Custom Fluid Power , a national hydraulic solutions provider has produced a market-first prototype of a handheld non-invasive fluid detection device.
The risk of workplace injuries involving fluid under pressure is very high. Recent fatalities in longwall scenarios were related to contact with fluid under pressure, as high pressure fluid or oil in hydraulic systems is lethal if a fluid line connection point is opened or hose failure occurs.
These fatalities and the fact that unlike electrical energy and testing procedures, there is currently no handheld non-invasive pressure detection device available for ascertaining whether a hose, tube or pipe is under pressure were the reasons behind Custom Fluidpower’s research and development project.
Funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP), the project commenced in 2007 with an in-depth process of research, testing, development and design, and now in 2010 has resulted in the invention of a working prototype (patent pending).
Custom Fluidpower Engineer Liviu Schintee said, “The principal use of the Portable Detection Device for Pressure in Hydraulic Hoses (PDD) is to inform an operator using the device on a hydraulic hose if there is high pressure or low pressure in the hose.”
“This information is critical in performing isolation procedures in hydraulic circuits where it is not possible to connect a pressure detecting device to measure the pressure in contact with the medium or hydraulic oil,” said Mr Schintee.
“In a complex hydraulic circuit with long lines, not all the lines are provided with test points to allow pressure measurement. The invention addresses this aspect by allowing an operator to have a portable device that indicates if there is high pressure or low pressure in that hose following a simple non-invasive procedure.”
Neil Martin, Custom Fluidpower’s Sales Director said, “Potential application of this device is in performing the isolation procedure before servicing hydraulic hoses. Some hydraulic installations have stored hydraulic energy even if the installation is stopped. Disconnecting a hose under pressure can provoke injury by fluid injection. This hazard can generate a risk that cannot always be eliminated.”
“Using the PDD the operator can substitute the hazard of disconnecting a hose under high pressure with the risk of disconnecting the hose under low pressure. This risk is more manageable and the risk of personal injury is lower,” Mr Martin said.
A second potential application is in identifying hoses under pressure in installations with long hose lines where the hoses are bundled and connected to different actuators or services. This procedure will enable the technician to identify high pressure in hoses without stopping the machine.
The procedure of using the PDD does not substitute for following the existing safe work practices.
The device operates by applying a safe level of deformation to a hydraulic hose with a clamping device and measuring the deformation of this hose. The device then compares this deformation with data stored in its memory and issues a low pressure, high pressure or re-test notification.
Custom Fluidpower is a wholly Australian owned company, offering a combination of hydraulic, pneumatic and lubrication products and services in the agricultural, aerospace, exploration, marine, mobile, mining and material handling industries.