5 Things You Need to Know About Hydraulic Swivels

Posted on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 in UEA Blog


A hydraulic swivel is a rotational manifold that transmits fluid power from a stationary object to a rotational object.  It usually mounts in conjunction with an electrical slip ring into the center of rotation of some type of machinery.  The nature of the assembly often dictates a custom designed hydraulic swivel, as there are many factors that are too complex to be addressed with an off the shelf unit.  When a customer asks UEA to build a swivel for their application, accurate and thorough information about the application is essential for a cost effective and robust unit.  Here are 5 items you need to be aware of when looking to have a swivel built.

  1. The swivel is built to YOUR specs.  The internal components are built around the external interfaces between your assembly and our hydraulic swivel.  It cannot be stressed enough that an accurate and exhaustive description of the assembly is required for a successful hydraulic swivel, but fret not, UEA knows what questions to ask.
  2. It all adds up.  UEA designs the swivels to handle the flows and pressures suitable for the application, and typically also includes a center thru hole for the slip ring harness.  We build the swivel from the inside out.  The final footprint and to a larger extent, price, is based on the sum of the internals.
  3. Wrench clearance:  depending on your application there may be lots of elbow room to work in or it may be a very confined space.  Also, the amount and size of ports affect wrench clearance.  The more you can describe your larger assembly that our swivel will be fitting into, the happier we can keep your assembly personnel and field mechanics.
  4. Cleanliness matters:  As you have read about in another UEA TECH TALK blog by fellow UEA Engineer, Bo LI, we have built the infrastructure to keep the swivel at the 18/16/13 cleanliness level.  Not only is it important for your assembly that the swivel is kept clean; it is important that the hydraulic fluid within your assembly stays as clean as possible. Clean fluid will ensure the swivel has a long life.
  5. Torque arms and rotational constraints.  According to our Technical Sales Engineer who has 16 years experience within the swivel industry, the most common type of failure within the swivel industry is improperly applied torque constraints.  Due to the complex nature of this issue, it is best if you discuss your torque arm ideas with us.

These items are general in nature, further clarification of the system the swivel goes into will dictate whether or not all of these items are legitimate concerns or not.  The hydraulic team at UEA will help you develop a swivel that is designed for your system AND is cost effective. The best of both worlds!

Brady Haugo

Design Engineer

Are you considering a hydraulic swivel and have questions that need to be answered prior to making a decision? Our whitepaper 6 Questions to Ask Before Getting a Hydraulic Swivel, examines the 6 critical questions that one should ask prior to making a hydraulic swivel decision.

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