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Hydrostatic drive is a type of power transfer that uses hydraulic pumps as opposed to a system of clutches, gears, and plates Hydrostatic drive also refers to a hydraulic drive system or a hydraulic power transmission. Hydraulic fluid under pressure is utilized as the mechanism to power or drive a transmission and commonly used in lightweight machinery such as garden mowers to more industrial-sized agriculture and construction equipment. A hydrostatic drive system consists of a self-contained hydraulic motor fed by a pump that is able to provide a continuous power curve as opposed to a gear-based transmission that experiences peaks and valleys in its power production cycle. As a result, a hydrostatic drive system is a considered a suitable application for engines with variable speed output.
Hydrostatic drive systems also differ according to the configuration of the pump and motor in the drive chain. They produce up to three different standard outputs: variable power; constant torque and variable power; and constant-power and variable torque. They are also further configured as being split transmission or integrated transmission. In a split transmission, the hydraulic motor is mounted from the rest of the drive components and adjoined to a power unit with hoses or tubing. In an integrated transmission system or a close-coupled transmission, the motor and pump are joined closer together, providing a shorter oil flow path and less likelihood of leakage. This type of hydrostatic drive is therefore more common in lightweight applications because of its compact size. Some benefits of having hydrostatic drive are the ability to handle heavier loads without sacrificing speed and the ability to provide instantaneous torque when heavy equipment stalls and needs to be restarted.