Hydraulic technology has been used in engineering for thousands of years. Hydraulic power was used by both the Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian civilisations for irrigation and ‘water clocks’. As well as this, engineers in the Persian Empire constructed water mill systems and canals which proved to be centuries ahead of their time.
However, it was much later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, that hydraulics as we know them today really began to take shape. Engineers Joseph Bramah and William Armstrong were innovators of the hydraulic press which became a vital piece of machinery during the industrialism of Britain. Hydraulics have gone on to impact the technology we enjoy today in a number of ways. Without hydraulics, mass production would never have been possible and the democratisation of leisure travel would never have occurred.
Although hydraulic systems are primarily used in commercial and industrial settings, there is a wide range of applications for hydraulic systems in our everyday lives. Here, we run through seven ways that hydraulic technology impacts our lives on a daily basis.
When using cars, vans and other automobiles, we come into close contact with hydraulic technology on an almost daily basis. Hydraulics are vital for the safety and operation of automobiles. Two areas, in particular, rely on hydraulics to operate effectively and safely.
Hydraulic brakes were patented in 1917 by American engineer Malcolm Loughead. These brake systems were first used on racing cars in 1914 and in passenger cars in 1921. A hydraulic brake system operates using pressure and brake fluid to halt the movement of a car. When the brake pedal is pressed, a rod applies pressure on pistols in a cylinder. This pressure causes the brake fluid to flow into a chamber and then through callipers and onto the calliper pistons. These calliper pistons then exert force onto brake pads which are pressed onto the brake disc and slow down the car.
Power steering, which is ubiquitous in all modern car engineering, also uses hydraulic force to operate. The hydraulic power is supplied by a rotary vane pump which is driven by the car’s engine. In collaboration with the pump and a hydraulic cylinder, the steering wheel operates valves which control the flow of hydraulic fluid. The more the driver turns the wheel, the more fluid is allowed through the cylinder and, therefore, more force is applied to steer the wheels.
Not only do hydraulics impact the way we drive vehicles, but the technology is also used for refuelling. The entire pump operation of a petrol station is powered by a combination of hydraulics and electronics to supply the car’s fuel tank with petrol.
When your car has a breakdown, or simply requires a service or MOT, you’ll likely take it to the local garage. Hydraulic systems are absolutely vital for these mechanics to do their work effectively. Without a hydraulic system, it would be nigh-on-impossible for these workers to lift and repair your vehicle. Hydraulic lifting equipment of all shapes and sizes are used to manipulate the height of a vehicle to provide access to the engineer. From small hydraulic jacks to larger machines, this technology is ubiquitous in a car repair garage.
You might not expect to find hydraulic technology in your home, however, it’s more widespread than you might think – particularly in the kitchen. Basic hydraulic technology found in the kitchen comes in the form of hydraulic hinges for your cupboards and draws. These hinges utilise hydraulic pressure to close doors and draws softly. Using a vacuum, a plunger pulls air out of the vacuum when opening the door and pulls the plunger back when you let go.
Some of the more expensive styles of dishwasher also use hydraulics to improve performance. Often found in commercial kitchens, hydraulic dishwashers use hydraulic power to increase water pressure in the system and, therefore, provide better cleaning power. These systems are often quieter than traditional dishwashers.
Public Transportation and Air Travel
Following on from personal vehicles, hydraulics are also found in public transport. Hydraulic systems are critical for the safe operation of trains, buses and aeroplanes. From the safety measures and the doors to the way they are services, hydraulics are prevalent.
Particularly in aeroplanes, hydraulic systems are vital when operating the control panels. In such a large vehicle, heavy parts need to be moved at the flick of a switch to ensure the safety of passengers. Hydraulics are used to actuate the landing gear and brakes as well as the flight controls and much more. The reason hydraulics are used is they are suitable when high pressure and force must be transmitted with just a small amount of hydraulic oil.
Theme parks owe a huge debt to hydraulic systems and simply wouldn’t be in operation without them. Whilst you and your family are busy having fun on the rides, hydraulic cylinders and pumps are working tirelessly to facilitate the thrills. When some roller coasters can reach outrageous heights, which could put the park’s visitors at risk, the accuracy of the hydraulic systems is vital. Hydraulic cylinders work to switch track paths when required, brake the cars and align the rides.
Hydraulics are also used to lift mechanisms to the required heights in a controlled and accurate way. Without hydraulic machinery, theme parks would be far more dangerous. The force exerted by hydraulics ensures that all safety measures work properly and reduced the risk of accidents occurring.
One of the most surprising places you might find hydraulic technology is at the theatre! Hydraulics provide the facility to raise and lower sections of the stage during a dramatic performance. This brings the stage to life, with theatres able to recreate the rocking of a ship by utilising hydraulic systems underneath a stage.
The use of hydraulics in theatre has a staggering impact on the audience. In the modern era, hydraulic technology in theatres has developed so that it can completely change the impact of a play. Changing backdrops, moving floors and shapeshifting walls can all be achieved through the use of hydraulics. As you can imagine, this provides directors and writers with a far greater arsenal to work with.
As well as being more advanced, modern hydraulics also provides a much safer environment for actors to operate in. All across the globe, hydraulics are now a mainstay in theatres.
Hp Hydraulics: Providing Professional Hydraulic Services For Marine, Agricultural and Industrial Clients on The South Coast
HP Hydraulics are experts when it comes to the supply, installation, repair and maintenance of hydraulic systems. Operating across the South Coast of the UK, HP Hydraulics works with industrial, agricultural and marine clients. We have many years of experience in the industry and, as such, can provide a wide range of products and services which are tailored to specific needs.
When working on a project that requires hydraulic machinery, downtime can be costly. It’s vital that your operation is as cost-effective as possible and everyone involved stays safe and secure. To ensure this, you need to be confident in the quality of your hydraulic equipment and know that someone will be there to lend a helping hand should your equipment fail.
Hydraulic systems are complicated and intricate which means that they require regular services performed by professionals to remain operational and effective. Our team is available all day, every day so that you don’t suffer from any unnecessary downtime. If you’re looking for expert hydraulic services, look no further.
To find out more about our services, please feel free to contact us today. You can find us at Unit 2, Davis Way, Newgate Lane Industrial Estate, Fareham, Hants, PO14 1JF, call us on 01329 828 877 or 07802 774 205 and email us at email@example.com.