Hydraulics Online, Elon Musk and SpaceX Hyperloop

HypED is a University of Edinburgh student-led project that is blazing a successful path for British engineers in Elon Musk’s SpaceX Hyperloop project – and demonstrating an innovative new future for hydraulics in the process.

One of only 24 teams to be shortlisted for the final of the SpaceX Hyperloop competition to design a transportation pod for this phenomenally new and exciting mode of transport, HypED stretch the notion of “disruptive technologies” to its limits.

When, in May 2017, the HypED team were looking for suppliers for the hydraulic parts that would be used in the brake systems of its Hyperloop pod, one of the suppliers it approached was Hydraulics Online.

The input from Hydraulics Online was really something we couldn’t get elsewhere – Adam Anyszewski, HypED President.

Unique Collaboration

President, Adam Anyszewski explains: “We needed two things: student rates on the parts and manufacturing and, secondly, design consulting. Hydraulics Online was the only supplier who responded to both of our requirements.”

And, as it turned out, Hydraulics Online’s design consultancy services have had major benefits for the HypED project.

Adam says: “We had our idealistic design of how we wanted it to work, and then Hydraulics Online helped us take it from an idea on paper to an actual design that can be manufactured effectively.”

They have been very, very helpful because they had the knowledge of the available parts, the connections, all the safety requirements, and aspects of the design we weren’t aware of.”

“Basically, they helped us to take it from concept to a working design that achieved the functionality in a safe and certified manner.”

Very Tight Timescales

Hydraulics Online took the pressure off – Adam Anyszewski, HypED President.

Hydraulics Online’s input was even more vital to the success of the project when, in May, the HypED team’s hydraulics lead was incapacitated; badly injuring his shoulder in a way that jeopardised his involvement.

With timescales tight – the team only received competition specifications from SpaceX in April – and the prototype needing to be shipped to California in August to participate in the final of the competition, Adam says: “Hydraulics Online certainly live up to their word when they say ‘let us take the pressure’.”

“It was a really dire situation. Hydraulics Online prevented a lot of stress. They worked closely with us over multiple iterations and agreed to help us with the manufacture – and this really took the pressure off.”

Bespoke Engineering Services

As well as manufacturing mechanical elements, such as the manifold, Hydraulics Online helped Adam and his team to refine the design in several key ways as well.

“Hydraulics Online helped us to make the design more resilient,” explains Adam, “They helped us to ensure the system is failsafe and that it always has functionality – even if, for example, the control system fails or there is any mechanical instability. We now have a system that can cope with that, something we didn’t fully account for on the drawing board.”

The team has also been able to reduce the number of pre-charged accumulators used, from four in the original design, to two following testing. “We had some design contingency built-in,” says Adam, “but Hydraulics Online stuff is of such high quality that we could go down from four to two accumulators.”

California Dreaming

This is important for HypED because when the pod runs on the SpaceX Hyperloop test track in California at the end of August the competing teams are being judged on who has built the fastest Hyperloop possible.

“The velocity is dependent on mass, and shaving 6kg to 10kgs of weight off like this will help us achieve a higher speed and a better result in the competition,” says Adam.

“Getting to California is super-exciting and super-stressful but Hydraulics Online’s ability to take the pressure off us has been a significant one.”

And in may not be as futuristic or ground-breaking as the SpaceX Hyperloop, but we’d still love to know…

How can we help you?

Success Story: Materials Handling

Rather than carrying multiple spare parts, this materials handling equipment provider came to us to develop a solution that would work on any machine…

A materials handling service solution provider, with an extensive hire fleet and field service vehicles and technicians, required assistance with designing some improved hydraulics solutions that would help it comply with ever-changing regulations and reduce lead times for customers.

“Hydraulics Online has a vast knowledge of their technology and of system design.” Chris, Technical Director

This leading supplier of rental and reconditioned forklift truck had a slightly unorthodox introduction to Hydraulics Online.  When its Technical Director spotted a Hydraulics Online service vehicle around nine years ago, he was just setting up a new technical department at the business.  The driver of the van was Hydraulics Online’s founder Mark Tonks and the pair got talking.

