Brakes, Clutches, and Friction Materials for the Oil and Gas Industry

Oil and gas producers in the U.S. are ramping up production. You can’t compete if your equipment isn’t in top condition. This warrants the question: have you looked at your brake systems recently?

The oil and gas industry has specific needs for brakes, clutches, and friction materials. Learn more about it here.

Caliper Disc Brakes for the Oil and Gas Industry

Brakes and clutches have many on-shore and offshore applications in the oil and gas industry. Disc brakes are ideal for these demanding uses.

Caliper disc brakes are well-suited for applications with high torque. They also perform well for high-energy stopping and tensioning uses. This is because caliper disc brakes disperse the energy from the braking process as heat.

Spring-Applied Disc Brakes

Many oilfield braking systems use spring-applied or spring-operated disc brakes. These systems brake and hold components even when the power supply fails. As a result, they can produce higher braking torque than standard brakes.

Spring-applied brakes are a good choice for applications that need extra safety precautions.

Hydraulic and pneumatic (air) spring-applied brakes are options for oil and gas industry uses. The hydraulic or pneumatic force disengages the calipers. This is the opposite of how standard brakes work.

Choosing hydraulic or pneumatic released brakes depends on factors including:

  • Torque requirements
  • System budget
  • Working environment

Hydraulically-released brakes are better for higher torque applications. Air-released brakes are more economical. They’re easy to use and very accurate.

Oilfield Friction Materials

A wide range of friction materials have applications in the oil industry. These materials have uses that include:

  • Drawworks brake blocks
  • Clutch blocks
  • Insulator plates
  • Gear tooth clutch facings
  • Plain rings/Catheads
  • Disc pads

In the past, asbestos was the friction material of choice. However, non-asbestos materials are now the standard due to the health risks of asbestos.

Woven Friction Materials

Woven friction materials can be made from many different types of fibers. The composition you want depends on your application. Possible types of fibers include:

Friction materials can be entirely non-metallic. However, they can include metallic fibers to increase heat dissipation. In addition, the material contains resins with features like suppressing sparks.

A-Block Premium Woven Material

A-Block is a new, non-asbestos woven material. It’s specifically for use on oilfield drawworks and well-servicing rigs.

A-Block offers a range of characteristics that make it ideal for oil and gas industry use. Some of these features include:

  • Less abrasion than traditional materials
  • Constant friction level with excellent fade resistance
  • Resistance to oil, grease, and water

This friction material provides smooth, long-lasting performance.

Molded Friction Materials

Molded friction materials are another popular choice for applications in the petroleum industry. They’re well-suited for heavy-duty brake and clutch systems. In addition, a wide range of friction levels is possible with molded materials.

Molded friction materials are made from:

  • Vermiculite particles
  • Asbestos-free filler
  • Thermosetting resin

Hydraulic pressing is a common production method.

Finding the Right Brakes, Clutches, and Friction Materials for Oil and Gas Applications

Brakes, clutches, and friction materials for the oil and gas industry need to withstand demanding service conditions. To get the best results, you need to find the right solution for your applications.

Kor-Pak has broad experience in the oil and gas industry. We offer a sophisticated line of braking systems and an extensive selection of oilfield friction materials. In addition, we can work with you to design custom products or retrofit your existing equipment.

Contact us today for more information. Then, let’s solve your braking challenges.

Disc Brake vs. Rim Brake: What’s the Difference

Projections show that the global industrial brakes market will have a value of $1.816 billion by 2028. With such a strong market full of brands and designs, it’s no wonder you’re considering your brake options.

Brakes come in all different styles and sizes, with two of the most common being disc and rim brakes. If you want to compare disc brake vs. rim brake systems, you first need to know what they are and their advantages.

Disc Brake vs. Rim Brake

Disc brakes and rim brakes have a clear difference in appearance, but more importantly, they differ in how they function. This comes down to where the braking force is applied.

Rim brakes apply a stopping force to the outer edge of the rim using brake calipers.

Disc brakes are a bit more complicated. Instead of a rotor mounted on the hub, the caliper is attached to a fork close to the axle.

