Locking mechanisms are of various types and choosing a proper mechanism will depend on parameters like power requirements, space availability, operating pressure, environment of operation, type of locking mechanism (automatic/manual), need for locking in any location, and more. This article will discuss key facts regarding the hydraulic locking mechanism.
It is the duty of the hydraulic system to carry heavy loads under challenging conditions. Under these conditions, it is important to secure the position and to maintain the load securely for a longer period. The hydraulic locking mechanism implemented in heavy-duty applications will protect the heavy load from falling, by locking the actuator at the desired position steadily for a longer time.
The hydraulic locking mechanism design is created by considering various parameters like strength, elasticity, temperature coefficient, friction coefficients, and more. When considering the structure of the locking mechanism, what we will see is a normal cylinder. The key difference is locking mechanism is for maintaining a constant load under the locking condition, and not for driving the hydraulic cylinder. This is a fit between the cylinder and lock sleeve which produces maximum locking force through materials deformation and friction of lock sleeve and cylinder. For the piston to hold a large axial load without displacement, the factors to consider are material selection and correct interference quantity in the locked state.
The unlocking mechanism works by controlling the reversing valve. The oil will flow from the unlock oil mouth into the guide hole towards the inner hole of the piston rod, finally reaching into the cylinder body, lock set and elastic deformation. Then the unlocking process occurs, by rolling out the fluid through the small hole.
The hydraulic locking system circuit includes load-holding valves (LHV) also called counterbalance valve, that plays a significant role in load handling. This will also improve the safety and control of a hydraulic circuit. The LHV will regulate the extension and retraction speed of loads and helps to control and steady the system.
The most recent locks for the actuator will instantly lock the rod position whenever the applied pressure is stopped. The lock fits around the rod and clamps properly to prevent further movement.
Some important advantages of the hydraulic locking mechanism are:
- Will provide speed, power, compactness, accuracy, and repeatability of hydraulics.
- Better capacity for holding large loads for a longer period
- These locks are inexpensive and common
- Requires less maintenance or replacement requirements