How do the Hydraulics in a Tipper Truck Work?

A hydraulic tipper is a type of construction machine, and a road truck, that uses hydraulics to lift and tip a carry tray. The tray is attached to the tipper body via a hinge, and hydraulic cylinders are used to raise and lower the tray. When the tray is raised, the materials in the load are released and fall out. Sounds simple, but isn't. A hydraulic tipper truck uses a hoist mechanism filled with liquid to raise the dump body - the materials handling tray of the truck - to empty it. The pressure in the confined system is increased by applying force to one place only, allowing the pistons and cylinders to function well. (For you trained engineers out there, Pascal's Law explains it - we talk about that below.) When you use it correctly, a hydraulic tipper truck can make the work of unloading heavy materials much easier. This relatively simple system can lift tens of thousands of kilos of dirt.

The Principals of Hydraulics in Tipper Trucks

All truck-mounted hydraulic systems, no matter their application, share the same basic components and operating principles. These systems use a power source, reservoir, pump, directional control valve, and actuators to move fluid in order to achieve a force goal. The system begins with mechanical power in the form of a rotating shaft, converts it to hydraulic power with the pump, channels it through moving parts like valves and pipes, and then converts it back to mechanical force. A hyrdraulic system sends and controls the application of force while it is in the form of fluid power. All hydraulic applications either require or are based on flow and pressure. Flow, which is expressed in litres per minute (LPM), determines the speed at which a hydraulic cylinder extends or a hydraulic motor turns. The pump produces flow. Pressure, PSI (pounds per square inch), measures the amount of force exerted and occurs when flow meets resistance-- it's not produced by the pump but tolerated by it instead. The operational horsepower of a hydraulic system is determined by the formula: Pressure results from restriction on flow. HP = GPM × PSI ÷ 1,714 Pascal's Law.

History of Hydraulics


This handsome devil invented hydraulics in the 1600s... and the long, curly mullet - both prolifically found on Australia's construction sites today. Seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal discovered the basis for hydraulics, which was later named Pascal's Law. This law states that when pressure is applied to a limited liquid, it will be distributed evenly at right angles to all surfaces of its container without loss or change in strength.

Oil is almost incompressible, meaning that any force used on one end of an oil-filled tube or hose will immediately be transferred to the other side. You need both flow and pressure to make hydraulics work, so it's vital to remember the difference between these two factors when working with oil. Hydraulic switches that are switched on and off by a channel pressure determine the speed of the actuator. System force is determined by flow rate and pressure, whereas system speed is determined by channel pressure. A hydraulic system that will not lift a weight has either a pressurization problem or a friction problem. One that works slowly only does so because it loses its power.

Maintaining Hydraulic Tippers & Safety

The major risks with hydraulics-operated tipper trays are during maintenance. “Performing maintenance work underneath the tray of a tipper truck exposes skilled tradespeople to extraordinary danger,” according to Worksafe Australia. An unexpected release or movement of the truck bed will almost certainly result in death. You should never undertake maintenance on a tipper truck unless you a certified diesel fitter or diesel mechanics. While the hydraulic dump tray is raised, moisture can cause damage to hydraulic hoses or motors, as well as electrical wires. It's critical for someone to crawl beneath the hydraulic dump tray while it's positioned up. Always use the manufacturer's prop to support the tray while it's elevated.

A truck with a firmly attached support system should be used. Do not place your body between the dump body and the truck frame without an approved support device in place, as it may endanger you. Props constructed of whatever materials are available on-site may not be able to completely support the weight or shift during use. If a prop does not lift the body enough, check with the manufacturer for an additional prop or for their recommendations if they offer one. The other major safety issue with tippers is ensuring the safe operation of the vehicle during work. Click here to view the types of licenses you need to operate a tipper.

Types of Tipper Trucks

A tipper truck (also known as a dumper) is a road registerable vehicle with an open-box bed behind which is tilted with hydraulic systems for dumping materials. We consider this very different from a dump truck at iseekplant - dump trucks in our language mean offroad yellow machines like articulated dump trucks, or rigid rear dump trucks. Tippers - are every class of road registered vehicle used in heavy haulage. Tippers do vary quite a bit in rates - so click here for a comprehensive study on tipper rates. At iseekplant we reckon there are several different types of tipper trucks and all of them operate hydraulic systems for when they are lift, and expunging materials, from their tray. The types of trays, the size, the number of trays and the way it which it dumps materials all defines what type of tipper sits in each of the subcategories:

If you are confused about the types of tipper you need to hire, then get 3 quotes from iseekplant and we can help you find the perfect truck for your materials handling needs.