Technical Director, Chris, was assisting UK- based forklift truck dealers comply with new EU and UK legislation before the manufacturing plants could implement design and production changes.  He required a solution to retrofit a hydraulic consent system to hydraulically holding forklift truck attachments in order to comply with, what was at the time, new EU legislation.

Within two weeks, the Hydraulics Online team went back to Chris with a solution.

Chris says: “Hydraulics Online are the only company we’ve come across where we are able to give them these problem scenarios and they come back to us with a solution.  They have a vast knowledge of their technology and of system design and, because they are independent and not tied to any one manufacturer, I know they are giving us the best solution and the best products for that solution.”

A Profitable Partnership

Our customer had an immediate order from a major materials handling equipment and forklift manufacturer to retrofit its hydraulic consent system and, in the nine years since, has sold thousands of the units in the UK and Europe.

Chris says: “The solution Hydraulics Online helped us to develop has opened up doors for us with the technical departments of these major manufacturers, strengthening our relationships and generating steadily growing income for us.”

Our customer continues to work with major international manufacturers manufacturing outside Europe to retrofit the original solution Hydraulics Online designed.  Since then, Hydraulics Online has gone on to work with the business on a further five product lines, some in response to an immediate market need, like the consent valve, and others on a more speculative basis.

“With Hydraulics Online’s technical help we are able to react much faster to legislation and other change.  As well as ensuring compliance, this enables us to exploit market opportunities with the major suppliers,” says Chris.  “Our service work for one major manufacturer has seen a 25% year-on-year increase – and that’s all products Hydraulics Online supplies us with.”

Materials Handling Business Transformation

One transformative solution developed by the two companies has been the design of a generic and variable hydraulic system that could be adapted for all makes of forklifts.

Chris explains: “We wanted a system that would suit almost every forklift truck manufacturers product range, rather than having to order in specific parts to suit specific OEMs; something we could keep on the shelf, knowing we could modify it to suit.  Hydraulics Online designed a solution that could do this for us and overnight we went from having a six-week lead time – as dictated by the ordering and delivery of parts – to being able to offer a lead time measured in hours.”

This solution is now carried by all of the business’s service vehicles so that its team of technical engineers can offer a rapid, effective, high-quality solution to its customers when required – whatever the type of vehicle; helping to improve service to customers while keeping costs down and stock lean.

… because they are independent and not tied to any one manufacturer, I know they are giving us the best solution and the best products for that solution.” Chris, Technical Director

Chris says: “Hydraulics Online are very good at quickly understanding the problem and coming back with a solution design – including the products.  This is testament to their vast technical knowledge.  Technical support is absolutely crucial for us and the technical and customer support Hydraulics Online offers is fantastic and really valuable.  Their knowledge and their independence put them ahead of everyone else.”

How can we help you?

10 Ways to Ensure Effective Oil Analysis

Unplanned downtime disrupts business operations; effective oil analysis plays a vital role in looking after your machinery…

With 70 to 80 percent of all hydraulic failures being down to fluid contamination, it’s not exactly rocket science to say that ensuring regular, effective oil analysis should always be high on the agenda.

System DesignHydraulic component contamination is categorised in three ways: gaseous, liquid or solid. Gaseous contamination can damage a hydraulic system’s lubricating properties, creating wear and increasing the chances of other types of contamination. Liquid contamination not only alters the capabilities of the lubricating properties, but also causes rust. Solid contamination can cause valve blockages, substantial pump damage and blown seals and gaskets. All of these causes are completely avoidable.

Effective oil analysis – ten ways to keep your oil clean:

1. Monitor – Hydraulic fluid should be monitored routinely and sampled on a quarterly basis.

2. Identify – Identify what sort of contaminant may be present (solid, liquid or gas) to ensure that the right kind of analysis in undertaken.

3. Find the source – By identifying the source of the contamination, preventative action can be taken. This may include contamination as a consequence of the equipment manufacturing process, air borne contamination or contamination produced as a result of the equipment in operation.

