Here at Hydraulics Online we always like to go the extra mile for our customers… but sometimes designing the hydraulic systems and sourcing obscure, or even obsolete, equipment is the easy part of the order!
An article by Ian, Technical Sales…
The sheer variety of equipment enquiries and projects that we are asked to get involved with ensures that every day is different here at Hydraulics Online… expediting standard or obscure parts to new or regular customers, or planning the specialist design for a unique one-off project – like the hydraulic systems to control the nose on Concorde, for example.
Although we get involved with some fantastic projects and real one-off designs as an international hydraulics business, having over 75 years’ technical experience under our belts sometimes means that engineering the perfect bespoke solution is the least of our work!
An International Hydraulics Operation
The other day, for example, I had to send a Dowty gear pump over to Panama for a refurbishment of a ship. For an order like this, the logistics of getting the part where it needs to be quickly and on time can be a significant part of our work.
It’s fun to watch the regions we talk to change through the day as the sun rises and sets in different time zones. But these days, there is virtually no corner of the world one can’t ship to… even if it does take a little creative thinking on our part!
On a recent job, I found myself coordinating a part from the Netherlands, delivered to a Hungarian company, which needed to replace the hydraulics, a T7 Parker pump, on a German vessel that was on lease to Singapore – a truly international affair!
Working with our Partners
And as another example, earlier this week, I’ve overseen the delivery of a Bosch Rexroth pump to Kenyasi Sunyani, a remote town in the middle of Ghana. The penetration of mobile phone use in West Africa means it isn’t uncommon for us to receive orders for hydraulic parts from all over the region and we have strong established processes for making sure the part gets where it needs to go!
One of the most remote places we’ve ever delivered to is the town of Barnu in Southern Mongolia. It is so remote that none of the major courier businesses deliver there and we really struggled to find a courier of any kind who could deliver the Danfoss motor for us. But we didn’t give up and found a partner in the UK who went there regularly and he was able to take the orders over there with him on our behalf!
Closer to home, we deliver regularly to the Faroe Islands. This doesn’t sound too difficult, but quite often we are required to deliver some very large and heavy equipment, 1000kg Oerlikon Fairfield torque hubs on one occasion, and that’s what makes it more challenging. Again, the major couriers can’t help us. But our indefatigable investigations led us to a shipping company that do travel to the Faroe Islands on a regular basis and could transport even our heavier parts for us.
Its cargos normally consist of full or part loads of frozen and fresh seafood imported from the Faroes, and the company is still run by the great-great-grandson of the man who first started making the trips from the town to the islands. It’s wonderful when we find a creative solution like this that means we can help our customers, especially when they have been unable to source the part they need from anyone else.
We do pride ourselves on going that extra mile, whether that mile is here throughout the UK, en route to the Faroe Islands or in the middle of the Mongolian wilderness!
And I’ve not even mentioned, have I, that sometimes shipping international hydraulics means we even have aircraft on standby to get time-critical parts to oil rigs and other non-mainland destinations!
How can we help you?
We grab a word with Hydraulics Online co-founder, Helen Baker. As Operations Director, Helen has the strategy and big picture firmly within her sight, but she isn’t afraid to roll up her own sleeves to deliver on that vision. Here she talks about driving the business forward, capitalising on marketing opportunities, and shaping the organisational culture.
“Other than the basics, I won’t claim to understand a great deal more about hydraulics than when we first started,” admits Helen, “but I bring something else to the business – the strategy, marketing and operations. After I graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Economics and Accounting, I worked for Barclays and then a FTSE 100 life assurance company delivering big strategic change projects. My strengths lie in having an idea and a blank sheet of paper, defining what needs to be done and then making things happen. The hydraulics – that’s Mark. But my skills compliment his and that’s what makes us such a great team.”
What’s most remarkable is the way Mark and Helen have also ensured this balance, and their team ethos has permeated the whole culture of Hydraulics Online.
Our success today – in no small way down to Helen’s dynamism – is, in terms of sales, global reach, and online presence, a far cry from where the business started in 2004, yet much has remained the same.
From Humble Beginnings
“Having identified a gap in the market and made the decision to set up Hydraulics Online, our priority initially was to build a business that could generate enough income for us to keep the roof over our heads and, critically, enable us to juggle work with home and the demands of our large family,” says Helen.
“Whilst we had ambition and commitment and took ourselves seriously from the start, we had no idea that we would be able to build such a successful business or that we’d soon be exporting hydraulic equipment and systems all over the world.”
