How Do I Choose A Hydraulic Oil Tank?

Published on 26 July 2022

A hydraulic tank, also known as a hydraulic reservoir, is an important piece of equipment for supplying hydraulic systems with fluid. They are fundamentally the storage area for your fluid, but on top of this, they also perform other important tasks such as allowing contaminants to settle and dissipating the heat through the walls of the system to cool the fluid.

Buying the right hydraulic tank for your job can be a tricky business, so we’ve put this blog together to help you out with the selection process. 

If you need any more assistance, the dedicated team at PCM Handling can help you find the right hydraulic tank for your application to ensure that the size, material and accessories are correct for your system. See our full range of hydraulic tanks here.

Choosing The Right Size Hydraulic Tank

One common misconception when buying hydraulic oil tanks is that bigger is better regardless of application. Whilst there is some truth in this (a larger size of the tank means a longer dwell time between containment settling cycles, dissipation and deaeration) there are still some other considerations to make. 

A key factor that will determine the size of your hydraulic tank is whether your system is an open or closed circuit. An open circuit hydraulic tank needs to have a capacity of around 3-5 x the pump flow rate per minute, allowing for a 10% air cushion in your calculations. For a stationary hydraulic tank system, this is easy to achieve, however, mobile units can be limited by weight and space. This means that a 2 x pump flow rate capacity is acceptable for mobile hydraulic tanks.

Closed-circuit systems should have a lower tank volume to avoid any excess fluid in the reservoir. Having a tank volume of 3-5 x the pump flow rate in a closed-circuit system may cause air buildups, increases in fluid temperature and ultimately slower operations.  

The return flow of your system should also be larger than that of the previous pump flow. It’s also crucial to take into account any accessories that can be added to your system, such as filters, suction and return line fittings or level and temperature gauges. 

When buying a hydraulic tank for your job, it’s important to take into account the requirements of your hydraulic system. At PCM Handling, we offer an extensive selection of hydraulic tanks to meet your requirements. 

Our Most Popular Hydraulic Tanks

50 ltr Steel Tank

A 50ltr steel tank is perfect for small loader cranes, recovery vehicles and car transport applications. This small hydraulic tank comes with a sight level gauge, filler breather and returns filter assy. 

100lt Steel Rear of Cab Tank

A 100lt Steel Rear of Cab Tank is designed to sit at the back of a cab and is manufactured to an exceptionally high standard. These hydraulic tanks are suitable for applications such as skip loaders, lorry loader cranes and recovery vehicle applications. Return filters assy, filler breather assy. sight level gauge and rubber mounts are included. 

225lt Aluminium Side Tank

The 225lt Aluminium  Side Tank is designed to be mounted at the side of your vehicle chassis. They are suitable for a wide range of applications from bulk tipping to lorry loader crane operation. These lightweight tanks come complete with sight level gauge, filler breather assy, return filler assy, rubbers, brackets and straps. 

Combination Tank

Combination tanks are perfect for saving space and weight. A tank is separated through a watertight baffle and is manufactured to constantly updated specifications. Combi tanks are made from the highest quality raw materials and subjected to two separate tests at the end of the manufacturing process to guarantee perfect efficiency. 

Top Tips For Choosing The Best Hydraulic Tank For The Job

Choosing the best hydraulic oil tank can be a confusing affair and there are some crucial considerations to make before you buy. As always, the PCM Handling team are available to help you choose the most suitable hydraulic tank for your application.

The first thing to mention might seem like an obvious one – you must consider that when your machinery shuts down it will drain the hydraulic fluid and store it in the tank. You must therefore have a hydraulic tank that is big enough to store the oil in your system. 

Considering the size of your hydraulic tank is key to a healthy system. To allow heat to dissipate from the tank, you need to have a reservoir that is around 10% greater in capacity than your minimum requirement. Another general rule to follow is that your tank should be around 3 times the rated output of your system, so a 30 ltr tank should be used for a  system with a 10 ltr per minute output.  

It is recommended that you invest in an inline or internal filter to help maintain the condition of your hydraulic tank. This will ensure your tank keeps working for longer and doesn’t get bogged down over time.  

Steel Vs Aluminium Hydraulic Tanks

The material you choose for your hydraulic tank will make it more suitable for some applications so there are some things to bear in mind. 

Aluminium hydraulic tanks are far lighter than steel, making them much easier to transport and install – especially important on transport and commercial vehicles. Even so, they remain tough and durable and are resistant to rust and corrosion which is especially crucial for working in harsh environments. Aluminium is also better at transferring heat so will allow you hydraulic fuel to cool down faster. 

A steel hydraulic oil tank will generally cost less than an aluminium, but will be heavier to move and install. Although they are tough and durable, they are more susceptible to rust and corrosion over time, especially if not correctly maintained. Steel is also a safe option as it has a high resistance to fire and heat. 

Why Choose PCM Handling?

PCM Handling have over 30 years of experience with supplying specialist equipment to the transport industry. Finding the right hydraulic tanks for your application can be confusing, but our team of experts are on hand to ensure you get the right system for your requirements. 

If you need any assistance at all when choosing your hydraulic oil tank, contact us and we will be able to point you in the right direction. Call us on 01327 842808 or visit our contact page to make an enquiry. 

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