4. Neutralise – Offset the causes, and minimise the consequences of contamination either through: oil transfusion, installing extra air filters and replacing worn or damaged components.

5. Benchmark – All oil analysis codes are based off a code: ISO 4406. The relevant benchmark depends on the application in question.

6. Filter – Using hydraulic filters and filtration equipment can, in many cases, stop oil contamination. Determining flow rates, viscosity and pressure are necessary to finding the right filtering system. As a leading hydraulic filter supplier we have widespread, competitive access to both leading and niche hydraulic filter manufacturers from around the world. Some of the hydraulic filter manufacturers and brands that we can supply include: Argo HytosDonaldsonEaton Vickers, Hydac, Ikron, MP Filtri and Parker hydraulic filters. Our technical team will be able to determine which filtration equipment is most suitable for your application.


Hydraulic Filters - Effective Oil Analysis


7. Analyse – In order for oil analysis to be reliable, an in-depth inspection will need to be carried out. This may be in a laboratory environment through microscopic particle count and gravimetric testing, or through a mobile particle counter installed on the machine.

8. Predict – Recording results will allow you to spot trends and identify possible future risks. This is hugely important to lessen unexpected machinery downtime and schedule future inspections in good time.

9. Prevent – To help prevent contamination:

  • Always make sure oil is filtered;
  • Change oil filters every 12 weeks;
  • Take oil samples every 12 weeks to check cleanliness level;
  • Install air breathers to reduce contamination.

10. Invest – There is, of course a cost involved in ensuring effective oil analysis, but it is  nothing compared to the cost of a replacement pump or even a complete system, lost production and goodwill.

And don’t forget…

Hydraulics Online have a wealth of experience in hydraulic system design and components. If you’d like to make an enquiry or you’d just like more information, you can call or send and email to one of our friendly technical team. If you’d like to see another blog on hydraulic systems design, click here.

Hydraulic Systems

Hydraulic systems can be found everywhere, from: food production lines and material handling to credit card manufacturing, waste management and recycling, transport and logistics, and those fairground rides that you love – or hate – the list goes on and on…

Add to that the fact that our customers come from all four corners of the world, all walks of life and industry, and with ideas and requirements great and small, there’s just never a dull moment here – that’s why we love what we do and as an ISO 9001 accredited company are passionate about doing it well. Every time.

We don’t simply “sell” hydraulic systems – we can’t, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead we make it our business to understand your business… your needs, your priorities and constraints, and then work with you to develop the hydraulic systems solution that’s right for you. And with the  technical team’s 60 years combined experience in hydraulic systems design, we can assure you that no idea is too big or too small – or too crazy! We’ve dealt with some of the toughest hydraulic systems design challenges, but we’re yet to be outdone!

Mark has been a star getting the kit together for a relatively crazy idea I have for an accessory which could have commercial applications beyond us… I’m a relative hydraulic ignoramus and he explained the options brilliantly to me.

It doesn’t matter if your idea isn’t nailed down yet; all we really need is for you to be able to define your end goal. What is it that you want to move, raise, lower, shift, compress, turn, (you get the idea)… how quickly and how often? The team can then show you the best way to get there and we’ll support you all the way through to final production and beyond.

Here are some hydraulic systems we “prepared earlier”…

A UK steel works contacted Hydraulics Online asking us to provide a complete, new hydraulic system capable of moving a 7000kg tool slide in a controlled and timed “stop-start” movement, and also to lift and lock the associated mandrils as required in a continuous cycle.

Hydraulics Online designed a complete bespoke hydraulic system proposing improvements to the customer’s original design and incorporating proportional valve control of the 100 litre/minute and 80 litre / minute pumps that were fitted to the power pack. The complete system was manufactured, installed and commissioned without a hitch!

Moving on from steel to plastic… our engineers were called to the site of a high quality credit, debit and store card manufacturer to fault-find a critical piece of hydraulic equipment and provide a timely solution to production problems. An off-line compatible high pressure (700 bar) hydraulic system was sourced and installed enabling the customer to meet production targets within agreed deadlines and service levels… thus avoiding severe third-party penalties!

