A hydraulic system has four major advantages, which makes it quite efficient in transmitting power.
1. Ease and accuracy of control: By the use of simple levers and push buttons, the operator of a hydraulic system can easily start, stop, speed up and slow down.
2. Multiplication of force: A fluid power system (without using cumbersome gears, pulleys and levers) can multiply forces simply and efficiently from a fraction of a pound, to several hundred tons of output.
3. Constant force and torque: Only fluid power systems are capable of providing a constant torque or force regardless of speed changes.
4. Simple, safe and economical: In general, hydraulic systems use fewer moving parts in comparison with mechanical and electrical systems. Thus they become simpler and easier to maintain.
In spite of possessing all these highly desirable features, hydraulic systems also have certain drawbacks, some of which are:
• Handling of hydraulic oils which can be quite messy. It is also very difficult to completely eliminate leakage in a hydraulic system.
• Hydraulic lines can burst causing serious human injuries.
• Most hydraulic fluids have a tendency to catch fire in the event of leakage, especially in hot regions.
It therefore becomes important for each application to be studied thoroughly, before selecting a hydraulic system for it. Let us now discuss some of the most important and common hydraulic system applications.