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How to choose an accumulator

Choosing the right accumulator for your hydraulic system involves understanding your specific requirements and considering several key factors. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you select an appropriate accumulator:

1. Define Your 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: Identify the main purpose of the accumulator (e.g., energy storage, shock absorption, pressure maintenance, pulsation dampening).

2. Select the Type of Accumulator

Bladder Accumulator:

  • Advantages: Quick response, good for moderate to high flow rates, and effective for energy storage and shock absorption.
  • Applications: General hydraulic systems, mobile hydraulics, and industrial machinery.

Piston Accumulator:

  • Advantages: High capacity, suitable for high pressure and large volume applications, durable against contamination.
  • Applications: Heavy-duty industrial applications, mobile equipment, and energy storage systems.

Diaphragm Accumulator:

  • Advantages: Compact design, suitable for small volumes and lower flow rates, minimal maintenance.
  • Applications: Light-duty applications, small hydraulic circuits, and pulsation dampening.

3. Calculate the Required Size and Capacity

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

Key Parameters:

  • Pre-Charge Pressure (�0P0​): Typically set at 80-90% of the minimum system pressure.
  • Maximum System Pressure (�1P1​): The highest pressure in your hydraulic system.
  • Minimum System Pressure (�2P2​): The lowest pressure in your hydraulic system.
  • Fluid Volume (Q): The volume of hydraulic fluid to be stored.

Calculation Formula:

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

�=�(�1�0)−1V=(P0​P1​​)−1Q

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

Using the formula:

�=10(250120)−1=102.083−1=101.083≈9.23 litersV=(120250​)−110​=2.083−110​=1.08310​≈9.23 liters

You would select an accumulator with a volume slightly higher than 9.23 liters to ensure adequate capacity.

4. Material Compatibility

  • Fluid Compatibility: Ensure the accumulator materials are compatible with the hydraulic fluid used in your system (e.g., seals, bladder/piston/diaphragm materials, and the pressure vessel itself).
  • Environmental Conditions: Consider the operating environment, including temperature ranges, potential exposure to corrosive elements, and vibration levels.

5. Safety and Compliance

  • Safety Standards: Ensure the accumulator meets relevant safety standards and certifications (e.g., ASME, CE, PED).
  • Overpressure Protection: Verify that the accumulator has appropriate safety features such as pressure relief valves to prevent over-pressurization.

6. Maintenance and Serviceability

  • Ease of Maintenance: Choose an accumulator with easily replaceable components (e.g., bladders, seals).
  • Service Life: Evaluate the expected service life of the accumulator under your operating conditions. Opt for models known for durability and reliability.

7. Cost and Supplier Support

  • Budget: Ensure the selected 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.

Conclusion

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. Accurate calculations, understanding the specific application, and considering maintenance and safety are crucial for making the right choice.

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