Disc brakes are closer to the design seen on motorcycles and are also commonly used on mountain and cyclocross bikes. This is because they’re ideal for muddy terrain. On the other hand, disc brakes are less susceptible to clogging.

These two braking systems also use different methods of actuating. Rim brakes have a cable system that controls the caliper. Disc brakes have a hydraulic system; pressure builds when the brake lever is pulled, moving the caliper.

Both of these types of brakes use friction to generate stopping power.

Advantages of Rim Brakes

While disc brakes are often seen as the superior brake design, rim brakes still offer several advantages.

A rim brake system weighs less than a disc brake system. They also tend to offer better aerodynamics. This makes it easier to reach higher speeds.

Rim brakes also cost less to manufacture, and they’re easier to repair. These cost benefits make them the standard choice for budget bicycles.

Advantages of Disc Brakes

Many older bike frames aren’t made to support disc brakes, but that’s changed since they appeared on Peloton exercise bikes. In terms of functionality, disc brakes are generally considered better than rim brakes for several reasons.

Disc brakes generate greater stopping power, which is the primary purpose of brakes. This is ideal for long descents. The braking is also more precise, which helps prevent wheel lockup.

On long descents, rim brakes will heat the rim, which can cause the tire to blow out. There is no risk of this with disc brakes, and they perform better when wet.

Rim brakes don’t offer much customizability, but with disc brakes, you can change the size of the rotor to adjust the braking power. They’re also better suited if you want to use wider tires.

The design of disc brakes has led to the technology being used outside the bicycle sector. For example, you might find industrial disc brakes in ski lifts, elevators, amusement rides, and aerospace products.

Which Brake Is Best for You?

When comparing disc brake vs. rim brake systems, you must consider your needs and budget.

Advancements in technology make disc brakes more popular, but it will be cheaper and easier to stick with the rim brakes if you’re already using them. However, if you’re looking for industrial brakes to serve your industrial business, disc brakes are something you should consider.

Kor-Pak is a leading supplier of various types of brakes. Contact us today if you have questions about our products or need help making the best choice,

The Importance of Friction Materials in Safety Systems

Friction is essential in braking and safety systems to be safe and work efficiently.

Materials are added to brakes and clutches to ensure that a system has sufficient friction. These friction materials are typically created from durable, heat-resistant materials that can endure high amounts of physical stress.

Here’s a quick guide on the different types of friction materials and how they are used in industrial braking and safety systems.

Uses of Friction Materials

Friction materials use a textured or rough surface to stop or slow down their processes of:

  • Clutch and brake systems
  • Operating systems
  • Automotive equipment
  • Gear tooth systems
  • Industrial machinery

Friction materials come in a range of types and shapes to adapt to various applications. However, their form determines their use, as each shape and configuration will only perform specific functions.

Friction Disc

Friction discs are an essential part of a disc brake system. The discs consist of friction material attached to a metal plate with an adhesive or rivets.

This allows them to slow the motion of industrial vehicles so that they can turn or stop.

Clutch Disc and Facing

Clutch discs connect and disconnect the transmission of manufacturing equipment and large machine motors, whether electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic.

They attach to the transmission’s shaft and engage the engines when the clutch releases. When the clutch disengages, it also disengages the transmission, allowing the machine to change gears.

Clutch facings help make clutch operation smooth and consistent, reducing the amount of noise produced.

Brake Pads and Lining

Brake pads and lining are a barrier between braking components to boost friction levels and keep parts from breaking down too quickly.

They are manufactured from either semi-metallic, non-asbestos organic, or ceramic materials.

Brake Shoes

Brake shoes are crescent-shaped components that have friction material applied to their surface.

They serve the same function as brake pads and lining. However, brake shoes apply friction by moving up and outward to make contact with drum brakes.

Drum brakes use hydraulic pressure to push the shoes against the interior surface of a mechanism’s spinning portion to slow the device’s motion.

Brake Block

Brake blocks consist of a hard resin, wire, viscose, or glass that presses against a wheel to stop motion.

While this may seem more straightforward than other braking devices, they have many applications. This includes slowing the speed of mining, engineering, and industrial machines.

