The technology used in hydraulics has changed greatly since its inception so how has hydraulics evolved and improved over the years?
To best describe this, we have to look back to the inception of hydraulics which primarily focused on water power. Back in the Roman era, water was powering many of the Empires production processes including milling flour and other commodities and timber working. Further along, Hydraulic mining came about during the California Gold Rush era and proved to be a popular method of mining which developed over time.
The mathematical side of hydraulics and how its principles work were investigated by a young French mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal, who in the mid-1600s and through his tireless work on the subject, developed a theory which concluded that pressure which was exerted anywhere in an incompressible confined fluid, is transferred equally in all directions and that pressure variations all remained the same while this was happening. This breakthrough was named Pascal’s Law.
Following on from this, and with more research being carried out on the principle of energy production using fluids, in the early 18th century Daniel Bernoulli gave us the Bernoulli’s Principle which looked at the behaviour of a fluid under varying conditions of flow and height.
Later applications such as steam driven pumps and mills took advantage of this principle and business boomed. It wasn’t until the 20th century and working with electricity that hydraulics really got a foothold in the workplace, replacing old electrical devices and growing rapidly in popularity especially during the Second World War where we started to really see its capabilities being used in the various machines, vehicles and numerous other applications it helped to power.
Now, in the modern era, hydraulics plays a huge part in powering a wide range of crucial applications which provide us with essential services in day to day life, from farming machinery and construction vehicles to large offshore applications such as Launch Recovery Systems (LARS).
The motor industry is another leading business that has seen huge increase in production over the last few decades, thanks partly to the advancement of robotics which are typically powered by hydraulics. Construction is another large industry that has greatly benefited from the use of hydraulics in many of its applications and movie industry props wouldn’t be the same without the help of hydraulics.
With the introduction of mobility lifts used for buses, cars and homes, hydraulic micro power packs were the perfect tool for the job with their compactness and reversible/uni-directional capabilities.
Safety is a big plus point for hydraulics also as compared to its equivalent, pneumatics; pneumatics itself being gas based so if a failure were to occur a sudden release of pressurised gas could cause a great deal of damage to its nearby surroundings whereas the equivalent fluid used in hydraulics is a lot less likely to cause such damage. With the sheer amount of optional extras available in the hydraulics market such as valves, cylinders and coolers it is now a lot easier to keep a hydraulic power unit in check and operating smoothly and efficiently.
So, with the sheer range of hydraulic power units available on the market, large or small have almost every application covered and offer a safe and reliable method of power which is favoured by millions of customers worldwide and this looks likely to remain the case looking forward into the foreseeable future.