Hose news from down under

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Every day, news releases ping my inbox from companies I've never heard of and most often, they're just junk or unrelated to the fluid power industry. So I was happy to see this news yesterday from Australian hydraulic solutions provider Custom Fluidpower, which recently received the HMA Board Award at the Hunter Manufacturing Awards (HMA).

I don't know much about this awards competition, but the device for which it was awarded caught my eye. It's a pressure detection device that can detect pressure in hydraulic hoses and is suitable for use in underground mines. Custom Fluidpower is designing this device to prevent injection injuries. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Rory McLaren of The Fluid Power Training Institute and he really opened my eyes to this critical safety issue with the use of fluid power components. So I'm glad to see active work is being done to hopefully prevent such catastrophic injuries.

The device is being designed because not all lines in complex hydraulic circuits were provided with test points to allow hydraulic pressure to be measured, says project leader Neil Martin.

"Some hydraulic installations have stored energy even if they have stopped. Disconnecting a hose under pressure can cause injury from fluid injection," Martin said. "This hand-held, non-invasive, fluid detection device significantly reduces the safety risk and enables operators to isolate equipment before servicing hydraulic hose."

The device can also potentially be used to identify hoses under pressure in installations with long hose lines where the hoses are bundled and connected to different actuators and services.

The device, which is currently under development with the assistance of the Australian Coal Association Research Program, is at prototype stage and will be commencing field testing shortly. It is expected to be released to market in 2013. It is suitable for all hose brands up to SAE 100R15 and hose sizes up to 2 in. or 50.8 mm ID. It will detect pressure greater t han 20 bar (290 psi) and alert the operator.

According to the HMA, Custom Fluidpower was awarded the HMA Board Award this year because of the company’s dedication to innovation, perseverance with the manufacturing process and forward thinking and planning. 

Custom Fluidpower’s Interim CEO Graeme Vennell said, “The pressure detection device is a great example of the company’s zero harm philosophy with regard to oil injection injuries and high pressure fluid safety in our industry, plus the tenacity of our engineering team to research, create, develop and be a part of the solution for industry.”

According to data from the company, fluid injection injury claims exceeded the number  of electrical shock claims by nearly triple in the New South Wales Coal Industry from 2007-08 to 2010-11.

Custom Fluidpower is a wholly Australian owned company offering hydraulic, pneumatic, filtration and lubrication product sales along with complete system design, installation and commissioning, and service and repairs.  Custom Fluidpower services the agricultural, aerospace, exploration, industrial, marine, mobile, mining and material handling industries Australia wide. 

To receive updates about the device, visit www.custom.com.au/pdd.

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Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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