Types of Friction Materials

To determine which friction material is most suitable, you will need to consider the following:

  • Speed at which friction can stop the object or system
  • Frequency of use
  • Budget
  • Required chemical and wear resistance
  • Required energy absorption
  • Permissible heat generation
  • Coefficient of friction

Friction materials with rougher surfaces are more efficient but require more energy, while smoother surfaces help transport materials more efficiently. Rubber is one way to enhance the ability of brake and safety systems to produce friction.

One of the most popular friction materials is asbestos fibers. However, ceramic has grown popular as an alternative because of the health concerns associated with asbestos exposure.

Semi-metallic brake materials are also often used, as they have similar durability to ceramic. These materials use brass, copper, and steel wool bonded by resin.

Improving Safety Systems Through Friction Materials

Quality friction materials help ensure braking and safety systems work well, are safe to operate, and will have reduced wear and tear.

Different applications have different requirements for friction material. Kor-Pak will work with you to ensure you receive the best friction material for your industrial machines.

If you need advice, products, or services, contact us today to find out more about our friction materials and braking systems.

How to Spot Wear and Tear on Brake Drums

Did you know that the industrial brakes market is worth $1,816.70 million and is climbing in value?

One of the most dangerous things you can do is neglect to maintain your drum brakes. If you don’t check on them regularly, then it’s only a matter of time before they fail. The last thing you’d want is to break and find out that they aren’t working as they should.

Are you wondering what to look out for? Keep reading to learn how to spot wear and tear on brake drums.

Spotting and Measuring Wear

When it comes to brake drum wear and tear, you can start the inspection by removing the dust cover. This will give you much more visibility of the brake drum. Next, look at the wear edge and if it has almost been reached.

It’s even possible for the wear edge to be so worn that it can’t be seen clearly. In either scenario, the next step would be to withdraw the hub assembly. This can give you access to the inside diameter to measure the wear at the deepest point.

Check the Clearance

Another way to determine if you should replace brake drums is by checking the distance between the drum and the brake lining. Too much distance is a red flag.

While excessive clearance is a sign of wear, there’s a possibility that the issue stems from a misaligned slack adjustor. This is why it’s important to have a professional assess the situation and give you a certified diagnosis.

No matter the reason for the extra distance, you should repair it before operating the vehicle because the issue can end up resulting in total brake failure.

Harsh Treatment From the Brake Linings

In some cases, it’s possible to have minimal wear on your brake linings but excessive wear on your brake drums to the point when brake drum repair is necessary.

Are you wondering how this is possible? While it may seem like an impossible contradiction at first, this disparity is often due to the harsh treatment of the brake drum from the brake linings.

The best solution to this issue is a brake drum replacement and an upgrade of the brake linings to a manufacturer of higher quality.

Are You Ready to Upgrade Your Brake Drums?

From brakes and cranes to clutches and industrial friction material, you can count on our experts to service your parts or replace them with even better ones. We have significant experience with a wide range of industries.

Feel free to contact us with questions.

Wichita Clutch: An Overview of Wichita Clutches and Brakes

Did you know that the global industrial brakes and clutches market is predicted to reach $1.6 billion by 2026?

Of all the options out there, Wichita is one of the most highly-revered brands, known for providing the industry with dynamic engineering capabilities and the best quality tools. But would this brand work for your needs? We’re here to help you answer that question.

Read on to learn all about Wichita clutches and brakes and learn which one might be right for you.

Air Brake

These brakes are air-cooled for light and medium-duty tasks. The torque transmitted is proportional to the air pressure and is unaffected by centrifugal force.

Wichita creates combination clutch/brake units, a Model LK brake, a Model LKB brake, and a Model LKT Clutch or brake. Here are a few other options:

  • Motor brakes
  • AirMakks SSB Brakes
  • CCB combination clutch/brake

The great thing about Wichita clutch/brake systems is that they’re designed to prevent the clutch and brake from engaging simultaneously.

Water Cooled Brakes

Water-cooled brakes allow high thermal capacities in several challenging use cases. In addition, it provides high heat dissipation compared to the competition and provides a longer lifespan than other options.

