A hydraulic manifold block is a central component of many hydraulic systems, which allows operators to regulate the flow of fluid between pumps, actuators and other components of the system. In short, it acts like the switchboard of an electrical circuit, allowing the operator to control where fluid flows, and in what quantities.
As an example, in a lot of construction machinery, like a backhoe or forklift, the hydraulic arm of the machine is controlled via levers in the cab, and achieves the desired result thanks to the levers acting as “switches” for the manifold block, which then transmits the hydraulic fluid where it is needed.
A manifold is made up of a block of hydraulic valves all connected in such a way as to allow the hydraulic system to work; providing the operator with a more responsive, versatile machine. A hydraulic manifold block is commonly used for a variety of reasons, not least that incorporating a manifold block into your system reduces the required space, reduces the pressure drop between different points of the system, cuts the potential leak points and lowers the assembly time taken to set everything up, making them a widely-used upgrade on other setups.
However, this centralisation can sometimes bring disadvantages as well – potentially making troubleshooting more difficult. However, with proper system design and good test point positioning, finding a problem where a manifold is concerned becomes much, much simpler.
There are two distinct types of hydraulic manifold block: mono-block and modular block designs. A mono-block design is a hydraulic manifold which is machined out of a single piece of steel, aluminium or ductile iron, or pieced together from layers of metal, with the valves and channels required being milled in before the layers are put together. In the case of a single piece of steel being used, the machining and drilling needs to be carefully done to achieve the desired result without splitting or damaging the block. Once the manifold has been assembled, the entire thing is sealed or brazed, creating one solid, watertight piece.
Once made, the configuration of a mono-block hydraulic manifold cannot be altered. However, by contrast, changing configurations is the main advantage of a modular manifold block, which is usually built up of smaller components which are easy to add or remove to a system. A variety of plates and valves can be added or removed from the system to achieve the desired result, making these systems much more adaptable than their mono-block rivals.
Modular manifold block components may also be added to the outside of a mono-block manifold, providing some ability to customise their function.
For more information about the hydraulic manifold range available from Denley Hydraulics, feel free to get in touch any time by calling +441924413400 or filling in the contact form available on our website. The expert hydraulic engineers on the other end of the line will be happy to talk through your requirements and find a hydraulic manifold solution which will meet your needs.