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Basic fault diagnosis and handling of accumulator

Accumulators are critical components in hydraulic systems, storing energy and smoothing out pulsations. Effective diagnosis and handling ensure system reliability and safety. Here’s a comprehensive guide:

Fault Diagnosis

  1. Pressure Issues:
    • Symptom: System pressure too low or too high.
    • Possible Causes:
      • Incorrect pre-charge pressure.
      • Hydraulic system leakage.
      • Malfunctioning pressure relief valve.
    • Diagnosis:
      • Use a pressure gauge to check the pre-charge pressure.
      • Inspect the hydraulic system for visible leaks.
      • Test the pressure relief valve for proper function.
  2. Fluid Leakage:
    • Symptom: Fluid leaking from the accumulator.
    • Possible Causes:
      • Damaged seals or bladders.
      • Cracks or damage to the accumulator shell.
    • Diagnosis:
      • Perform a visual inspection of seals, bladders, and the shell.
      • Conduct a pressure test to identify leaks.
  3. Unusual Noise:
    • Symptom: Knocking or hissing sounds.
    • Possible Causes:
      • Air in the hydraulic fluid.
      • Loose internal components.
    • Diagnosis:
      • Bleed the system to remove air.
      • Inspect and secure any loose components.
  4. Slow System Response:
    • Symptom: Delayed response to commands.
    • Possible Causes:
      • Accumulator not discharging properly.
      • Blockage in hydraulic lines.
    • Diagnosis:
      • Check the accumulator’s discharge rate.
      • Inspect hydraulic lines for blockages or restrictions.
  5. Temperature Issues:
    • Symptom: Accumulator or system overheating.
    • Possible Causes:
      • Excessive use causing overheating.
      • Incorrect hydraulic fluid viscosity.
    • Diagnosis:
      • Monitor system temperature.
      • Verify the hydraulic fluid’s viscosity against manufacturer recommendations.

Handling and Maintenance

  1. Regular Inspection:
    • Conduct routine inspections for wear, damage, or leaks.
    • Check and adjust pre-charge pressure regularly.
  2. Proper Pre-Charge:
    • Use nitrogen gas for pre-charging.
    • Follow manufacturer specifications for the correct pre-charge pressure.
    • Utilize appropriate tools and safety equipment during pre-charging.
  3. Leakage Control:
    • Replace damaged seals, bladders, or faulty components immediately.
    • Use proper sealing compounds and techniques as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Cleanliness:
    • Keep the hydraulic system clean to prevent contamination.
    • Use filtered hydraulic fluid.
  5. System Monitoring:
    • Employ sensors and gauges to monitor pressure, temperature, and fluid levels continuously.
    • Set up alarms for critical conditions.
  6. Safe Handling:
    • Adhere to safety protocols due to high pressure.
    • Depressurize the system before maintenance or repairs.
    • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  7. Training:
    • Ensure personnel are well-trained in handling and maintaining accumulators.
    • Provide regular training updates on maintenance and safety procedures.

Troubleshooting Guide

SymptomPossible CauseDiagnostic StepsCorrective Action
Pressure too lowIncorrect pre-charge pressureCheck pre-charge with gaugeAdjust pre-charge pressure
Fluid leakageDamaged seals/bladdersVisual inspectionReplace seals/bladders
Unusual noiseAir in systemBleed systemBleed air from system
Slow responseBlocked hydraulic linesInspect lines for blockagesClear blockages
OverheatingExcessive use/improper fluidMonitor temperatureAllow cooling/use proper fluid


Proper diagnosis and handling of an accumulator involve regular inspections, maintaining correct pressure levels, ensuring system cleanliness, monitoring conditions, adhering to safety protocols, and continuous training. These practices help maintain the efficiency and safety of the hydraulic system.



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