Building a Safety System

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High-pressure and high-temperature systems typically need an emergency safety system. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems, particularly, require pressure release and mechanical emergency stop functions. These systems can be dangerous if not properly maintained and if these important safety features are not installed and kept in functional order.

Safety Valves

Safety valves are fairly simple, mechanically speaking, and the foundation of most hydraulic and pneumatic safety systems. Safety valves, i.e. Kunkle Safety Valves, vary in composition and functionality — some being mechanical others electrical — but most systems should have at least one safety relief valve. These valves have the very simple job of sensing when a system exceeds a pre-set temperature or pressure threshold and then venting to bring those values back into to proper threshold.

Emergency Stops

Emergency stops are user-initiated machine stops that immediately shut down the function of a system. While safety valves primarily are designed to protect the machinery, emergency stops are designed to protect the employee (a much more valuable asset). Most pre-packaged systems are required to include an emergency stop system and many custom systems are legally required to integrate this feature. In any case, emergency stop systems should be regularly tested to ensure that they would function in the unfortunate case that they are needed in an emergency.


Safety systems are integrated into your larger system. As such, these systems need to be tested with regularity and checked in the event of larger malfunctions. When troubleshootingyour system, you should have a predetermined list of components to check for maintenance. This list should not be exclusive, as components not on the list may malfunction, but it will give you a decent place to start. Nearly any time any component is replaced, or your system is modified, emergency systems should generally be checked and tested before operation resumes.

Safety should be among the top priorities of any organization that utilizes hydraulic systems. Emergency stops and safety valves are an excellent place to start.