The History of Smiths Industries and their Mk3 Hydraulic Power Pack

        

Smiths industries are a major global technology powerhouse who commenced operations back in 1851 with founder Samuel Smith opening his first store, a jewellery shop in London.

In the early 1900s, Smiths focused on the automotive industry, developing the first car speedometers, one of which being fitted to King Edward VII’s Mercedes.

Following this, Smiths moved into the aviation industry during the First World War where they designed and produced aircraft instrumentation and by the 1930s they were a major player, supporting the following war effort by producing over 10 million aircraft instruments, clocks and speedometers.

Smiths entered the hydraulics market in 1966 during a large re-structure of the company, where the former Smiths Jacking Systems became known as SI Hydraulics Company, with its base of operations and production in Witney, Oxfordshire.

The Jackall branded car-jacking systems continued to be produced into the 90s, with the main focus of the company at this point in time being industrial lifts as well as a large interest in the commercial vehicle industry, specifically truck tail-lifts and tippers. They also got involved with fluid flow control systems.

Smiths Industries hydraulic arm became an autonomous company in 1982, concentrating primarily on industrial and railway hydraulics and employing over 100 members of staff. However, due to the rationalising of the company in later years, it was sold off to the Michigan, US based SPX Corporation in 2001. This enabled Smiths to concentrate on their Fluid and Air business in Witney which continued until the end of 2001 when the business, now known as SPX Fluid Power Ltd moved its premises to Romford.

One of Smiths Industries most popular power packs was the Mk3D which was suitable for a wide range of applications including commercial vehicle lifting and tilting mechanisms. In fact, the Mk3 power pack was created specifically for tipping applications and was the first pack that was used in this industry, in effect creating a new market sector. When the business was bought out, Fluidlink Hydraulics saw a great opportunity to take on production of the Mk3 and improve on it whilst keeping the Smiths customer base and gaining more publicity for the product.

Fluidlink's work on re-engineering the Mk3 power packs includes using an aluminium cast centre plate to incorporate an industry standard 08/20 valve cavity and accommodate a GP1 gear pump. Available with a range of steel tanks and modular blocks allowing various control valves to be fitted directly onto the centre plate. Available specifications: Motors: 12/24Vdc, 500W to 3.0kW Pumps: 0.25cc/rev to 5.8cc/rev Tanks: 1.5Litres to 28L tanks usable volume (specials available on request) Pressures up to 250bar, flows up to 18L/min. 3/8? BSP Connection ports 08/20 Valve cavity port Internal check valve and adjustable relief valve.

In addition to the MK3 power pack’s standard spec, Fluidlink Hydraulic Power Packs also had their own range of additional components and accessories including:

  • Pump-motor units – based on the Mk3H and G Pack assemblies 
  • Manual hand pumps – from small cartridge hand pumps that fit into a standard 10/20 cavity, to larger bespoke units capable of delivering 20cc/rev.
  • Series 35 valves – which are re-engineered valves from the old Smiths Ser30 range

In early 2020, Hydraproducts bought the business and assets of Fluidlink Hydraulics and kept production of the Mk3 power pack going as it recognised the importance and popularity of the product and its global customer base. We have added the Mk3 to our already impressive portfolio of hydraulic power packs including our popular AC/DC Mini Pack range which is our own equivalent of the Smiths/Fluidlink Mk3 pack.

As Hydraproducts have now taken on the original global customer base of Smiths/Fluidlink, we will continue to produce the Mk3 power pack to our already high standards, using our industry leading in-house testing equipment to ensure the product reaches its end customer in optimal working order.