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The following pages go through all standard ISO symbol information as it applies to hydraulic and pneumatic schematics. There are still many plants that modify the standards to suit some individual's taste. This widespread practice may be confusing to novices. Symbols have been developed to represent most of the available fluid power components. However, some parts must be made up of combinations of different symbols to show how they function. Other times there is no standard symbol and one must be made up.
In such cases, look first in the supplier's catalog for the symbol they show. If the supplier did not make a symbol, the only other option is design one for the new part.
Try to design the new symbol using standard practices shown here. As the phrase fluid power implies, these symbols cover both hydraulic and pneumatic components. Any exceptions are noted. Read more about hydraulic symbology in a series from author Josh Cosford.
The complexity of these components are difficult to represent fully so hydraulic symbol circuits are used instead. Hydraulic symbols provide a clear representation of each hydraulic component functions. This is due to each one wanting their drawings to stand apart from other drawings found in the industry.
The symbols that represent hydraulic components typically display the following characteristics: function, actuation and return actuation methods, number of connections and switching positions, general operation principle, and simplified representation of the hydraulic flow path.
Characteristics that are not included in order to simplify the circuit are the size or dimensions of the component, manufacturer of the parts, operation of the ports, physical details of the elements, and any unions or connections other than junctions. The purpose of this refresher is to help identify some of the universally accepted basic symbols that you can use to create your own drawings and read drawings from other sources.
The image above highlights some of the most common symbols used for hydraulic circuits. Hydraulic Pipes Hydraulic flow lines are depicted as single straight lines for both pressure and return lines. Pilot flow lines are drawn as dashed or dotted lines.
They only transmit pressure feed or small pilot flows. Manifold and assembly boundaries are alternating dash lines.
These are used for identifying the physical limit of group valves or equipment. Hose lines are drawn as an arc with a dot at each end to indicate their connection points. A dot is also used to show where crossing lines have a physical intersecting connection with each other.
If lines cross with no dot, they do not connect. Lastly, a reservoir or an open atmospheric point is shown as a cup symbol.
Ball Valves and Isolators Double triangles are used to indicate ball valves and isolator valves. When the triangles are drawn in black the valve is normally closed and a clear triangle indicates the valve is open.
The circular symbol with a two lines at a 90 degree angle is a 3-way ball valve. The symbol shows three port connections and the two lines connected are shown in the normal position. Different connection layouts can be shown in the middle of the circle to indicate layout and connection variations.
Shuttle Valve Load sensing systems commonly use shuttle valves. Their design ensures that the highest pressure is always fed to the top connection.
In the symbol, there is ball valve and when it encounters two different pressures, the ball will move either way to let the maximum pressure flow towards the top connection. The symbol example here shows that flow goes from the top to the bottom only when the pressure is higher than the rating of the spring.
A common good practice is to write the spring pressure next to the check valve. Pilot Operated Check Valves In the symbol example here, the dashed line is used to indicate the pilot line. The pilot line is used to open the check valve and let the flow back through the valve. The bottom symbol in the image above is a common format for a double pilot operated check sandwich plate valve.