David McLean, hydraulics divisional manager at Tidyco Ltd., discusses the type of design, service and maintenance provision end-users and OEMs should insist on from their hydraulic and pneumatic products and system providers.

Fluid power equipment such as hydraulic power packs are typically found within a wide range of industries such as paper & packaging, steel, automotive, pharmaceutical, plant, wood, rail, marine, offshore, aerospace, agriculture and food& beverage.

I always encourage people to take a look around different sites with hydraulics in mind; then they will soon realise – if they had any doubt – that hydraulic applications are almost everywhere.

There have of course been significant advancements in electronic applications in recent years, allowing for greater control of systems through state-of-the-art electro-mechanical solutions. Precision mhas really come a long way. It doesn’t seem so long ago when many systems were based largely around fluid power related equipment, with little or no electronics involved. Take flying simulators, for example. There was a time when they were operated purely with hydraulic and proportional technology.

Today, many of these simulators have drives and positioners that are built on electronic technology, with greater levels of programmability.

This controllability aspect is also highly beneficial for end users and OEMs who are rightly focused on reducing their business’s carbon footprint. With this in mind, what many equipment vendors are promoting is not just converters but specialised motors that actually drive the hydraulics.

These are often referred to as smart motors, capable of automatically slowing down or raising the rpm as required in order that the user only uses what energy is required. This does indeed make more economic and environment sense than having a motor that is running constantly; creating unnecessary heat losses.

The initial investment for these types of motors can be considerable. However, if one factors into the savings in energy costs over the medium term, they are certainly a sound investment. Indeed, you are talking about around a two-year payback. Many of the larger equipment manufacturers, such as Parker and Bosch Rexroth, fully understand this smart side of our business, and there is a lot of R&D spend currently being invested in this type of technology within our industry.

Getting it right first time

However, when looking to source equipment and systems with a view to securing improved levels of accuracy, control, energy savings and ecofriendliness, it is important for OEMs and end users to get their purchasing decisions and system designs right from the outset in order to ensure they can immediately begin benefiting from what this technology can offer. With this in mind, I believe it is critical that they partner with a solutions provider that can not only supply the equipment but also has the right pedigree to provide a host of value-added benefits.

Tidyco’s hydraulics division, for example, can design electromechanical systems to the exact required specification of the customer’s application; regardless of what industry they operate in. Tidyco can also undertake complete on-site fault finding, diagnosis and rectification services.

The company also supplies all customers with access to a dedicated and secure online portal. This application allows clients to access job sheets, view invoices as well as request call outs.

So, when you have a specific system in mind, speak with the right people to fully realise your vision.

About the author

Marketing Manager at Tidyco Limited.