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With the recent spate of terror related attacks across the globe where vehicles were used to create maximum damage, countries are looking more at preventative security measures to combat such attacks.
Traditionally, concrete blocks and bollards have been the solution to tackling security breaches but after extensive tests carried out by the German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association (DEKRA), it was proven that concrete barriers (PAS rating 68) were no match for a 10 tonne HGV travelling at 48kmh, with the vehicle carrying on for another 80 meters after striking the blocks.
With this lack of effectiveness of traditional methods something with more stopping power was needed and this is where hydraulically operated applications come to the fore.
These systems are much more versatile than the traditional concrete barrier and can be adapted for many different uses and applications, typically coming in the form of the following:
Wedge barriers - Primarily used for entrances of businesses and compounds where security is of paramount importance, wedge barriers offer the greatest protection from vehicular breaches.
Normally employed by banks, large depots and embassies amongst others, wedge barriers have proven in testing to offer the greatest protection from ramming with results showing that a 7.5 tonne truck travelling into a fully raised barrier (K-12/PAS68) at 80kmh only managed to travel a further 10 metres past the point of impact, receiving severe damage in the process and rendering it totally immobile.
Wedge barriers are typically used in association with standard security barriers and are controlled automatically, raising to stop suspect vehicles and lowering to let in those with the necessary security clearance.
The barriers are powered by hydraulic power packs, which we ourselves here at Hydraproducts produce specifically for this application.
Security bollards - These are a good effective method of protecting against security breaches while at the same time allowing access to pedestrians and passers-by and can be typically seen at stadiums, airports, shopping centres and city centre areas that would be classed as likely impact sites.
Crash tested successfully for impact speeds of up to 80kmh, the bollards can handle big impacts like their wedge style big brother while still being space-friendly and versatile, with their availability in varying sizes and designs.
Drop arm barriers - As well as wedges and bollards detailed above, hydraulic mechanisms can also be found in some drop arm barriers and are proving popular due to their high reliability record and smooth operation.
This type of barrier is usually found at entrances to industrial estates and large corporations and is automatically raised and lowered when a vehicle has been granted access to enter the premises, commonly working along with a stop/go traffic light type system.
They are also very secure with tests proving that they are very effective in stopping vehicle penetration and also a very cost effective method of security for businesses to employ.
Overall, with the back-up of a number of leading tests, it looks like hydraulic powered security systems are here to stay and provide the best and most cost effective solution to infrastructure needs as well as offering proven reliability.
Traditional concrete based applications have been shown to be ineffective for front-line security use as the industry moves into the future with new technology and applications and with the ever increasing list of applications and options, businesses now have a wide range of proven security measures to choose from to protect themselves from security breaches.
Parking and security bollards are a vital part of estate management for many venues and buildings, allowing for a pedestrianised area that is still accessible to vehicles when necessary. Private parking spaces, especially in big cities and commercial estates, are often protected by a moveable bollard that allows the parking space owner to shut off their space when it is not being used. Some of these parking bollards are of a style that simply fold over at the base, locking into position with a key, but the hydraulic style, that rise and descend flush with the ground are much more secure and are ideal for use outside offices and venues where emergency services or deliveries may need access close to the building, but for the most part it is left as a pedestrian zone.
Hydraulic retractable bollards are becoming popular with domestic users who want to protect their driveways. People who live in areas where sporting events take place can find that visitors park on their driveway or in front of it, blocking their own access. Similarly, people with driveways in big cities can find opportunistic parkers in their spot at weekends and seasonal big shopping days and opt to install a hydraulic bollard to keep their driveways clear. An electro-hydraulic bollard cannot be tampered with, so while a folding style could be broken or unbolted by someone determined to park on a driveway, an electro-hydraulic one will deter,, even the most insistent problem parker.
Hydraulic security bollards can be designed to be much larger, both in height and width, than a folding style, and because many are electro-hydraulic they can be wired into an access system which allows parking space owners, renters or security staff to lower and raise them via remote control, RFID tag, pre-payment meters, keypads or proximity sensors on the vehicle itself. Of course, they do require more installation than a folding style, as they must be dug into the ground and secured that way, rather than being bolted directly to the ground.
Hydraulic bollards typically take between seven and three seconds to descend or raise, but many models are fitted with a pressure relief valve that acts as an emergency lowering system when a quick exit is needed, or perhaps to allow emergency vehicles in quickly and at the last minute, preventing other vehicles from entering the area while waiting.
A hydraulic power pack drives the hydraulic ram, which is fitted within the bollard casing, allowing for raising and lowering of the equipment on demand. For easy maintenance, the hydraulics are usually located centrally within the assembly, rather than right at the bottom of the equipment. Hydraulic bollards are specifically designed for regular use with low maintenance, and as such the oil can be a hardwearing type suitable for use at normal weather temperatures, but of course the oil will need to be changed at some stage and maintenance or repairs may be needed as well. Locating the moving gear at an accessible height means maintenance can be carried out easily when needed. This means that the hydraulic power pack must be capable of effecting motion in both directions, so it can lower and raise from a central position.
