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Hydraulic muscle comes to the aid of Endeavour

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article image The Endeavour in the floating dry dock at Garden Island.
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Enerpac industrial hydraulics have come to the rescue of Australia’s replica of the 18th century sailing ship Endeavour in which Captain James Cook circumnavigated the Globe and added new lands to the British Crown, including Australia.

The same compact but extremely powerful Enerpac high-pressure hydraulic cylinders used in applications ranging from manufacturing to civil engineering and mining have been used by Coates Hire Industrial Services to help safely undertake a refit of the 550-tonne replica sailing ship.

Shipwrights in Australian Defence Industries’ floating dry-dock at Garden Island in Sydney had to repair the wooden keel and hull of the Endeavour replica after it ran aground in Botany Bay on April 17 this year on the very last day of a five-and-a-half month voyage from England home to Sydney.

The accident happened 235 years after explorer Captain Cook had to pull a large piece of 'coral rock' from the original Endeavour's hull after he struck the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of North Queensland in June 1770.

Cook and his crew had to bind a sail under the original Endeavour, like a bandage, to stop water entering the hole where his vessel struck the reef. He sailed slowly to the shore and beached Endeavour just inside the mouth of a river, which he called Endeavour River, to allow his carpenters to work on the ship's hull below waterline.

Staff working to repair the latest accident enjoyed much safer conditions, with the replica suspended in the dry dock on massive wooden dock blocks to provide safety and stability for workers operating from cherry pickers and scaffolding around the vessel’s 33-metre overall length.

The high-pressure (700 bar, 10,000 psi) Enerpac RC 506 cylinder involved in the operation was used to provide up to 50 tonnes of force to take the weight of the hull as bocks were moved around to accommodate different phases of the work.

The cylinder, weighing only 23kg and providing up to 159mm of stroke, was powered by another portable industrial workhorse, an Enerpac P80 hand pump, weighing 11kg but providing rapid plunger positioning and actuation through its two-stage operation.

This saves time and effort by operating at rapid oil flow rates to facilitate positioning of the plunger, then slower flow rates during lifting, when maximum power is needed.

Colin Chapman of Coates Hire Industrial Services said because maximum safety was needed on the job, the heavy loads were locked securely in place by manually operated Enerpac V66 load holding valves.

“These were complemented with high-strength hosing and gauge to precisely measure the forces involved,” he said.

“While the hydraulic technology involved deliberately maximised simplicity and safety, it was light years ahead of the resources available to Cook.”

Cook’s original accident happened during a voyage when the 18th century Pacific Explorer sailed for New Zealand, which was found to consist of two great islands admirably adapted for settlement.

Endeavour will be displayed at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney until Australia Day, January 26, 2006, when she will take part in the celebrations. Further voyages are being planned after that.

The high-pressure (700 bar, 10,000psi) equipment by Coates Hire Industrial Services is available for hire from them throughout Australia and New Zealand. It can be purchased from the national sales network of Enerpac, which is part of the global Actuant Corporation.

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