Basic hydraulic training to downsize your downtime and improve productivity.

Basic hydraulic training to downsize your downtime and improve productivity.

Teach a man to fish

You're probably familiar with the adage "give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." When it comes to hydraulics and hydraulic troubleshooting, that kind of reasoning leads to "if you understand the what and why, you can work out the how."

We use "if you understand the what and why, you can work out the how" in a lot of ways.

Before the training

When we discuss training, we'll ask what kind of hydraulic training you'd like and why you want the training.

For most of our customers, the answer to "what" is "training focused on downsizing your downtime" and the "why" is "because you're tired of dealing with hydraulic problems that cause lost production and downtime." There are, however, other answers to those questions.

We have customers who manufacture equipment powered by hydraulics, and those customers want basic hydraulic training for their assembly workers in order to reduce startup problems and warranty claims.

Some of our customers are involved in the sales of equipment that uses hydraulics, and those companies want basic hydraulic training that helps their personnel understand how their equipment works and talk intelligently with customers about their products.

When we understand what training you want, why you want the training, we'll work out how to adapt our course material to provide exactly the results you want.

The first part of training

We spend a few minutes at the beginning of training asking the participants what they hope to gain from the training and why. This allows us to fine-tune the presentation "on the fly" and make it even more relevant to the class members.

When training starts, we begin by discussing what hydraulics is, where hydraulics are used, why hydraulics are used, and how "hydraulics" work. Throughout the course, computer graphics, animation, and various training aids help explain, clarify, and demonstrate what the instructor is teaching.

We've all suffered through classroom style training where the instructor stays in one place, clicks a mouse button, reads the contents of one Power Point slide after another, and our biggest challenge is to stay awake. Rest assured that won't be the case with this training. The instructor moves around the room to insure everyone is engaged, class members actively participate in the training, individual and small group activities reinforce and drive home the information being learned, and participants learn to work out the solutions to "real world" hydraulic problems.

Before lunch

In all our courses, by the time lunch rolls around on the first day of training, class participants understand how "hydraulics", hydraulic pumps, motors, relief valves, directional control valves, flow control valves, and cylinders operate, understand (and can draw) schematic symbols for all those component, are familiar with Pascal's law, understand pressure drop through hydraulic piping, know what causes a hydraulic pump to cavitate, understand the two most common causes of hydraulic component failure, have worked out at least a dozen ways to extend the life of a hydraulic pump, have solved problems where a cylinder doesn't provide enough output force to move a load, and worked out ways to reduce system heat by correctly setting flow control valves, relief valves, and pressure compensators. Throughout the morning, training about components and systems has included discussion good maintenance practices and how to safely work with hydraulics.

After lunch

After lunch class participants learn about an assortment of other hydraulic components, and also master pressure compensated and load sensing circuits, pressure intensification, and cylinder blind end output.

By the end of the day, the class is reading and understanding some fairly complicated hydraulic schematics. If you've provided hydraulic schematics, the class will have worked through them, identifying all the components on the schematic, and explaining the function of each component. In most courses, we've taken a few side trips to discuss issues and problems brought up by class members.

Throughout the day, the instructor provides the what and why, and allows class members to work out the how, which keeps everyone actively involved, improves understanding of the material, and helps develop the thought processes needed to apply the class material to downsizing your downtime.

Two and tree day classes

The material mastered on day 1 is virtually the same in all of our training. Many companies feel the 1 day Basic Hydraulics Boot Camp provides enough training to meet their goals.

The two day class and the three day course go into greater depth on much of the material, and provide class members with more time to absorb, practice, and master the material. It is not uncommon for a company to include equipment operators in day 1 of training, but have only maintenance and engineering personnel participate in any additional days.

During day 1 of training, we go into great detail about how a handful of hydraulic components, including reservoirs, hydraulic cylinders, relief valves, and pressure compensated piston pumps. Understanding, in detail, the internal operation of those particular components helps class participants master why "hydraulics" operate and understand how hydraulic components can be damaged.

There are other components, however, where day 1 covers only the what and the why. In the 1 day boot camp, participants learn that a sequence valve (the what) is placed in a hydraulic circuit to insure one part of the circuit functions before another (the why). We cover the how by simply saying that "internal parts shift."

In two and three day training, day 2 includes review of the components introduced in day 1, but instead of saying "internal parts shift," we spend time helping class members work out exactly how each and every component operates. This reinforcing all the information presented in day 1, and helps with troubleshooting various hydraulic problems and issues.

Day 3 reviews various hydraulic schematics and circuits in detail, with class participants asking and answering "what if" questions, and then working out solutions to any problems those questions may cause. For the greatest benefit, this should be done using hydraulic schematics of your system. Some "what if" examples are:

  • What if someone increased the pump's pressure compensator setting to the same as the system relief valve? What would happen to the hydraulic system? How could you troubleshoot the problem? How would you fix the problem? How would you know the problem was fixed?
  • What if your hydraulic motor speed dropped? What are some possible causes? How could you determine the exact cause of the slowdown? How could you fix the slowdown?
  • What if you had several machines that were virtually identical, and only one of them had problems with short component life and sticky valves?
  • What if your equipment worked perfectly in the morning, but moved slowly in the afternoon?

The biggest benefit of two day and three day training is it provides greater depth than the one day boot camp and gives your personnel the opportunity to practice and master troubleshooting skills without the pressure of equipment being down and out of service.

If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please call Rob Fish at 708-328-6121 or email him at

If you'd like to mail schematics to us instead of using email, please mail your schematics to:

Rob Fish
Customized Creations
9520 Monroe Ave
Brookfield IL 60513


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