There’s more! Our technical team were tasked by a power transmission equipment manufacturer and wholesaler to provide a complete hydraulic system and hydraulic cylinder for a tipping hopper application.

Hydraulics Online specified, designed and supplied a complete hydraulic system including hydraulic power pack and hydraulic actuator. Hydraulic cylinders and mounts were made according to the customer’s specification and the whole package was delivered within budget and time constraints… because we don’t make promises that we can’t keep.

One of our most famous hydraulic systems customers, that we can tell you about anyway, has to be Concorde…

Concorde hydraulic systemsThe team were asked if we could help with a project involving Concorde G-AXDN, on display at the Imperial War Museum, to make her the first Concorde in the UK to have a fully functioning droop nose and visor. And the rest, as they say, is history. You can read all about this exciting project here.

I am extremely pleased to have met such a good team who have supported Concorde and Heritage Concorde so well… you deserve a medal! I was amazed; you reeled off figures and technical data that were way above my understanding, but explained things very well. You don’t just shift boxes; you know your business inside and out. A very big “thank you” from the whole team –  I hope we can continue the great work.

Hydraulic ManufacturersIf you’re happy that your hydraulic systems design is already sorted, then maybe we can help by supplying the equipment and components that are needed to bring it to life. We have access to an extensive range of hydraulic manufacturers from around the world, and can often offer high quality, direct equivalents to big name brands; useful if you need to make your budget stretch that little bit further or have somewhat challenging deadlines to meet!


Hydraulics Catalogue


Visit our catalogue to see some of the hydraulic components we have within our range. If you can’t find what you’re looking for then call us or go to our Contact page to enquire online.

Hydraulic Cylinder Design

Looking for a bespoke hydraulic cylinder design service? Look no further…

So you may well have read about the service we provide for hydraulic systems design… but did you know we also offer a hydraulic cylinder design service too?

Hydraulics Online… fast, friendly and competitive but we value them most because they are innovative and can find answers to the really tough hydraulic design problems.

If you’re looking for a bespoke cylinder, our knowledgeable and experienced team can design one tailored specifically to your application, requirements and operating parameters. As long as you know what your end goal is, then we have the hydraulic cylinder design and wider systems expertise to help you achieve it. There’s no minimum order quantity, so if you only need one hydraulic cylinder making that’s fine. Even if your ideas are still on the drawing board our technical team can provide you with an upfront design and outline prices, and then support you through final production and beyond into “business as usual” activities and production.

Not even the toughest of hydraulic cylinder design challenges fazes us, and being able to source all other hydraulic equipment supplies naturally makes us the clear partner for original equipment manufacturers, both large and small alike.

Hydraulic Cylinder Design

You may be thinking that you need your own hydraulic cylinder design because you haven’t been able to find a standard product that meets your requirements. Maybe we could help? Hydraulics Online has widespread, competitive access to quality, hydraulic cylinder manufacturers worldwide. The key word is quality. Our ISO 9001 accreditation is your guarantee that we will never compromise on quality nor make promises that we can’t keep. Aside from obvious routine servicing and maintenance, we want you to be able to “fit and forget” any equipment we supply.

Our catalogue showcases some of the hydraulic cylinders that we regularly supply including: single and double-acting, welded, tie rod and marine hydraulic cylinders.

But back to hydraulic cylinder design… As an example of some of the projects we’ve undertaken in the past, a procurement services company, to offshore, sub-sea and oil and gas industries, contacted the team for pricing and a detailed specification on a bespoke application needing a through-rod (double-rod) hydraulic cylinder. The design parameters were given for a competitor’s product.

Hydraulics Online quoted for an equivalent custom-made through-rod hydraulic cylinder with exactly the same technical specification, which not only had a much more appealing price tag, but also a swifter lead time for the customer. Needless to say, the customer ordered.

