Why Use Hydraulic Pump Kits?

To say that there are many moving parts during installation or service of large-scale turbomachinery would be an understatement. Each component plays a critical role, but one piece of equipment that is often overlooked is the hydraulic pump kit. Many variations of pump kits exist, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on manual and air driven pump kits.

Hydraulic pump kits help provide the flow of fluid that is needed to generate power for tooling or equipment processes that require it. In our industry, pump kits are often used in conjunction with the installation or removal of keyless tapered hubs, as well as tensioning studs and bolts on casings, flanges, bearing housings, or connection rods.

Both manual hydraulic pumps and air driven hydraulic pumps offer a number of advantages over mechanical solutions. Some of these include versatility and reliability with a broad range of applications. In addition, the element of repeatability is offered for pressure output.

That’s a lot of information to process for just one component of the installation process. But to take it another (important) step further, selecting the appropriate pump kit is just as crucial as having one in the first place.

When selecting a pump kit for your next application, the three questions outlined below can serve as a guide for your selection. Choosing the right pump for the right job can actually cut down time spent on a job, which can ultimately translate to a savings on cost.

Types Of Hydraulic Pump Kits

Air Driven Hydraulic Pump Kits

An efficient, compact and portable high-pressure system that provides instant and reliable hydraulic power. Used for daisy chaining multiple tensioners or applications that require a high volume of hydraulic fluid.

Manual Hydraulic Pump Kits

Typically used in situations where the required volume of hydraulic fluid is minimal. Available configurations include a single pump design for small tensioning purposes or a dual pump design for hub installation applications.

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What is the required pressure output needed for your application?

First and foremost, you should consider the desired pressure rating that you need for your application. You will want to review the job with your engineering team and field service personnel to help determine the appropriate pressure output that is needed for your hydraulic equipment.

 Most hydraulic tooling and equipment will call out a maximum operating pressure, which will give you a good idea of what kind of pump kit you need.

 Manual pumps typically come in two pressure ranges: a low-pressure range and a high-pressure range. Low pressure pumps are rated for 10,000 psi or lower and are used to supply hydraulic pressure to a variety of hydraulic tooling. High pressure hydraulic pumps can reach operational pressures of up to 40,000 psi and are commonly used for dilation during the installation or removal of a keyless tapered coupling hub.

 Air driven pumps can be preset to a desired maximum pressure rating at the factory, and traditionally have a maximum operational pressure of 22,000 – 40,000 psi. Air operated hydraulic pumps are commonly used for tensioning bolts and nuts during the installation of compressors and other machinery.

Is a constant supply of hydraulic pressure needed for your application?

There will be times where you will find yourself in need of a varying supply of hydraulic pressure to your equipment or tooling in order to finish a job. Determining the type of supply that is needed will help you select the appropriate pump for the job.

 One of the main differences between a manual pump and an air driven pump is the quantity of hydraulic pressure that is supplied to your tooling or equipment.

 A manual pump will supply pressure with each stroke from the operator.

 This allows the operator to adjust the pressure going into their tooling or equipment without needing to be concerned about over-pressurizing or over-stroking. For example, the installation of a keyless tapered coupling requires the operator track the amount of travel the hub makes up the tapered shaft end.

 A Riverhawk hydraulic pusher mated with a low-pressure pump allows the operator to accurately install the coupling to the desired position along the tapered shaft while maintaining control of the hydraulic pressure feeding to the pusher tool.

 An air powered hydraulic pump constantly supplies a set amount of hydraulic pressure so long as the pump is actuated. This makes the pump ideal for operating multiple pieces of equipment at once without requiring constant mechanical input from the operator. An example of this would be the installation of a casing on a compressor.

 The casing requires multiple studs and nuts be properly and evenly tightened, which can be difficult to achieve through mechanical torquing methods. By utilizing an air driven pump and multiple Riverhawk hydraulic nuts daisy-chained in succession, hydraulic pressure is applied evenly to each of the nuts. This allows for even load distribution to each of the studs, thus eliminating the concerns of excessive or erratic bolt loads.

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Where will the hydraulic pump be used?

One factor that you may not have thought of, but is equally as important, is where the pump is going to be used.

 Not all jobs that require the use of a hydraulic pump will be performed in a repair shop or factory floor. You may be required to service equipment outdoors or in an environment with limited space. Having a pump kit that is compact and easily transportable will cut down on the time required to complete a job off-site.

 Manual pumps are lightweight and often come configured in a protective housing that is ideal for mobility. The hoses and other hardware may require a separate container or housing when transported.

 Air driven pumps come in a variety of styles and configurations that may or may not be suitable for transportation. Typically, higher rated air driven pumps are built into carts with solid casters, making them ideal for a shop setting, whereas lower rated air driven pumps come in aluminum boxes or similar housings that are more compact and easier to transport.

Other Considerations

In addition to the questions above, here are a few other points to consider:


– Does the pump that you select have a large enough reservoir to supply hydraulic fluid to your equipment and maintain the desired pressure?


– Does the pump that you need come with all of the necessary hoses and fittings to get the job done?


– Do you require safety devices in or on your pump (i.e., burst disc, remote operating switch, etc.) in order to operate it?
By using these questions as a guide, you can significantly reduce the time spent identifying and selecting the appropriate hydraulic pump for your application. In addition, the right hydraulic pump will serve you better regardless if you are in the field or in the shop.

 If you still need help making a selection or have a concern not outlined, our engineering staff are always available to help address or answer any questions you may have.

David Albright

David Albright is a Mechanical Engineer for Riverhawk who specializes in hydraulic tooling designed for coupling installation and removal. David holds a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, and has been with Riverhawk Company since 2017.