It hasn’t always been easy. Helen and Mark added to their family in 2007 when their youngest child was born – and Helen was suddenly juggling work and family life with the demands of a new baby: “I think my maternity leave lasted about two days,” she smiles, “but working for yourself does have certain advantages – the empowerment, the flexibility. The flipside of that, of course, is you can’t switch off. And if you don’t make things happen, nobody else will.”
Helen’s energy and enthusiasm for growing the business hasn’t been dimmed by the rapid progress made over the last 13 years. It has, for example, been one of the main reasons that she decided Hydraulics Online should pursue an ISO 9001 accreditation.
“I felt strongly that ISO 9001 was right for us as a business. On a practical level, as we attracted more overseas trade, we were increasingly asked about the standard by new customers on their vendor questionnaires. But, more than that, I felt that it would enable us to consolidate what we had achieved so far, in terms of quality and customer service, and make sure that we can retain those standards as we grow. I wanted to put us through our paces though, and decided that the only way to do it properly was to secure accreditation directly from the British Standards Institute themselves. The process has been invaluable in sharpening our thinking – years on and the whole team is always alert to opportunities to work more effectively. It’s just the way we do things now.”
We’ve been ISO 9001 accredited since February, 2014. In this time, we’ve been able to gather more information from our customers about what they want, and Helen credits the process with helping Hydraulics Online to refine and understand our value proposition.
“For us, it has never been about shifting boxes,” asserts Helen. “anyone can do that. We are more about the people than the products. Everyone knows that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, but our team are so rich technically – over 80 years between them at the last count – and we want to share that knowledge. We genuinely want to support our customers; we won’t suggest something if we don’t think it’s right for them. We like our customers to think of us as an extension of their own team.”
Hydraulics Online’s independent status has also been a key part of building this trust.
“We have never wanted to be in anyone else’s pocket – having to keep a certain amount of stock, or push a particular manufacturer’s product range – so independence has always been important to us as we have continued to build the business. Since gathering customer feedback under ISO 9001 and as we have worked with our customers to write case studies, we’ve discovered that this independence is also highly prized by our customers.”
“It means they know we have no bias, we only sell quality products that we know are right for the job. If it isn’t right, we won’t put our name to it.”
It’s All About the Team
Helen’s clear vision of the values of Hydraulics Online permeates every aspect of business operations, not only the customer-facing elements.
“We’ve built Hydraulics Online while our own young family is growing up, so we know that life never fits neatly into the weekends or after 5pm, ” she says. “Since our Finance and Administration Manager, Joanna, joined our team she is now able to go to her sons’ school assemblies and, last year, she attended their school sports day for the first time.”
“It’s really sad she wasn’t able to go in the past. Ensuring our staff have the same flexibility that we’ve been able to enjoy is really important to us. We want to retain this balance as we grow because the future success of Hydraulics Online is very much about the team.”
With our competitive access to a vast range of hydraulic equipment manufacturers and over 75 years’ technical experience behind us, it’s hardly surprising that our customer base covers such a vast range of industries and applications all over the world…
In fact if you named a market or country, we’re confident that we’ll be able to tell you about a customer or project that we’ve been involved with. We do, however, seem to attract a great deal of custom from marine, ship management and offshore services companies. Take, for example, the case of this overseas company looking for Parker pumps for one of their vessels…
The company, whose vessels are used in offshore operations for one of the largest oil producers in the world, first contacted Hydraulic Online when they needed a number of Parker pumps – Denison T6C Series vane pumps – for one of their vessels.
Denison Hydraulics is part of the Parker Hannifin group, and as such a leading industrial manufacturer who provides highly engineered hydraulic fluid power systems and hydraulic equipment that can be found in a multitude of applications ranging from: mobile equipment used in the construction, demolition, agricultural, mining and utilities industries to machinery found in industrial manufacturing and marine equipment for commercial and military ships alike.
Denison vane pumps remain operational at pressures exceeding 4,500 pounds per square inch, differ in size from 0.35 cubic inches to 16 cubic inches, and in displacement from 1 to 250 gallons per minute. These Parker pumps, considered to be some of the toughest components in the industry, are often recognised by their distinctive double-lip design, where the vane is in contact with the cam ring at two points as opposed to one, which is the single-lip design. This double-lip design decreases the vulnerability to contamination when compared to single-lip pumps.
You can find more information on the full range of Commercial Hydraulics Parker pumps by clicking here.