Welded Hydraulic Cylinders

Another customer, a leading product design and manufacturing company within the renewable energy industry overseas, asked our technical engineers for help on a new product development plan. The customer had utilised a tie-rod cylinder within one of their product designs before, but this time they wanted to sample a welded construction hydraulic cylinder design instead. No problem. The cylinders here were custom-made and tailored to the customer’s specification and requirements.

There are plenty more case studies and testimonials to be found throughout our website, spanning all manner of applications… in fact it’s hard to think of an industry, market or corner of the world where we haven’t been involved to date. You name it, we’ve probably done it!

So, if you’ve read this far then hopefully you’re tempted to give Hydraulics Online the chance to quote for your hydraulic cylinder design? Visit our Contact page to submit your enquiry details to us … or call us talk things through. We’re always happy to talk.  

System Hydraulics

Whether you’re starting with a blank sheet of paper or you are trying to improve an existing hydraulic system design, we understand that you’ll need performance efficiency and availability of components to make it work. Our award-winning team here at Hydraulics Online have over 80 years combined experience in hydraulic system design and supplying components, so there’s no need to worry. Your brand is in safe hands.

“Hydraulics Online… fast, friendly and competitive but we value them most because they are innovative and can find answers to the really tough hydraulic design problems.”

Our hydraulic engineers will help you through the entire process of your hydraulic system design, from outlining costing through to the final production of your hydraulic system. As an ISO 9001 accredited company, we believe that you should only get the best service and hydraulic equipment for your hydraulic system – and it could save you money in the process. As most of our popular hydraulic components are directly interchangeable with other lesser-known manufacturers, the possibilities are endless.

To bring this to life a little bit, following a search on the internet, a shredding and data disposal company contacted Hydraulics Online asking us to design and supply an efficient hydraulic system to run a mobile compactor and crusher.

Hydraulics Online proposed a hydraulic system using Italgroup radial piston motors. The vehicle was delivered to Hydraulics Online’s premises and our hydraulic engineer installed the PTO driven power source and hydraulic control valves. A second vehicle has since been fitted out to the same specification.

Another example of our work, after being approached by a leading producer of concrete products to civil engineering, construction and agricultural sectors, Hydraulics Online were tasked with replicating an existing, ageing hydraulic system that was no longer available.

The Hydraulics Online design team worked with absolutely minimal information and proposed a much more modern and efficient hydraulic system. This enabled the customer to order and install multiple sets of hydraulic equipment with major cost savings being realised in the process.

Finally, a leading manufacturer of concrete products requested Hydraulics Online to design a complete hydraulic system that would meet the customer’s exact requirements.

A full hydraulic system was designed and supplied comprising single-acting, telescopic lift cylinders and complete power pack. It was successfully installed and commissioned and is now in use in daily production.

As a trusted supplier, we have extensive competitive access to many popular and niche hydraulic manufacturers… you can find out more about them by clicking here.

Don’t just take our word for it… visit our testimonials page here. To find out more about the kinds of products we provide, visit our website. And don’t worry if you’re not sure on what sort of hydraulic component you need; our experienced team can help determine the one that will be best suited to your application. You can email sales@hydraulicsonline.com or you can speak to one of our friendly team members: +44 (0)845 644 3640.


Your one-stop hydraulic resource…

Thanks to our seemingly unrivalled access to a vast range of hydraulic manufacturers from around the world, and our innovative approach to hydraulic problem solving, Hydraulics Online are THE hydraulic supplier that a rapidly increasing number of customers turn to for all their equipment and systems design needs.

Large and small alike, our customers frequently rationalise their existing hydraulic supplier base, knowing that the team here can be relied upon to deliver trusted advice and solutions… backed up by reliable deliveries of equipment from both well-known and niche manufacturers. Hydraulic equipment that, in the nicest possible sense, they can then just “fit and forget”.

Not only that, but our team are fast gaining a reputation for loving a challenge. Straight forward and easy can be boring, right? We like to be kept on our toes. We are regularly tasked with sourcing seemingly obsolete or discontinued components and haven’t been beaten yet. Often working to the tightest of budgets and delivering “yesterday”, if an original product isn’t available, or lead times are unworkable, we can offer a direct equivalent or re-manufactured unit.

