Fluiconnecto Water Hydraulics is on the crest of a wave worldwide in development and manufacturing of hydraulic systems, using water as a pressure medium instead of traditional hydraulic oils.
Development of water hydraulics was going on in Finland already in the 1980s. In the early 90s the development almost came to its end when the Finnish industry suffered from the economic depression. At that time, Olli Pohls and Arto Verronen were specialized in development of water hydraulics and didn’t lose their faith in the technology.
In 1991 they started looking for a company where they could continue the development of water hydraulics. In their quest they found Hytar Oy (Fluiconnecto Finland since 2015), a company specialized in hydraulics and pneumatics. Hytar was looking for new operations and had experience with machining stainless steel. Additionally, they already had potential customers for water hydraulics.
Development of water hydraulics was continued with Hytar at Tampere University of Technology with professor Matti Vilenius leading the research. Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, TEKES, was financing the project with the aim to find the possibilities to develop water hydraulics in Finland. The result from the research was clear: development of water hydraulics was possible in Finland. However, international cooperation was needed.
“After working hard on the research and testing, Hytar developed sea water compatible water hydraulic axial piston pump (APP) and axial piston motor (APM)”, says Olli Pohls, the head of Fluiconnecto Water Hydraulics (a division from Fluiconnecto Finland).
Water Hydraulics Has Many Applications
Hytar started international cooperation in 1994 with Eureka project. The aim was to develop a water hydraulic power unit for offshore industry. Hytar developed sea water compatible power pack together with German and Norwegian partners. The power unit can be used with sea water to avoid oil leaks in under water environment.
“Sea water compatible water hydraulic systems are still quite unique even worldwide”, says Pohls.
Nowadays Fluiconnecto Finland is a contract supplier for machine manufacturers and production factories.
“We design and manufacture pump units, valve systems, cylinders, and complete turn-key systems for pressure water applications in our modern production facilities”, explains Pohls.
Components and systems are custom tailored to high and low pressure water hydraulics, high pressure washing, descaling in steel industry, water mist systems (moisture control, cooling, dust suppression), water jet cutting, hydrostatic pressure testing, and many more applications.
“We can also take care of the installation and commissioning of the manufactured systems. After sales services, spare parts, maintenance and up keeping of system, are also part of our services. We keep your systems running. We also do modernizations on existing water and oil hydraulic systems”, adds sales engineer Harri Sairiala.
Water hydraulics employs effective hydraulics technology. It is fire safe and environmentally friendly. Most of the applications for this type of technology are in the steel industry, foundries, paper and process industry, mining, food industry, oil & gas, offshore, reverse osmosis and renewable energy production.
“The applications of water hydraulics are limited only by our imagination. Cleanliness is an important factor in water hydraulic. In the future we see a growing need for water hydraulics, for example, in sensitive environments, such as the Artic. We developed the projects giving special attention to systems engineering. The systems are designed and manufactured by using high quality components from partner companies and also our own component products. We combine products and technologies in order to satisfy the customer need. As a result we create cost effective and efficient systems”, explains Pohls.
Continuous Innovative Product Development
For Fluiconnecto Finland product development is a continuous process. Interesting application projects are constantly carried out by Fluiconnecto all over the world.
Sairiala explains this topic in depth:
“An example is theclose cooperation we have with Tampere University of Technology and Tamlink product development. We are working on the development of digital hydraulics for water hydraulics. We have made a research on the possibilities for digital hydraulics in water hydraulic systems. Based on the research, we have developed the first digital water hydraulic valve in the world. We are also involved in a fusion energy research project. The aim of this project is to build an experimental fusion reactor ITER in Cadarache France. Water hydraulics is used in remote handling of maintenance tools that are needed for changing large divertor cassettes in the reactor. The cassettes weight over 10.000 kg and they need to be positioned with high precision with remote handled maintenance robots. The robots are operated with water hydraulics because of high radiation levels and strict cleanliness demands. Hydraulic oils cannot tolerate the radiation levels and the risk of contaminating the reactor with oil leak in case of hose failure is too high. Also electric drives are problematic in such high radiation levels. Water hydraulic systems are currently used with servo valves which are sensitive and unreliable components in this application. Our aim is to be able to deliver a reliable digital hydraulic valve system to replace the servo valves in the maintenance tools. We have also delivered water hydraulic cylinders and pumps for the fusion research project”.
New Owner Leverages International Growth
Hytar is nowadays owned by Fluiconnecto, which is a part of Manuli Rubber Industries. Fluiconnecto has over 240 Hydroshops and service points in Europe, Middle-East, Africa, South-America and Asia Pacific.
On this subject, Pohls comments:
“As an owner, Fluiconnecto opens us entirely new possibilities to increase global sales of water hydraulics. Our new international network makes us stronger in the search of finding new applications and projects around the world. We are also cooperating with Manuli Hydraulics (also part of MRI) as we are manufacturing a series of testing units for hydraulic hoses that will be used in their factories’’.
Olli Pohls, Head of Fluiconnecto Water Hydraulics (left) and Harri Sairiala, Sales Engineer (right), presenting a test unit of hydraulic hoses manufactured in Tampere workshop. The units will be delivered to Manuli Hydraulics factories.
Fluiconnecto Finland is working in close cooperation with Tampere University of Technology and Tamlink, in the application of digital hydraulics in water hydraulics. Based on the research, the first digital water hydraulic valve in the world was developed. Fluiconnecto Finland is involved in ITER project for developing water hydraulic remote handling maintenance robots for precise positioning of large divertor cassettes. Water hydraulic systems are currently used with servo valves which are sensitive and unreliable components in this application. Oil hydraulics cannot be used in the application because oil cannot tolerate the high radiation levels and the risk of contaminating the reactor with oil leak in case of hose failure is too high. Fluiconnecto Finland has also delivered water hydraulic cylinders and pumps for the fusion research project.
High pressure misting unit for bakeries, where hygienic design isessential. And Double pump unit for process wash in paper industry.
Original source: FluidFinland magazine (in Finnish)