Fraser Hydraulics issued a recent announcement, explaining that their staff had completed training with leading software package Automation Studio. This software helps engineers design and manufacture some of the most impressive hydraulic equipment in the world.
The company employs leading design techniques, with mechanical design undertaken in 3D CAD programme Solidworks and used to design equipment and to test stress and strain forces. This is accomplished through a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) module to ensure equipment is suitable for the task at hand before it leaves the design phase.
Hydraulic circuit design is undertaken in automation studio to design hydraulic systems and to test cavitation and oil temperature. Automation studio is also used for electrical circuit design.
These technologies all help at the design process, but it is the practical result that really matters. One of Fraser’s notable achievements was the production of a bespoke cable carousel capable of moving 7000Te of cable. The unit was built in July 2010 and is part of a full offshore cable lay system comprising of a 20Te tracked engine, combined Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) and a three-pair linear cable engine.
The process in use
The company uses hydraulics in many different applications and in 2013 assisted in developing a full scale linear cable engine system to help lay Life of Field Survey (LoFS) cables off the coast of Brazil. This would be the deepest LoFS ever undertaken, with a depth of 1,800m. The project utilised a Linear cable engine, which was specially designed to help smooth, continuous lay of the cable. After destruction testing the LoFS cable at their Newcastle facility, the LCE setup was finalised and utilised in 2014.
As the race for renewable energy ramps up, the future of hydraulics may see a shift from usage in offshore and subsea sectors. However, in any kind of industrial setting, hydraulics will always reign supreme.
Electrical devices simply do not have the same power as hydraulics, so large-scale haulage and cable laying will always be an industry dominated by the technology. As advances are made in automation, hydraulic systems will be self-monitoring and maintenance will be completed dynamically, eliminating slowdown.
The complaints that hydraulics are slow and ‘messy’ may evaporate as systems become completely autonomous, able to monitor and service themselves. Whatever happens in the future, for now it is certain that Hydraulics are an integral part of the industrial process.
A company must do its best to stay ahead of the curve and develop new systems to match the demands of customers and the industry. Through innovation in the design process, listening to a client’s needs and vigorous testing, a hydraulics company can excel.