Anyway, back to our customer… we quoted for the T6 Parker Pumps (and some Veljan vane pumps as well), apparently beating off competition from another overseas supplier local to our customer. And the rest is history…
But it doesn’t stop there… the customer was so impressed with our service, that they immediately asked us to quote for a replacement double servo pump that to be used on the bow thruster system on another one of their vessels. Thrusters are mounted to the bow of the vessel to make docking easier; they enable the ship to turn to port or starboard side, without having to use the main propulsion mechanism which involves some forward motion for turning.
As is often the case, the customer sent in a photo (shown here) and asked our technical team to identify their existing pump (Commercial Hydraulics P31 series, Parker pumps) and quote for a replacement unit… which we did. The customer received their replacement pumps within a week of placing their order and quickly had the vessel back servicing oil rigs in the North Sea!
Our customers really are our best advocates, and we have plenty more case studies and testimonials, if you would like to take a look… Maybe your story might feature in our growing library one day too?
You just can’t beat going into your inbox to find emails from customers who are so happy with your service that they have taken the time to write and say “thank you”…
In a world that never stops, where time is precious, and where businesses and consumers have more information and choice than ever about where they choose to spend… the “novelty” of reading a “thank you” from another happy customer never wears off. But there’s actually nothing “novel” about it; we frequently get “thank you” emails, and phone calls too. And we never take it for granted.
Hydraulics Online was founded in 2004, and from the start we have always believed in the importance of delivering first class customer service within a culture of continuous improvement. Lived it. Breathed it. Walked the proverbial talk.
Over the years, the feedback from our rapidly-growing customer base was that we were doing things right, doing things well and that we “knew our stuff”, or as one customer put it:
You don’t just shift boxes; you know your business inside and out…
But as our business continued to grow, having our commitment to quality and continuous improvement stringently and independently assessed was the obvious thing to do – to provide both the platform for further growth and to give our rapidly-growing and increasingly international customer-base even more confidence in our brand and our abilities. We chose none other than the British Standards Institute to assess our business and its systems against the internationally recognised quality management standard, ISO 9001. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history…
Our happy customers come from all corners of the globe, all markets and industries and all walks of life. Literally. Many are “big name” companies, experts themselves, with very clear ideas and requirements, while others are incidental users of hydraulics finding themselves in a breakdown situation with no idea of how to put things right. And then there is everybody in-between.
With over 75 years’ technical experience behind us and access to a vast range of leading and niche hydraulic manufacturers from around the world, we’re passionate about hydraulics. And as this selection of extracts from some very recent emails shows, we have the service to match too:
Thank you very much for your help. Yes, you gained our trust and you will be our first source for hydraulics.
Thank you for your email and receipt for the hydraulic valve we ordered. I was very pleased with the prompt service received and Mark was very efficient and helpful in identifying the correct part we needed. We will most definitely use your company again…
I write to thank you for your assistance in delivering a replacement Parker tandem pump for our vessel. The pump was installed on the main engine reduction gearbox this morning and has been successfully tested in all operating modes. Your help was much appreciated.
I just wanted to say thanks for all your help. It’s the first time we have used Hydraulics Online, and we will be using them again. A faultless service!
I want to express my very good impression for your quick response, service and variety of products. Be sure that in future cases we will need you again. Maybe we can start a co-operation and send you an order with some products we need for our stock?
Thank you for your service with selecting the proper pump. Pumps have arrived this morning and they conform completely with the old pumps.
Our customers are, without doubt, our best advocates, and we have plenty more more of their testimonials and case studies here and throughout this website if you would like to take a look.
So, if you need hydraulics you’re in the right place… Your brand will be in safe hands. What are you waiting for?
Trusted hydraulic power unit suppliers, for all manner of mobile and industrial applications, budgets and design challenges – wherever if the world you may happen to be…
Whether you are looking for a relatively “standard”, or completely bespoke hydraulic power unit and system, you can rest assured knowing that, with over 75 years’ technical experience and our ISO 9001:2008 accreditation under our belt, you’ll be in safe hands.
Thanks for all your support and your prompt replies to my queries and for providing the best hydraulic power pack unit and equipment… unlike the substandard components from China used by others. Our client is very happy with the overall performance of the equipment.
A hydraulic power unit is the “backbone” of any hydraulic system…
Built to operate continuously, and engineered to withstand the most demanding of working environments, a typical hydraulic power unit will comprise a: hydraulic motor, pump, reservoir and coolers (to keep the fluid at a safe working temperature), and can produce a huge amount of power to drive most hydraulic cylinders.
