Up until recently, manufacturers have had no real way to directly monitor the bladder integrity of individual accumulators. However, with the development of the bladder integrity system, it’s now possible to identify problems and find out about a defective bladder during operation.
This article will take a look at how a smart accumulator used to detect defects in an accumulator bladder can be beneficial. It will also detail how your business can benefit from implementing a bladder integrity system into your operations.
What are Accumulators?
Hydraulic accumulators and hydro-pneumatic accumulators are pressure vessels that have been designed and created to store fluids under pressure. Hydro-pneumatic accumulators, or compressed gas accumulators as they’re also known, are the most commonly used types of accumulator.
They’re made up of a cylinder that has two chambers separated by an elastic diaphragm and a floating piston, or a totally enclosed bladder. One of the two chambers contains hydraulic fluid and will be connected to the hydraulic line, while the second chamber contains an inert gas that’s under pressure.
The inert gas that’s used is most often nitrogen, and it’s used to provide the compressive force on the hydraulic fluid. As the amount of the compressed gas varies, the pressure of the gas (and subsequently the pressure on the fluid) also changes.
The main applications of accumulators include energy storage, emergency and safety functions, dampening and reducing of vibration, suction flow stabilisation, shock absorption, pulsation dampening, energy recovery, volume and leakage compensation, and weight equalisation. By using a smart accumulator, businesses can improve the performance of their entire hydraulic system and afford a greater level of safety for machinery operators.
The Importance of Monitoring Performance
As previously mentioned, there hasn’t been a readily available means of directly monitoring the bladder integrity of separate accumulators up until now. The development of the bladder integrity system is a welcome one indeed, as testing accumulators is both a time consuming and costly venture.
A bladder integrity system contains a bladder, adapter and electronic parts, and it can alert you if something is wrong in the bladder. If any fluid penetrates the bladder, it will be detected by an electronic sensor, and a signal will be transmitted to alert personnel.
As well as splits in the bladder, the bladder integrity system can also detect temperature and pressure, as these things can also be monitored electronically. A bladder integrity system is ideal for use on hydraulic accumulators that are equipped with emergency functions, including lubrication systems, mechanical seals, davits, remotely operated oil fields, refineries, booster stations and chemical plants.
From being used in accumulator stations on presses and plastic injection moulding machines through to use in unmanned plants such as remotely monitored oil fields, bladder integrity systems can be greatly beneficial.
They can also save companies a lot of time and money thanks to their constant monitoring, helping to alert personnel to possible problems with a bladder during the operation stage.
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