Ultimate showdown: Hydraulics Vs. Pneumatics!

Ultimate showdown: Hydraulics Vs. Pneumatics!

June 29, 2016

"An oil splash vs an Air Compressor?" I hear you say? You try illustrating air then!


Much like the playground argument of "My dad is stronger than your dad!", this one is for the devout users of either Hydraulics or Pneumatics; the ones who swear by one of the principles and naysays the achievements of the other. This is the fight of the century between Hydraulics and Pneumatics and today, on this virtual field of battle, we pit both against eachother for a no-holds-barred slobberknocker!
For the record I've never actually heard anyone have an argument over whether Hydraulics or Pneumatics is better, but hey, there's a lot of people on this earth...

Without further ado, let us put both principle through their paces on a selection of scenarios and see, for once and for all, which is the better fluid!

Round 1: The Strength Test

 Using the likes of Hydraulic Cylinders, moving heavy objects can be a breeze; Hydraulic Oil isn't compressible so it makes for a smooth & safe choice for the likes of tail lifts and tipper trucks. Pneumatics, in this instance, simply cannot work to the same standards that Hydraulics can. A change in load or movement of a cylinder can cause the air pressure to change, which can lead to jumpy components and a struggling system.

Round Winner: Hydraulics!

 


Round 2: The Hygiene Test

For the Food and Beverage Industry, it's a pretty big deal to be clean. Hydraulics unfortunately misses the mark here due to the potential oil leaks from faulty componentry. Water tainted with Hydraulic Oil? No thanks! Enter Pneumatics: A clean system run purely on compressed air. No one complains about air in their food, unless it's a bag of Walkers Crisps (yeah Walkers, we know your game!)

Round 2 goes to Pneumatics!



Round 3: The Speed Test

Sometimes you require a system to work at high speeds and Pneumatics doesn't disappoint; air flow rates can be a lot faster than oil and can get to your cylinders and valves extremely quick with very little resistance. Due to its viscosity, oil requires more energy to get it moving and by the time it gets there Pneumatics has beaten it. Overall, Pneumatics trounces Hydraulics when it comes to speed as if Pneumatic components need to quickly change position or direction it can dump the air to atmosphere; Hydraulic oil needs to make its way back to reservoir so, as you can imagine, is a slower process!

A Flawless victory by Pneumatics, which puts it ahead at 2-1! 
Now onto the final round: Will Pneumatics trounce Hydraulics? Read on...

 


Round 4: The Price Test

This has turned into a stock image goldmine...


In terms of the inital price of a system, it's a bit difficult to say what fluid would be more cost effective due to the prices of the individual components (and more importantly who you bought them from!) This round focuses on the running costs of each system: 
Both principles, to an extent, require electricity to power the systems, however as mentioned before Hydraulic oil doesn't require compression so the same oil can be used over and over again which, providing you have a good filtering system, can be for a long time!
Pneumatics trips up here as you need an air compressor to constantly feed the system with compressed air; whether it's a Piston Compressor at 50% duty cycle or a 100% duty cycle Screw Compressor, your air is good for one time only and once the tank runs out, you need to make more.
In this respect the running costs are a lot higher than good old-fashioned reusable Hydraulics!

And on that, Hydraulics brings it back with a 2-2 draw! 

The battle is over and both principles are at an impasse; it seems that both have pros over eachother but at the same time have cons that the other trounces. Both will have to live with eachother and accept that they're better for different purposes and embrace their differences.

With that emotional finalé we're now at the end of this blog post. If you've made all ther way to the end of this informative yet silly post (& past all the cheesy stock photos) then I thank you! 
I'm not going to lie, I had a lot of fun making this one...

 

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