The Real Value Of The Humble Hydraulic Symbol

hydraulic schematic drawingI am regularly involved in troubleshooting problems with hydraulic equipment. In these situations, there are two things I always do before reaching for my test gear. The first is to conduct a visual inspection of the hydraulic system, checking all the easy things that could cause the problem in question (never overlook the obvious). The second is to ask for the schematic diagram for the machine’s hydraulic circuit.

A schematic diagram is a ‘road map’ of the hydraulic system. And to a technician skilled in reading and interpreting hydraulic symbols, it is a valuable aid in identifying possible causes of a problem. This can save a lot of time and money when troubleshooting hydraulic problems.

If a schematic diagram is not available, the technician must trace the hydraulic circuit and identify its components in order to isolate possible causes of the problem. This can be a time-consuming process, depending on the complexity of the system. Worse still, if the circuit contains a valve manifold for example, the manifold may have to be removed and dismantled – just to establish what it’s supposed to do. Reason being, if the function of a component within a hydraulic system is not known, it can be difficult to discount it as a possible cause of the problem. The humble hydraulic symbol eliminates the need to ‘reverse engineer’ the hydraulic circuit.

Where are all the hydraulic schematic diagrams?

As most hydraulic technicians know, there’s usually a better than even chance that a schematic diagram will not be available for the hydraulic machine they’ve been called in to troubleshoot. This is unlikely to bother the technician because it is the machine owner who pays for its absence, through prolonged downtime.

Where do all the hydraulic schematic diagrams go? They get lost or misplaced, they don’t get transferred to the new owner when a machine is sold, and in some cases they may not be issued to the machine owner at all. Why? Because generally speaking, hydraulic equipment owners don’t place a lot of value on them.

So if you’re responsible for hydraulic equipment and you don’t have schematic diagrams for your existing machines, try to obtain them – before you need them. And ensure that you are issued with schematic diagrams for any additional hydraulic machines you acquire. It will save you time and money in the long run.

In other words, not keeping track of your machines’ hydraulic drawings — and neglecting to keep them up to date, can be a costly mistake. And to discover six other costly mistakes you want to be sure to avoid with your hydraulic equipment, get “Six Costly Mistakes Most Hydraulics Users Make… And How You Can Avoid Them!” available for FREE download here.

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