If you are looking for something standard, an “off-the-shelf” hydraulic power unit so to speak, then the good news is that we are a leading distributor for UK-based Fluidlink Hydraulics. Established in 1993, Fluidlink Hydraulics started as a distributor for Smiths Industries Hydraulics company. During 2002 however, Smiths Industries withdrew from the hydraulics market leaving Fluidlink with customers but without products. To serve their customer base, Fluidlink invested heavily in the necessary machinery and developed into a hydraulic power unit manufacturer in their own right. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Fluidlink hydraulic power unit series is used in a multitude of mobile and industrial applications. Available in AC and DC, and with three different types of body and tank to choose, this “standard” hydraulic power unit can be readily tailored to your specific requirements. The full range comprises:
- Former Smiths hydraulic power unit products – Mk3 hydraulic power unit, Slimline hydraulic power packs and Autopacks;
- New “G” series range of mini hydraulic power unit and hydraulic pump/hydraulic motor units;
- Soundless, industrial hydraulic power unit versions available up to 4kW;
- Former “A” and “D” control valve range;
- The upgraded compact Series 35 range of bankable valves is now available;
- Combining hydraulics and electronic controls with PLCs – including programming and data logging.
You can hop over to our catalogue and view our range of Fluidlink hydraulic power units – available ex-stock. If you can’t find, or aren’t even sure about, what you’re looking for then complete our stock enquiry form, or for more advice and quotations contact one of our technical sales team.
Maybe you’re looking for something completely bespoke – a hydraulic power unit that’s far from standard, designed and built to your suit your exact requirements…
The collection of images at the top of this page page shows a handful of the hydraulic power unit systems that we have supplied in the past. You can view these in more detail within our power pack album on Facebook.
Our most famous hydraulic power unit customer to date would probably have to be Concorde. Duxford Aviation Society, owners of the British Airliner Collection, were keen to improve their display of Concorde 101 G-AXDN at the Imperial War Museum. In response, Heritage Concorde proposed making her the first UK Concorde since 2003 to be able to “droop” her nose… and then approached Hydraulics Online asking if we could help on “Project Salute” – we certainly could!
You can read more about the project here, but in brief – the technical team designed and built a bespoke hydraulic power unit that could be connected to the existing nose hydraulic systems and allow the visor and nose to be lowered and raised at any time; safety features included a pressure gauge and a hydraulic pressure valve. G-AXDN’s droop nose was unveiled at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford on 24th October, 2014 – timed to coincide with, and “Salute”, the 11th anniversary of the last commercial flight by Concorde – and was featured on the BBC News and ITV News as well as being reported on by regional press.
But there are plenty more hydraulic power units and systems that we have supplied that haven’t hit the headlines! Take, for example, the multi-national production facility that had an old failing, critical piece of equipment employed on a continuous “24/7” run… due to very old hydraulic circuits and leaking, obsolete hydraulic valves, more time was spent on fixing regular breakdowns than on production itself. Hydraulics Online were asked to attend site and designed a far more simple, yet cost-effective solution to upgrade the hydraulic power unit. The work was completed on schedule, a backlog in production was tackled and the customer began completing orders on time, and even ahead of schedule!
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 too.
A global, specialist vehicle converter, contacted the team after being let down by their existing supplier; a hydraulic power unit that had been incorrectly specified and their successful tender for a major new contract was at stake. Having asked the “right” questions, 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 unit and additional equipment, and began to put it through its paces as the prototype platform lift of an emergency services vehicle. It worked a treat. The customer 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!
On a smaller scale, Hydraulics Online were asked by a bespoke construction and engineering company to come up with a complete system for use in a disabled household to open and close loft and office access doors. A suitable hydraulic system was designed, built and supplied with a complete hydraulic power unit including all relevant hydraulic hoses and fittings, and is now used on a daily basis.
If you’re still not convinced that we’re the right hydraulic power unit supplier for you then there are plenty more examples scattered throughout our library of cases studies and testimonials. We hope to hear from you soon.
Rich in hydraulic power pack and systems knowledge and with over 60 years’ experience in components supply, Hydraulics Online really is your one-stop hydraulics resource…
Add to this our competitive, customer-focused outlook, and you will soon see why Hydraulics Online enjoys a reputation for consistently providing practical, trusted advice and solutions… whether for relatively standard or completely bespoke requirements.