Other types of retractable bollard are available, such as electro-mechanical and electro-pneumatic, however, the hydraulic options are stronger and more resistance to impact forces than these other types, making them a much more desirable option where impacts are likely. In busy streets, a bollard may well be reversed into accidentally, but a hydraulic model will withstand that impact without damage. In sensitive areas, or those likely to be the target of a vehicle based attack, a strong hydraulic retractable bollard will provide much more protection to the people and building they are protecting than a mechanical or pneumatic option, so electro-hydraulic retractable bollards are becoming the obvious choice for protecting both property and people.
In this blog we will be investigating hydraulic lifts; how they operate and why they are a cost effective, reliable alternative to other forms of lift power.
Along with traction lifts, hydraulic lifts are a popular choice for residential, corporate and construction applications and have a number of benefits over their traditional traction based counterparts.
As with any type of lift, hydraulic based lifts need to be maintained at regular intervals to ensure they operate reliably and effectively. Oil is a key part of the hydraulic set up as it is pumped from a purpose built oil reservoir through a hydraulic cylinder to operate the piston, which, in turn propels the lift. Oil cleanliness is paramount for this operation and is recommended to be checked at regular service intervals.
The key working components, i.e. the pump and oil reservoir are often situated in a machine room, commonly found in the near vicinity of the lift itself. This enables easy access for any maintenance engineer to check that things are working correctly with the lift and its components.
Operating the lift – In order for the lift to work correctly, the lift piston, which sits below the lift enclosure itself and controls its movement, must work in harmony with the oil that is pumped into the cylinder which controls the piston itself.
In order to get the lift to rise, the pump valve will need to be in the closed position, thus pushing the oil from the reservoir into the cylinder. The effects of gravity then come into play and the piston is pushed up, raising the lift in the process.
To lower the lift the opposite takes place, where the pump valve is opened and the oil is released back into the oil reservoir, thus allowing the piston, and the lift, in turn, to lower.
Advantages of using Hydraulic Lifts – Firstly, using a hydraulic lift will work out cheaper than its traction based equivalent, as it uses less components. There are no cables to set up along with other parts of machinery which are commonly situated above the lift shaft itself. This makes it a cost effective solution in general if a person is looking to meet a tight budget.
Speaking of cables, another advantage hydraulic lifts have is that they don’t rely on cables to operate making them a safer equivalent; if something were to go wrong with a hydraulic lift, it would lower at the same speed as the oil leaving the cylinder, thus reducing the likelihood of sudden drops.
If space is a key issue then hydraulic lifts are ideal as their main machinery is typically situated to the side of the lift in a machine room, as mentioned at the start of the blog. This leaves the lift shaft itself free from any space consuming machinery, which ultimately aids in the planning process.
At Hydraproducts, we specialise in a range of power packs and units that are suitable for lift applications and to support this, we have recently opened our Component Division, which offers a range of components from hydraulic pumps to cylinders to fit your bespoke unit. Feel free to browse the rest of our website to find out more about our products.
Hydraulics for Road Blockers and Rising Bollards
Road blockers and bollards provide active obstructions to control vehicular access. Commonly divided into two main groups either for Access control or Security.
Access control products are generally light weight and will be found at entrances and exits of car parks, roads and driveways. As traffic levels can often be high in places like an Office block car park or town centre bus lane these products must be designed for 100% duty rates, often clocking up 1000000 of operations in thier life.
Hydraproducts has developed a range of hydraulic power packs that have been tested to drive road blockers and automatic rising bollards. Commonly requested the ability to control functions if the power fails or the emergency services require access.
Mini hydraulic power packs fit neatly inside roadside control cabinets. Tried and tested on the busiest UK airports these units are giving years of trouble free operation.
High Security or Anti-Terrorist products are designed to provide Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (anti terror PAS 68) solutions. Providing physical security for Embassies, Police stations, Airports and Military bases.
For larger crash tested blockers these hydraulic power units offer 100% duty cycling, with the back-up of a hand pump. Power-fail functions, emergency fast operation and battery back up operations are specifically designed for anti-terrorist devices.
Rising bollards are often used in multiples to protect an entrance or carriageway. Synchronizing these with hydraulics maintains protection and aesthetic operation.
All hydraulic systems are designed to withstand the high impact testing of the PAS 68 standards, and devices tested often remain operational after an impact.
All road blocker, barrier and bollard devices require high quality and reliable hydraulics, Hydraproducts has been producing powerpacks for this industry for over 10 years with a strong reputation for providing innovative design solutions.
In our latest blog we take a look at desiccant breathers and explain why they are used and how they work to maximise the efficiency of a hydraulic units breathing system.
The desiccant breathers main role is to protect a power units breathing system and filter out moisture and contaminants drawn in from the working environment, thus helping to prolong the life and efficiency of the power unit.
