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Hidden Hydraulics – in places you might never expect ben lee

Hidden Hydraulic  Systems

When you work with hydraulics every day it is easy to take the technology for granted, especially when you know how it works and for what purposes.  However, most hydraulic engineers focus on a specific application of the mechanisms and may not realise that there are other uses for the technology that we use every day.  For example, petrol pumps use hydraulics to draw the fuel up from the reservoir and deliver it into your vehicle.  When you draw up to the pump you make use of hydraulics to stop the car; most vehicle braking systems use hydraulic action to exert force on the brake discs.  Hydraulics then allow you to fill the car up, and drive away, using your brakes several times on the journey home.


If you go to any large shopping centre or office there are lifts, which can make use of hydraulics to raise and lower the elevator car.  Some older lifts still use a pulley system, but many newer systems use hydraulics.  The sandwiches you have for lunch also rely on hydraulics to exist; the mechanisms in large bakeries use this technology to move conveyor belts and other large scale mixing machines to keep the dough moving along the production line.  If you sit at an office chair while eating lunch you are also making use of hydraulics, as the mechanism that allows you to lower and raise the seat is usually a hydraulic one. 


Visiting the dentist also involves hydraulics at least once, more if you drive there and fill the car up on the way!  Dentist chairs use hydraulic pumps to lower and raise the body of the chair as well as to adjust the angle of the foot rest and head rest.  Hospital beds and barbers chairs work on the same principle.  Vehicle mechanics use hydraulic lifts to raise vehicles up for inspection and repair work in much the same way.


Hydraulics also make an appearance in entertainment; theatre stages that can be raised and lowered use hydraulic systems to make this happen, and similarly, theme parks rides use them to create and control motion.  On arriving home from a day out at the theatre or a theme park you may drive your car into a garage with a hydraulically operated opening mechanism, or through a gate that employs the same technology to open and close at the touch of a button.  Once in the house you may have to load the dishwasher and set it to run; even here there are hydraulics at work to improve water pressure for better cleaning.  Hydraulics are found in many aspects of everyday life that it is possible to make use of six or seven different applications in a single day.

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