Hydraulic Orbital Motors and Their Applications - Impro Precision


Hydraulic Orbital Motors and Their Applications

February 21st, 2023

If mobile equipment like skid steers and aerial work platforms didn’t use hydraulic orbital motors they would be bulkier, heavier and harder to control. In all probability, performance would be inferior too.

A hydraulic orbital motor is the best source of high torque at low speed. They are used in many mobile, and quite a few static applications and can simplify equipment design while delivering better performance than is possible from electric motors. Here’s a look at what they are and where they should be used.

Operating Principles

To identify good applications it helps to understand the principles of how these motors work. A hydraulic motor works in a similar way to a pump. The difference is that rather than rotary motion producing fluid flow and pressure, flow and pressure produce rotary motion.

Hydraulic motors take various forms: those most suitable for high torque applications use the orbital or gerotor design. This employs a precision-machined stator with internal teeth and a rotor with one fewer teeth. Fluid, delivered through a distribution valve, pushes the rotor around inside the stator. The tooth differential makes the output shaft turn slowly while the gearing effect multiplies the torque.

Impro Fluidtek produces hydraulic orbital motors in a range of displacements. Engineered as a compact package, these meet the requirements of mobile and industrial applications for up to 1,200 Nm of torque at low rpms. Models are available for low flow, high pressure applications.

Applications Overview

Impro Fluidtek motors are intended for demanding applications where loads can spike suddenly and space is at a premium. They are efficient and produce high levels of torque for their size. Ideal for direct-drive applications, they can reduce equipment size, weight and complexity, and avoid the expense of a transmission. Models are available for dealing with significant side loads. Their compactness makes them suitable for use as wheel motors.

Housings and seals are designed for wet, dirty and dusty environments where particulates could otherwise enter bearings and the hydraulic system. Motors are produced with a range of shaft couplings to suit compatible equipment.

Mobile Applications for Hydraulic Orbital Motors

Equipment that uses hydraulic orbital motors, or that should be using them, includes:

  • Scissor lifts and other aerial work platforms – low speed controllability enhances operator safety and confidence
  • Agricultural, forestry and landscaping equipment – skid steers are one popular application
  • Highway maintenance and construction vehicles – hydraulic motors power sweeper brushes, backhoe bucket and arm actuation, travel motors and more
  • Material handling applications – tugs and similar equipment are good uses

Static and Industrial Applications

High torque makes hydraulic orbital motors the first choice for long, heavy-duty conveyor systems as used in mines, quarries, ports and other bulk material handling applications. Closely related, these motors can also power augers and other screw conveyors.

Industrial machinery benefiting from the high torque and compact size of these motors includes injection molding machines, mixers and rolling mills.

A Track Record In Hydraulic Orbital Motion

Rugged and durable hydraulic orbital motors deliver high torque from a compact package. They are ideal for mobile applications in wet, dirty or dusty environments. Suitable for direct drive and wheel motor applications, they can eliminate the expense, bulk and weight of complex transmission systems. Their ability to handle sudden load spikes and provide smooth, controllable motion improves safety in mobile applications.

Impro Fluidtek has over four decades of hydraulic motion industry experience. If you need a motor for a mobile, industrial or other application, contact us.


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