Hydraulic Valves Seal the Deal for Fuel-Economy

by Breana Cronk, IQS Editor

This summer the price of a gallon of gas is expected to reach up into the $3.00 to 3.50 range. While this pales in comparison to the over $4.00 per gallon prices of last summer, it is still a significant increase that keeps fuel-economy at the forefront of the average car owner’s mind. To save on gas, many turn to public transportation. With city budgets dwindling, however, fuel-economy and vehicle efficiency is still of the utmost importance. Engineers and researchers have designed numerous studies and projects around this point and come up with several methods to improve the efficiency of mass transit and domestic vehicles alike. One of the simplest and most practical solutions is the introduction and installation of advanced hydraulic valves into new and pre-existing internal combustion engines popular in both gasoline and diesel vehicles.

With cars and public transit in high use fuel-economy is increasingly important.

In general, hydraulic valves are simple devices designed to control the transfer, flow, velocity and pressure of fluids within a system, in this case fuel. Each one has a main casing, a bonnet or panel for repairs, a seat and a disc. The specific configuration of these components determines the use of the valve. Hydraulic check valves prevent backflow, a potentially serious threat to engines and other hydraulic systems, while hydraulic control valves maintain proper levels of pressure within the system or engine compartment. Each of these has become an essential feature of the fuel injection systems that have all but replaced carburetors as the primary fuel delivery system for most modern engines. The science of it is simple. A leaky valve causes imprecise fuel injections. Imprecise input results in imprecise engine efficiency which in turn decreases optimal operation.

Photo courtesy of Fulflo Specialties, Inc.

To improve and ensure the proper operation of these valves, most companies have turned to the use of electric hydraulic valves. These devices are remotely controlled and use high-tech sensors which determine the precise amount of fluid which must be permitted to pass through the valve into the combustion chamber for optimum engine operation. In hydraulic manifolds, or systems that use a number of valves in conjunction with one another, this means that the lift and timing of each valve opening and closure can be fully controlled independently of each other and of other cylinders during a single engine stroke. Such direction allows for immense improvements especially when feedback sensors reliably compute the overall functionality of the valve system. The use of these valves and corresponding sensors and intelligent controls can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10% offering significant savings and improved efficiency.

An example of a fuel injector manifold setup.

While the word efficiency is most closely related to fuel usage, improved hydraulic valve technology improves more than just the mileage of a vehicle. Beyond this, these devices eliminate up to 10% of harmful emissions. This is not only crucial as standards and regulations become increasingly strict, but also provides an indication of engine optimization which is proven in the power delivery gains that may likewise be as high as 10%. Fewer leaks and precision fluid injection result in the overall betterment of fuel powered vehicles providing the efficiency, stability and reliability that may not be available at the gas pump.

A variety of hydraulic valve configurations.
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