They’re available as KK/SS, equipped with “passive brakes” for emergency engagement.

Disc Brake Systems

Disc brake systems come in a few options:

  • Direct-acting caliper brakes
  • Spring applied caliper brakes

Spring applied brakes can be retracted pneumatically, hydraulically, or electrically (depending on the caliper design). Most direct-acting brakes have some form of positive retraction device equipped.

You can also get several accessories for these brakes, like electro-hydraulic power units and monitoring units.

Air Clutch

Wichita air clutches come with a smooth start-up, and a few different high cycles, high speed, and even low inertia designs are available. There are a few air clutch options you can choose from Wichita, like:

  • Combination Clutch/brake
  • Low inertia clutch
  • LI high torque clutch
  • Standard vent clutch

There are more options available, but those are a few basics.

Hydraulic Clutch/Brakes

Most hydraulic systems you purchase will be clutch/brake combinations, except the Model HC clutch.

The Model HC clutch is oil-immersed and designed for end-shaft or through-shaft mounting configuration. It can be used as a stand-alone device for disconnecting service or conveyor soft starts.

Other clutch/brake combinations are also oil-immersed, utilizing a self-contained cooling oil pumping system. In addition, they’re quill-mounted units that can also be used for end of shaft or through-shaft designs. These unique designs also eliminate the possibility of engaging the clutch and the brake simultaneously, meaning — less danger on your part.

Wichita Clutches

Now that we’ve gone over a few of the best Wichita clutches and breaks, are you ready to try any for yourself? At Kor-Pak, we understand the importance that prime clutches and brakes play for many businesses, and we’re here to help you find the perfect one to fit your needs. 

Contact us today to get started, and rest assured that you’ll have everything you need in no time.

Typical Applications for Caliper Brakes

If you’re looking for a powerful brake caliper that can handle various applications, caliper brakes are a perfect choice. Commonly used in industrial settings, you can also find caliper brakes in vehicles and other machinery. Here are some of the most common applications for caliper brakes.

Keep reading to learn more about a few typical applications of caliper brakes.

The Capabilities Of Caliper Brakes

You can find brake calipers in various applications because they can handle a wide range of tasks.

Also, they have remarkable stopping power. Suppose you have an application that requires high torque. In this case, caliper brakes are an excellent choice because they provide consistent braking force.

Another benefit of caliper brakes is that they’re modular. This means you can configure them to meet your specific needs.

Additionally, caliper brakes offer high stiffness and low weight. So if you’re looking for a brake caliper that’s both powerful and strong, you have many options.

Types Of Brake Calipers


As you most likely know, caliper brakes are commonly used in the automotive industry. They provide reliable braking power. In addition, you can find caliper brakes on many different types of vehicles, including motorcycles and various recreational vehicles.


You can also find industrial brake calipers on construction equipment and agricultural settings. They’re also used often for material handling equipment.

Industrial Settings

You’ll often see caliper brakes used in industrial settings. They provide reliable braking power and are capable of withstanding high temperatures.

Hose Reels

Industrial brake calipers can provide a constant braking force. This kind of force is necessary for winding and unwinding heavy hoses.


Indexers are devices that move workpieces in a specific direction. For example, you’ll frequently see caliper brakes used in assembly lines and machine shops with this equipment.

Printing Presses

Caliper brakes are also used in printing presses. Again, this is because caliper brakes can provide a consistent braking force, which is necessary for the printing process.

Wind Energy

Companies also use caliper brakes for wind energy. With brake calipers, operators can regulate the speed of the turbine. In this way, caliper brakes help to improve unit efficiency.

CNC Machinery

CNC manufacturing companies often make use of caliper brakes. This equipment enables them to maintain the position of workpieces.

Choosing The Right Caliper Brakes

It can prove challenging to figure out the right caliper brake for your application. In some instances, you could need a custom-built solution. Fortunately, some designers can help.

A designer will assess your specific needs and help you choose caliper brakes capable of meeting those needs. Additionally, a designer can provide a custom-made caliper.

