Understanding Hydraulic Manifold Blocks and Their Uses
Hydraulic Manifold Blocks are also called Hydraulic Valve Blocks, and they are machine parts that act as junctions between components in a Hydraulic System to regulate fluid flow. Some of the elements that utilise these blocks include pumps and actuators. The design of Hydraulic Manifolds allows an operator to monitor how fluid moves in different parts just as a switchboard does with an electric current. A good example of how a manifold works is in a backhoe loader. In this machine, there is a front and back bucket with telescopic arms, where the fluid flows. A Manifold in this instance is attached to the levers, and when operated, it diverts, shuts off or turns on the flow to the arms. The operation of the Manifold determines how it behaves.
Manifold Blocks comprise interconnections of hydraulic valves. The way these connect to one another dictates the control options of a manifold. These valves work to regulate the flow of oil in the circuit and then direct it to a hose system connected to a work device. It is how the Manifold controls distribution. The consolidation of varied parts in a metal chunk comes with its advantages. For one, the layout it creates is logical and without clutter. Having all the components together means that fittings are less. Parts also occupy minimal space this way. There is also the benefit of reduced leak points, less assembly time and pressure drop.
Choosing a Manifold
Various considerations are vital when picking a Manifold for specific applications. The material and finish will determine how much pressure the Manifold can handle. Durability is also dependent on the material type. Other fundamentals to look at include; electrical voltage and connection, the number of valves, temperatures and environmental conditions and duty cycle. You also have to know what the fluid type is, the seal material, port sizes, flow conditions and mounting.
A Hydraulic Manifold has a vast range of applications. One area where it is commonly in use is in food processing where a lot of the operations require machinery. Other uses include oil field and farm equipment, off-highway equipment, heavy construction machines and valve operations. Marine, medical and pharmaceutical industries also have various uses of Manifolds.
A Hydraulic Manifold Block comes in different designs. The first is the single-piece or mono-block style. With this Manifold, all the components are in one metal chunk. This class is further subdivided into Laminar and Drilled Manifolds. Laminar Manifolds contain several metal layers with holes that create passages when these layers are stacked together through brazing. The fluid paths are sandwiched between these metal layers. A Laminar Manifold block can have as many valves as the application requires. The customisation of this single-piece Manifold makes it very expensive and hard to replace in case of circuit changes. A Drilled manifold, on the other hand, is made with a single slab drilled with holes for passages. The valves and other components are inserted into the cavities. The design of Drilled Manifolds allows them to endure more pressure, making them virtually unbreakable.
Modular Manifold Blocks
A Modular Hydraulic Manifold is designed to hold one or two valves in the series of interconnecting passages present. It is possible to add a Modular Manifold to existing ones. The assembly of Modular Manifolds can be in stacks or horizontal. The connections between one Hydraulic Manifold and the next will vary from one engineer to another. Usually, there is an addition of plates between the primary building blocks to provide spacing requirements. Others are attached to the ends of the Manifold for sealing. Drilling of these plates provides connections for pumps and tanks. The biggest advantage that a Modular Manifold Block has over a single-piece is the modification ability, depending on evolving needs.