How does it work? – The desiccant breather unit contains silicone based gel which helps prevent particulate entering the system during operation. They also work to soak up any moisture that is in the system while it is in shut down or during a service period.
In environments where there are high ambient levels of humidity, such as offshore oil rigs, optional breathers with check valves are available which come in the necessary fitments for most power units.
Where is it fitted? – The desiccant breather replaces the unit’s standard OEM breather cap, coming in a screw-on fitment and in a number of different sizes depending on your type of hydraulic system.
How do I make sure I choose the right filter? – Many leading suppliers of desiccant breathers have product configurators on their site so you can choose from a number of crucial variables that are tailored to your system:
Airflow - which typically varies from 0-27CFM, giving a good pointer as to the amount of air that typically passes through the breather system during operation
Unit dimensions – Including height and diameter measurements to ensure the breather fits the unit without coming into contact with other parts or compromising unit space
Amount of silica gel needed – This is largely dependent on the size of the system and working environment as to how much silica gel is needed to stop particulate contamination and excess moisture accumulation
Absorption capacity – typically measured in fluid ounces, this capacity can change due to the nature of the application and the environment it is situated in
Operating temp – The filters are built to withstand large temperature fluctuations, so it is common to see operating temperatures range from around -40°C to 149°C which covers a wide range of operational and environmental conditions
Filter efficiency – An average sized desiccate breather is able to achieve in the region of 0.3µ absolute (β₀.₃≥200) efficiency under normal operating conditions.
Build quality – As technology is constantly evolving, filters are being built to withstand obstacles such as unit vibration and impact protection, and constant development is enabling filters to withstand harsher environments and temperature changes (as detailed above) with stringent product testing taking place.
With bespoke hydraulic units that use these breathers on applications such as offshore oil rigs, where humidity and other factors can potentially hamper a unit’s performance, it is imperative that the breather unit can tackle these obstacles in an effective manner.
Connections – Desiccant breather filters typically use a UN female thread to connect to a power unit with various sizes of this connection being available dependent on application.
At Hydraproducts we frequently rely on the efficiency and reliability of desiccate breather filters for our bespoke offshore power units. So feel free to contact us to learn more.
ROVs are also known as remote operated vehicles and are used most often in the offshore oil and gas industries.
ROVs are the type of vehicles that most of us find somewhat exciting as a concept. Imagine – some people are lucky enough to spend their entire day playing with, sorry controlling - a small submarine from aboard a boat or a floating platform or oil rig. The vehicle is equipped with a camera so that they can see where the vehicle is, its surroundings and get clear vision of any tasks that need to be performed. The ROV is connected to the surface by what is known as an umbilical.
The ROV may sound like an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) but the difference is the umbilical. It’s also often described as an underwater robot. Although they may weigh as much as 5 tonnes in the air and be as large as 2 metres x 3 metres x 2 metres in height, they can be controlled by monitoring and controlling equipment including hydraulic powered winches.
ROVs are designed to be neutrally buoyant once they are in the water as they are expected to be able to move underwater and perform as requested by their operator up on the surface.
Although most ROVs in service are being used for oil and gas extraction activities (95% of them) there is another 5% that is tasked with diamond mining and undersea cable maintenance.
As far as operators go, there are most likely around 500 ROV operators working and around 1000 observation class vehicles – otherwise known as OBSROVs. Together they make jobs for between 5,000 and 8,000 workers across the planet plus another 500 or so involved in their manufacture. In addition there are companies such as us who are involved in the peripheries by producing components such as hydraulic power packs that are used for winching these machines in and out of the water.
35% of operational ROVs are located in the North Sea, with more interest for their use developing further afield in countries such as China, Brazil, Australia and the Far East. The depth of the water they work in is as much as 3,000m or 10,000ft.
The ROV is an exciting piece of marine related technology that is capable of performing a wide range of tasks and is making waves in a number of industries.
As well as the different varieties of pump, the size, operational pressure and speed also play big parts in the level of noise generated from a pump. Even small differences from pump to pump like the number of gear teeth and their geometry may emit a different pitch level.
The helical toothed pump was originally developed in Italy and comprises of a Continuum pump which contains teeth that are in constant contact with one another which means the pumps sound level sits at an impressively low 52 dBA.
As the teeth are in contact with one another at all times, the common sound of gear teeth meshing is alleviated thus reducing noise levels and ensuring that flow levels stay consistent throughout the pump. This is achieved by the redesign of gear teeth, changing their size and angle as to ensure constant contact.
As we mentioned above, typical mechanical pump noise commonly originates from grinding gear teeth but due to the pumps hydraulic function, the turbulence of hydraulic fluid travelling through the pump can also contribute to noise levels with fluid getting trapped between gear teeth and also flow pulsation. Cavitation can also cause noise and has the potential to damage the interior structure of the pump.
Hydraulic Power Pack
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