Creating The End Product

After understanding your needs, an engineer might begin the caliper brake design process by researching the best caliper brake for your specific application.

For example, you could need an automatic braking function for your application. This may involve a review of existing caliper brake patents and designs and other related facts.

However, for a custom solution, they’ll make a prototype of the caliper brake. Then, they’ll use the prototype to test caliper brake design concepts and caliper brake materials. Finally, after the engineer is satisfied with the prototype results, they’ll begin production of your caliper brake.

We Can Help You Build The Perfect Caliper Brake For Your Needs

We hope our brief guide on industrial caliper brakes has given you a better understanding of this equipment. If you need caliper brakes for your unique industrial application, Kor-Pak can help.

We specialize in OEM and custom-manufactured caliper brakes and other industrial equipment. We can also help you source specialty equipment such as automatic brake parts.

Please contact us today to discuss your industrial equipment sourcing needs.

A Quick Guide to Brakes and Clutches for Agricultural Machinery

Did you know that the largest industry in agriculture is food and manufacturing? Americans even spend 12% of their household budgets in this sector. Agriculture also expands to farm-related industries with their machinery.

The keys to effective control in any agricultural machinery are brakes and clutches. These friction materials keep them running and are crucial in the agriculture industry.

How do brakes and clutches work, and are there different kinds available? Read on to learn more about these friction materials.

Brakes and Clutches Function

Brakes and clutches transfer torque from an input shaft to an output shaft. In simpler words, they stop and hold weight. You get them as separate parts, but they merge into a single clutch-brake unit.

Engaging the clutch transfers power from an engine to transmission or drive sprockets. Disengaging the clutch stops the power transfer, but the engine continues turning. Braking stops or slows the movement of connected shafts.

The type of brakes or clutches depends on how they engage or disengage the load. Therefore, machine operators also classify them by the method used to operate them.


The friction type is the most common brake or clutch in an agricultural application. It engages or stops a load. It happens by creating friction between two matching surfaces.

The first surface is metallic, usually made of iron. It forms into a drum, band, or disc.

The second surface has friction facing from molded organic material. It has a heat-cured resin binder, either a shoe, pad, or plate.


A disc-type brake or clutch has a single friction plate with a disc in its most basic form. It’s a single unit that combines clutching and braking duties.


A drum-type has cylindrical friction surfaces with a common axis or shaft. It transmits high torque and is perfect for off-road equipment.


A cone is a cross between drum and disc types. However, they no longer use it in modern agricultural machinery.


Electromagnetic type brakes and clutches are helpful when a unit needs a variable slip. They use electromagnetic attraction over friction to do their function.


Magnetics are the most common electromagnetic type brakes and clutches. They are great for tensioning and positioning applications with continuous changes of speed.

Eddy Current

Variable speed devices use Eddy Current types. These brakes and clutches don’t operate at zero slip.


Hysteresis can provide any amount of graft. It’s needed not to exceed the heat dissipation capacity of the unit.


Mechanical type brakes and clutches are also called self-activating types. They transfer torque via a direct mechanical connection of input and output components.

  • Square Jaw – consists of square teeth locking into mating recesses in facing members
  • Spiral Jar – used to overcome the limited engagement speeds of square jaw types
  • Multi-tooth – offer the advantages of mechanical lockup clutches
  • Sprag – has cylindrical inner and outer races, together with sprags filling the space
  • Wrap Spring – a coiled spring links its input shaft and output shaft
  • Roller Ramp – transfer torque through rollers riding on the ramped surface of a hub

Mechanical brakes and clutches are often the least expensive. They assemble well for engaging and disengaging shafts.

Know More About Agricultural Machinery

Brakes and clutches are behind the effective control of agricultural machinery. They disconnect and connect the power source and slow or stop the system.

If you’re looking for the best industry parts and services, Kor-Pak is here to help. Check us out for more information.

Types of Stromag Brakes and Clutches

American Industrial Machinery Wholesaling was worth over $300 billion in 2022. They produce machine parts used in the transportation and manufacturing industries.