We like to say that…

If it’s hydraulic we can design it, supply it, solve it or repair it!

That includes: hydraulic pumpsmotorspower packs and units, cylinders and rams, valvesfilters and filtration systems, accumulators, and coolers and accessories for any kind of application in any kind of market – even ATEX rated equipment .

As an ISO 9001 accredited business, we don’t just “sell” hydraulics however… unless that’s all you want us to do. We aim to make it our business to understand your business, so that we can be certain we can give you the best advice possible and recommend products that really are “fit for purpose”.

Technical advice and assistance was first class and we would not hesitate in contacting you in the future to satisfy our requirements.

So even if you’re not sure what product you’re looking for… Let us take the pressure!

It goes without saying that we love all things hydraulic. And, keen as we are to spread the joy and understanding of hydraulic engineering, and believing that prevention is always better than cure we have produced what we hope you will agree is a useful reference section.

We add to this on a regular basis but, if you click on the links here you can find:

And finally, based firmly on the belief that prevention is better than cure we have some hints, tips and trouble-shooting guidance for you.

We have never tried, or even thought about trying, to measure the scale of our product offering – the number is, however, unquestionably huge! Our online catalogue showcases a very small selection of the products that we supply – we couldn’t possibly squeeze everything that we do in here!

Hydraulics CatalogueVisit our catalogue to see some of the hydraulic components we have within our range. If you can’t find what you’re looking for then call us or go to our Contact page to enquire online.

Testimonial: New Hydraulic System Design

Mark has been a star getting the kit together for a relatively crazy idea I have for an accessory which could have commercial applications beyond us… I’m a relative hydraulic ignoramus and he explained the options brilliantly to me.

Now matter how “crazy” your idea is, whether you run your own small business or work within a major PLC, our technical team can provide expertise to aid you in mobile or industrial hydraulic system design and the prototyping of new business concepts. We can advise you on your options and costings beyond the new hydraulic system design itself and support you through into “business as usual” production.

In fact, our ability to solve the toughest (and craziest) of hydraulic system design challenges and source all hydraulic equipment supplies makes us an obvious partner for original equipment manufacturers, large and small… find out more here.

Click through on the following links if you’d like to find out more about us and our customers, the markets and hydraulic manufacturers that we deal with and the hydraulic products and services that we can provide.

Case Study: Hydraulic Power Packs for Specialist Vehicles

Supporting customers’ new product development activities and delivering tender-winning solutions is all in a day’s work for the technical team here at Hydraulics Online. Our philosophy is one of not just “taking orders”, unless that’s all that our customers want and need us to do. Instead, we make it our business to understand your business… only then can we be sure that we are supplying you with hydraulic equipment that really is “fit for purpose”. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this way of thinking.

A global specialist vehicle converter, contacted the technical team recently looking for support having been let down by their existing supplier. They had previously taken delivery of a hydraulic power pack that had been incorrectly specified and was simply not suitable for their application; their successful tender for a major new contract was at stake.

Having asked the “right” questions and gathered as much information as they could about the application and its operating parameters, the technical team proposed an alternative system and suggested some additional improvements and safety features that could be made to the design.

Within the week the customer received their hydraulic power pack and additional equipment, and shortly afterwards began to put it through its paces as the prototype platform lift of a commercial vehicle. It worked a treat. The customer then placed an additional order to to enable them to implement our earlier recommendations for additional systems improvements… and we are delighted to say that they won the tender!

So whether you are looking for a relatively standard hydraulic power pack, or a bespoke unit as part of a larger hydraulic systems design project then you’ve come to the right place. You can find out more about the different types of hydraulic power unit here or…

Hydraulics CatalogueVisit our catalogue to see some of the hydraulic components we have within our range. If you can’t find what you’re looking for then call us or go to our Contact page to enquire online.

“Can you let the boys know that they are providing us with great service, parts and information in all our locations. Your service is prompt and reliable; you’re our “go to” guys when it comes to hydraulics.”

Blog & Case Studies

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News Archive

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