MISSION CRITICAL HYDRAULIC MANIFOLDS: NOT THE PLACE TO BE PENNY WISE POUND FOOLISH
by NIMIT PATEL There are challenges with hydraulic manifolds which illustrate the importance of experience and core engineer competencies. It is common for purchasing to select the least expensive quote, just like shopping various machine shops for other machined products. Hydraulic manifolds require that engineering work closely with the manufacturing team for design optimization. Purchasing is often looking at shortterm cost savings rather than efficiencies achieved during assembly, operations, and maintenance. Mission critical hydraulic manifolds are not the place to be penny wise pound foolish. From small mobile machines to heavy industrial plants, manifolds are mission critical to fluid power systems. Fluid power engineers and OEMs understand the benefits of properly engineered hydraulic manifolds. Nearly all hydraulic manifolds are engineered-to-order (ETO) to ensure improved overall layout with less cumbersome hoses and fluid connections. Depending on the application, a small and compact sized manifold with cartridge
Manufacturing Outlook / January 2020
valve design to suit confined spaces may remove the possibility for an â&#x20AC;&#x153;off the shelfâ&#x20AC;? solution. With increased energy efficiency shorter flow paths minimize pressure drops reducing installation costs. Equally important in the ETO design process is the reduction of fluid leaks and upkeep. Often times this comes from fewer connections that can wear and loosen. The best custom hydraulic manifolds require circuit integrity, design expertise, and manufacturing quality. The performance of any fluid power system is only as good as the level of expertise that produced it. The fluid power system relies on the quality of the manifold. OEMs in automotive, aviation, aerospace, and agricultural equipment mandate ISO certification and demand design and production teams to navigate the most difficult projects from design through production. These highly engineered solutions require experience to recommend design changes for both function and price optimization.