Stromag is a company that provides industrial solutions to its customers. They make brakes and clutches for machines for the agriculture and construction industries.

Do you want to learn more about Stromag brakes and clutches? Then, keep reading this article to learn more about Stromag brakes and clutches.

Types of Brakes

The American Machine Manufacturing sector employs more than 1.1 million people. They work with industrial machines that need to be consistent in performance. It includes parts like brakes and clutches to stop the machines when necessary.

Spring-Applied Multi-Disc Brakes KMB KLB works well with all types of hydraulic drives. It has a braking torque with the range of 50 to 500,000 Nm. This brake is available for wet and dry operations.

Another brake model is the Spring-Applied Multi-Disc Brake KMB ZM / KLB ZM. The braking torque ranges from 100 to 3,000 Nm and can be higher on request. The compact design works well for mounting between hydraulic motors and gears.

Stromag’s Spring-Applied Brake NFF has a braking torque ranging from 20 to 10,000 Nm. It offers a degree of protection up to IP 66. It has a wide range of options like braking torque and wear signs.

HPB High-Performance Brakes have a torque that ranges from 80 to 5,000 Nm. It’s flood and seawater-proof, making it ideal for marine applications. In addition, it has an optimized design for maximum performance in small places.

Maintenance for Stromag Brakes is essential to make sure they are running well.

Types of Clutches

Dry Running Diaphragm Clutches KHM 800 is one of the Stromag clutches available. This model has excellent engagement controllability and low wear and noise levels.

Stromag’s Dry Running Diaphragm Clutches KHM 800 is robust and powerful. It has a maximum speed of 2100 rpm and a static torque of 5.450 Nm at bar 28.

Another clutch model from Stromag is their Pole-Face Friction Clutches MWU. It operates through electromagnets for a clean actuation. This clutch model has a torque range of 7 to 7,8000 Nm.

The Pole-Faced Friction Clutches MWU has high wear resistance. It is from the steel-steel friction combination. It also has a high switching frequency and offers short switching times.

Wet Running Multi-Disc Clutches KMS are oil-cooled and operate through hydraulics. It has a rated torque of over 2,000,000 Nm. It has a diameter of 1.2 m and weighs 4 tons.

One of its features is its excellent torque to weight ratio. It also has remote control capability. In addition, it has a mechanical emergency operation device for hydraulic oil supply failure.

Know More About Stromag Brakes and Clutches

These are the Stromag brakes and clutches designed for industrial applications. Knowing your options is crucial in replacing machine parts. Stromag has a selection of products that lasts longer to avoid future complications.

Contact us for questions about Stromag brakes and clutches for your industrial machines. Let’s discuss your needs and help you get the products you need.


A Guide to How Eddy-Current Brakes Work

An object in motion produces kinetic energy. The amount is equal to half its mass multiplied by its velocity squared.

Double the mass means double the energy. However, double the velocity equals four times the latter.

The kinetic energy must go somewhere else to stop a moving object. Mechanical brakes achieve this goal using friction. Rubbing two surfaces together converts it to heat, halting them. 

However, using friction for massive and fast objects presents several issues. It is where eddy current brakes enter the scene. If you want to learn how they work, keep reading below.

The Technology Behind Eddy Current Brakes

Eddy current brakes rely on electromagnetism to stop moving objects. It dissipates kinetic energy as heat through looping electric currents inside a conductor.

These are eddy currents. Changing magnetic fields induce an opposite magnetic field. It swirls inside the material instead of flowing away as an electrical current would with a wire.

Following Lenz’s law, these currents don’t have a random direction. Instead, they flow opposite of the initial magnetic field.

The moving conductor faces a drag force from the opposite direction, proportional to its velocity. The flowing current generates heat from kinetic energy through the electrical resistance. They try to stop whatever’s causing them, allowing us to use the eddy current technology for brakes.

The result is a clean deceleration, unlike a sudden force from friction. Eddy current brakes are low-maintenance since they need no physical contact between components to produce braking energy. The materials don’t wear out as fast as in a mechanical brake.

Eddy Current Brake Design

How does an electric brake create eddy currents? One design uses a non-ferromagnetic conductive disc, which rotates perpendicularly in a toroidal magnetic field.

