HydraForce Insider Blog

Suggestions for Cost-Effective Hydraulic Manifold Design

Posted by David Price on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 @ 08:03 AM

Great things come in small packages. In the case of an integrated hydraulic circuit, the smaller, the better. Among the many benefits of a made-to-order block is the ability to achieve a smaller size through a more intelligent design. The 3D layout feature in i-Design will help you conceptualize your design in order to achieve a smaller hydraulic integrated circuit.

In this post I will attempt to clarify the common pricing modifiers that will affect the cost of a hydraulic manifold.

If you are not already familiar with HydraForce's manifold design software called i-Design, you can GO HERE to download a copy today , or contact your local HydraForce distributor to request a copy in disc. HydraForce continues to invest in and refine its i-Design software, and the best part of all: it's FREE!  In 2008, as part of our refinement efforts, HydraForce embarked on a comprehensive research project that included our manifold designers, purchasing department, and our manifold suppliers. The objective of this research was to further refine the scheme we use for pricing manifolds in i-Design by factoring-in the less tangible features of a manifold such as the number of cavities on a surface, the number of ports on a surface, and the mix of large and small cavities. We did this research to develop a better pricing model for our custom manifolds, but the results also offer valuable insight for those of you that design and manufacture their own manifold blocks. Each of the following features has an effect on the complexity and ultimately the cost of the manifold block itself. Unlike a copy of i-Design, spindle time and material are not free.  With the release of i-Design 2.0 in 2008, we included pricing rules for the following manifold modifiers:

• Extra port spacing.
• Cavity mix.
• Number of cavities.
• Number of cavities and/or ports on a surface.
• Ratio of large and small valves.

Extra port spacing for ease of installing fittings is self-explanatory, additional material is required. The cavity mix influences the price because a variety of 08 and 12 size cavities, for example, will require additional cross drills to connect the cavities. Depending on the arrangement, the number of valves or ports on a particular surface can also increase the complexity and the size of the manifold, therefore increasing the cost.
Some of these cost factors are not triggered until you lock components and ports to particular surfaces. If we receive an i-Design that includes a manifold layout, but the valves and ports are not locked to particular surfaces or locations, then we interpret the layout as simply a suggestion rather than a necessity. If a particular layout is desired, please use the locking feature in i-Design.
Another factor that influences the cost of a manifold is being required to conform to an existing mounting pattern. As you can see from the examples below, the additional material and machining will add cost to the manifold block.

Two manifolds
Two functionally equivalent manifolds
with different mounting hole arrangements.

Original Mounting pattern
Manifold design using the original mounting pattern.

Compact Manifold
More compact version of the manifold.

In conclusion, if you have a manifold design that has a specific mounting configuration that must be adhered to, be aware, it may increase the overall cost of the manifold. If HydraForce needs to conform to a mounting configuration, please use the locking feature in the 2D or 3D layout pages. Being flexible with your manifold requirements gives HydraForce and other manifold designers the freedom to provide you with an optimized, efficient, cost-effective design.

If you would like more information about i-Design,
please contact the i-Design Help Desk.


About the Author:

Craig Sinnott is a Regional Manager at HydraForce with more than 16 years of hydraulic experience. Contact Craig

Tags: cartridge valves, hydraulic manifold design, HydraForce, hydraulic integrated circuit, manifold design