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How to choose an accumulator

Choosing the right accumulator for your hydraulic system involves careful consideration of several key factors to ensure optimal performance, efficiency, and safety. Here’s a detailed guide to help you make an informed decision:

1. Identify the Application Requirements

  • System Pressure: Determine the maximum and minimum operating pressures of your hydraulic system.
  • Volume Requirements: Calculate the volume of hydraulic fluid that needs to be stored and released.
  • Primary Function: Understand the main purpose of the accumulator in your system (e.g., energy storage, shock absorption, pressure maintenance, pulsation dampening).

2. Select the Appropriate Type of Accumulator

  • Bladder Accumulator: Ideal for general applications with moderate to high flow rates. It features a flexible bladder that separates the gas and fluid chambers.
  • Piston Accumulator: Suitable for applications requiring high pressure and large volumes. It uses a piston to separate the gas and fluid chambers and is robust against high-frequency cycling.
  • Diaphragm Accumulator: Best for small-volume applications with low to moderate flow rates. It uses a diaphragm to separate the gas and fluid chambers and is typically used in lighter-duty applications.

3. Calculate the Required Size and Capacity

To determine the correct size and capacity, you need to consider the pre-charge pressure, operating pressures, and volume requirements. Here’s a simplified approach:

  • Pre-Charge Pressure (�0P0​): Typically set at 80-90% of the minimum system pressure.
  • Maximum Pressure (�1P1​): The highest pressure in your hydraulic system.
  • Fluid Volume (Q): The amount of hydraulic fluid that needs to be stored.

Use the following formula to estimate the required accumulator volume (�V):


4. Material Compatibility

  • Fluid Compatibility: Ensure the materials of the accumulator (including seals, bladder, piston, or diaphragm) are compatible with the hydraulic fluid used.
  • Environmental Conditions: Consider the operating environment, including temperature ranges, exposure to corrosive elements, and potential for vibration.

5. Safety and Compliance

  • Standards and Certifications: Ensure the accumulator complies with relevant safety standards and certifications (e.g., ASME, CE, PED).
  • Overpressure Protection: Verify the presence of safety features such as pressure relief valves to prevent over-pressurization.

6. Maintenance and Serviceability

  • Ease of Maintenance: Select an accumulator with easily replaceable parts (e.g., bladders, seals).
  • Service Life: Consider the expected service life and reliability of the accumulator under your specific operating conditions.

7. Cost and Supplier Support

  • Budget: Ensure the accumulator fits within your budget while meeting all technical requirements.
  • Supplier Reputation: Choose a reputable supplier who offers technical support, a good warranty, and reliable after-sales service.

Example Calculation

Suppose you need to store 10 liters of fluid in a system with a maximum pressure of 250 bar and a minimum pressure of 150 bar. The pre-charge pressure is set at 80% of the minimum pressure (120 bar).

  1. Calculate Pre-Charge Pressure: �0=120P0​=120 bar
  2. Maximum Pressure: �1=250P1​=250 bar
  3. Fluid Volume (Q): �=10Q=10 liters

Using the volume formula:

�=10⋅(250/120)(250/120)−1=10⋅2.0832.083−1=20.831.083≈19.23 litersV=(250/120)−110⋅(250/120)​=2.083−110⋅2.083​=1.08320.83​≈19.23 liters

You would select an accumulator with a volume slightly higher than 19.23 liters to ensure adequate capacity.

By following these steps and considering these factors, you can select an accumulator that best fits your hydraulic system’s needs, ensuring efficient and reliable operation.



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