The rotation of the disc induces eddy currents. As a result, the power generated dissipates throughout the material, creating a braking torque force.

The eddy current braking technology usually uses electromagnets. However, unlike permanent magnets, these types can change. As a result, the braking effect can vary as well.

Applications of Eddy Current Brakes

One caveat of eddy current brakes is that they can’t produce a holding torque. As such, they commonly exist alongside a mechanical feature. 

You’ll find this combination in several applications, such as the gym. Modern exercise equipment uses this technology to vary resistance levels. Unfortunately, it also helps avoid abrupt shifts in pace, potentially harming the users.

You’ll also see eddy current brakes in the amusement park. Huge, heavy machines need a secure braking system to keep the experience fun and safe. With this technology, roller coasters can slow down at designated spots and stop quickly and safely when needed.

Power tools and industrial equipment also rely on this technology for emergency shut-off purposes. For example, Eddy currents can bring a high-powered machine to a sudden stop.

Learn More About Eddy Current Brakes

Eddy current brakes offer a safer experience for everyone, even in our daily lives. As a result, several industries use this technology as a crucial part of their safety measures.

There are also more types of brakes for other applications. Are you looking for eddy current brakes? To learn more, contact us today.

What Are the Basics of Hydraulic Systems?

The global hydraulics market reached a value of $37.4 billion in 2020.

Hydraulic systems are widely used for various purposes and can vary significantly in their design. But what is a hydraulic system? And how do they work? 

To find out, keep reading.

What Is a Hydraulic System?

Pascal’s law states that a change in pressure in an enclosed fluid is transmitted undiminished to all points in the fluid. This is the main principle behind hydraulic systems.

A system can apply a small amount of pressure and generate a much larger force. For example, if 10 pounds of force are exerted against an area of 1 square inch, it will create ten psi of internal pressure. If this is acting against an area of 10 square inches, it will generate 100 pounds of force.

Hydraulic System Components

A basic hydraulic system will have the following components:

  • Single Cylinder
  • Pump
  • Reservoir
  • Relief valve
  • 3-way directional control valve
  • Connectors
  • Lines

When the cylinder position returns using mechanical force, the control valve will be in neutral. This allows the fluid to flow through the valve and into the reservoir. When the valve shifts, the oil will travel to the piston side of the cylinder, making it move and causing the rod to extend.

If the valve is returned to neutral the oil will be trapped in the cylinder, which will stop it from moving. Pump flow then returns to the reservoir, and the valve shifts to the opposite direction causing the oil to travel back through and into the reservoir.

The system pressure can be pre-set, and the relief valve stops the pressure from exceeding this amount.

Hydraulic System Examples

The above description covers a fundamental hydraulic system. However, many different types are used in various industries, covering many applications.

Hydraulic Lifts

Hydraulic lifts are perfect for lifting and moving people or objects vertically. Mezzanine lifts and scissor lifts are two common examples, and hydraulic lifts are also used in shipping, construction, and waste removal.

Hydraulic Brakes

Braking systems in vehicles need to be very effective and reliable. Hydraulic brakes are an efficient way of providing braking force without the driver needing to apply too much pressure.

Hydraulic Steering

Hydraulic steering makes controlling vehicles easy and comfortable. The driver can steer with minimal effort, and the system absorbs some of the shocks that come from the road.

Hydraulic Jacks

Floor jacks and bottle jacks are ideal for lifting vehicles with ease. In addition, the hydraulic system can lift a vehicle off the ground without assistance.


A lot of equipment in the construction industry makes use of hydraulic systems. A typical example is hydraulic cranes, which can be fixed, or truck mounted.


Aircraft use hydraulic systems in several parts. This can include:

  • Doors
  • Brakes
  • Landing gears
  • Steering
  • Wings

Hydraulic systems are perfect for aircraft as they are easy to maintain and work well in all conditions.

Reliable Hydraulic Systems

If you need a hydraulic crane, or any parts/maintenance, the team at Kor Pak has you covered. Click here to contact us today and find out how we can help you.