The trend in today's mobile hydraulic systems is toward higher working pressures -- perhaps as much as 6,000 psi or more. More pressure means more efficiency for the user of a hydraulic system, but more problems for the system's manufacturer who typically uses aluminum for system components like seals, valves, and manifolds. But aluminum usually isn't up to the challenges posed by higher operating pressures.
Additionally, as hydraulic systems become more complex, manifolds have progressed from simple blocks with 5-6 ports to more intricate components with the ability to accommodate a dozen or more connections. And with each connection that is required at a manifold, the advantages of Dura-Bar increase.
First, Dura-Bar's greater fatigue strength compared to aluminum allows holes to be drilled closer to each other without fear of cracks or other failure in the field. So using Dura-Bar can make for a smaller, more versatile manifold.
Also, Dura-Bar's superior machinability comes into play by facilitating drilling and reducing the overall cost to produce a manifold. Aluminum and steel require a high degree of deburring to reduce the potential for poor connections and leaks. Dura-Bar requires much less deburring, which saves money with each hole that must be drilled in the block.
Dura-Bar will not be the most cost effective choice for all hydraulic manifolds. But large-scale hydraulic manufacturers who produce both low- and high-pressure systems can be especially attractive prospects. If they're using aluminum across the board, the odds are that they're experiencing leaks and other part failures in their high-pressure systems, and they might be inclined to give Dura-Bar a try.
(Editor's Note: The use of Dura-Bar for high-pressure applications was spotlighted in an article in the . The article (beginning on page 106) details the HydraForce company's success in using Dura-Bar, and contains a lengthy explanation of how Dura-Bar's continuous casting process affords added performance advantages in hydraulic applications.)
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