Engineering

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Hydraulic systems and pneumatic systems are disciplines within applied science and engineering dealing with the mechanical properties of fluid. Although common usage of “fluid” pertains only to liquid (as in, “Drink plenty of fluids”), the technical definition includes gases, as well. In either case, fluid compression is used to accomplish a mechanical task, with motion being the most common one. The most basic distinction between the two is that a hydraulic system uses liquids, whereas a pneumatic system uses gases.

Definition of Hydraulic System

Hydraulic systems use liquids under pressure for the generation or transmission of power. Most liquids, like oil, are considered to be largely incompressible, meaning the amount of volume does not decrease from an increase in pressure. Hydraulic systems therefore generate great amounts of pressure, usually 1,000 PSI or more, and are used on large construction jobs.

Definition of Pneumatic System

Pneumatic systems use gases under pressure to generate or transmit power. Unlike liquids, gases such as air are considered highly compressible. The ability to decrease the volume of a gas with an increase in pressure makes pneumatic systems ideal for situations requiring far less pressure than hydraulics for power, usually 100 PSI or less.

hydraulic-powered machinery

Advantages of Pneumatic Pumps Over Hydraulic Pumps

Because liquid is the fluid medium used in hydraulics, hydraulic pumps use bigger and more complex components. As a result, hydraulic pumps are considered more difficult to use when compared to pneumatic pumps. Conversely, a lack of required pressure results in the use of simple components for pneumatic pumps and an ease of operation relative to hydraulic ones. Pneumatic pumps are often more reliable than their hydraulic counterparts, since gases are far more responsive to pressure changes than liquids; gases can absorb excessive force from compression, while liquids cannot. The excessive force in hydraulics is transferred to the pumps parts, leading to faster wear and shorter lifespans than pneumatic pump components.

Pneumatic Pumps for OEMs from Air Compressor Pump Company

TruNorth Components manufactures pneumatic compressor pumps for OEMs. Our engineers can design a custom air pump to fit the needs of any small to medium sized OEM business. Any amount of air pressure and volume flow – up to 160 PSI and 10 CFM, respectively – is achievable for our compressor pump technicians. Our pumps are oil-less, fractional horsepower and electrically-safe. Additionally, our compressor pumps are energy efficient and run at low operating temperatures. When you order an air compressor pump from TruNorth, you’re getting a maintenance-free pump with a long and dependable service life. See why OEMs trust TruNorth Components for all their pneumatic pump needs.

Contact the pneumatic pump experts at TruNorth Components today for all your air compressor pump needs.