While sometimes overlooked, hydraulic reservoir design and implementation is very important in a hydraulic system (so much so that a Machinery Lubrication published an article "Why the Tank May Well Be a Hydraulic Fluid's Best Friend").
In addition to its fundamental duty of fluid storage, a well-designed reservoir also dissipates heat, provides time for contamination to fall out of the fluid, and for air bubbles to rise to the surface and dissipate. (A traditional, non-application specific, rule of thumb for tank sized to handle all these functions well is 3 to 5 times "Q", where "Q" equals the pump discharge rate.)
While larger capacity tanks with more surface area and baffles can help improve all of these functions, hydraulic system designers are increasingly being asked to do the opposite. Keeping reservoirs as small as possible lowers overall system weigh, requires less room, and requires less lubricant. (Hydraulics & Pneumatics has a great article on the topic titled "Fundamentals of Hydraulic Reservoirs - When it comes to reservoir design, bigger is not necessarily better. In fact, the trend is to provide smaller reservoirs.", that is well worth the read.)
Faced with conflicting demands, how can hydraulic system designers keep reservoirs working effectively while shrinking the overall system footprint?
On solution to consider are aluminum hydraulic reservoirs. Widely used and popular throughout Europe, they are increasingly being adopted by companies across North American. A primary benefit of aluminum reservoirs is the fact that they have a higher heat dissipation than steel. In some cases, this additional heat dissipation may even be enough to eliminate an external heat exchanger from a system (saving overall space, initial system procurement cost, and indefinite system operational run time costs).
Second to heat dissipation, aluminum reservoirs reduce lifetime maintenance costs as they do not need to be painted and repainted (as steel tanks may rusts).
Third, within a given size range, aluminum reservoirs nest within each other, allowing for reduced floor space demands when holding inventory.
Should you desire to learn more about aluminum reservoirs, please check out Lovejoy's Reservoirs and Accessories website product page or Lovejoy's Tanks / Reservoir and Accessories full PDF catalog.
Bonus New Product Update: While Lovejoy has long offered 6 standard sizes of aluminum reservoirs through 70 liters (18.5 gallons), Lovejoy's sister company in Germany (R+L Hydraulics) recently released a 130 liter reservoir with an effective volume of 123 liters. This product is readily available from Lovejoy and Lovejoy authorized distributors in the North American market. As of the release of this blog post, literature for this latest largest size is current only available for it on the R+L website, which can be found by clicking here.