I’m more than happy to order this hydraulic power pack with you, as the other five have been perfect for their various applications. Could I please have it under the order number “4041”.
The quote above came in from an existing customer earlier today; they’re materials testing technology specialists where precision and consistency count for everything.
Capable of operating continuously and equipped to withstand the toughest of working environments, a hydraulic power pack is considered the “backbone” of any hydraulic system. A typical hydraulic power unit will comprise a: hydraulic motor, reservoir, pump and coolers (to keep the fluid at a safe working temperature), and can produce a huge amount of power to drive most hydraulic cylinders.
A hydraulic power pack can be used in a diverse range of applications…
From farming and fishing, harvesting crops and the latest catch, to food and drinks production (and all the packaging), through to waste disposal and refuse lorries, power generation, compacting and recycling waste. Just to prove the point…
A key production plant to the brewery industry asked Hydraulics Online to re-design and supply a more efficient unit within 3 days, as a major production line was down.
Within 2 hours of receiving the call one of our hydraulic engineers attended site and specified a complete, new and more efficient and powerful hydraulic power pack. The customer raised their purchase order there and then. The system was built, tested and installed within 72 hours; downtime and lost production was therefore kept to a minimum. Within a further 48 hours all lost production had been recovered with orders then being produced ahead of schedule due to the greater efficiency delivered by the hydraulic power pack.
So, from beer to university students… or rather a request from Edinburgh University for our technical team to provide them with a hydraulic solution (as a concrete testing machine) for destruction tests within the construction industry. No problem. Hydraulics Online specified, designed and built a suitable high-pressure system including actuators which was then supplied to the customer within tight time and budget constraints.
As a final example, Hydraulics Online were approached by an alternative energy power company after their previous hydraulic supplier had failed to meet expectations. The customer supplied outline requirements and asked Hydraulics Online to propose a brand new hydraulic power pack and system.
A bespoke unit was duly designed and built with many modifications to the original, inherited specification; this resulted in a much more stable and controllable system which was far more suitable to the application.
If you’re looking for a standard hydraulic power pack, then you may like to know that we’re an authorised distributor for UK-based Fluidlink Hydraulics…
Originally a distributor themselves for the Smiths Industries Hydraulics company, Fluidlink have now been producing their their own high quality, yet cost-effective, hydraulic power packs since 1993. Their 12v or 24v hydraulic power pack range, includes the Smiths Industries power pack designs, is available in AC and DC and with three different versions of body and tank to choose from means that a unit can be readily customised – despite the fact that we refer to it as “standard”.
You can hop over to our catalogue and view our range of standard, ex-stock, mini and micro Fluidlink hydraulic power packs. If you can’t find what you’re looking for then complete our stock enquiry form, or for more technical advice and quotations contact one of our team on: 0845 644 3640, or via: firstname.lastname@example.org
The image at the top of this page page shows a handful of the hydraulic power packs and systems that we have supplied in the past. You can view these in more detail within our power pack album on Facebook and there are plenty more examples scattered throughout our library of cases studies and testimonials.
In the meantime, we’ll leave you with these words from a leading designer and manufacturer of customised specialist vehicles and exhibition units used in: film and TV production, music festivals, live sports events and promotional roadshows:
That <hydraulic power pack> was spot on. Thanks for all your help, it’s great knowing we have someone like you supporting us on these types of vehicles.
Everything was fine, and your correspondence and follow up is exceptional.
This generous feedback was from a new customer needing a hydraulic gear motor for their engineering and fabrication business.
As a leading supplier of hydraulic motors we enjoy widespread, competitive access to both “big name” and niche manufacturers from around the world, including: Parker, Sauer Danfoss (Danfoss), Denison Hydraulics, Italgroup, Maxma, Vickers hydraulic motors, Roquet, Bosch Rexroth and White Drive Products. Even if the hydraulic motor you are looking for is obsolete, we can usually offer a direct equivalent or a repair service to provide alternative solutions… useful if you are on a tight timescale or budget too!
Click here to visit our catalogue and view some of the hydraulic motors we have within our range; if you can’t find the hydraulic motor that you’re looking for then complete our Stock Enquiry Form or for more technical advice contact one of our experienced hydraulic engineers on: 0845 644 3640 or via: email@example.com
That is spot on. Thanks for all your help, its great knowing we have someone like you supporting us on these types of vehicles.
This was the feedback emailed in earlier today from a happy customer; a leading designer and manufacturer of customised specialist vehicles and exhibition units used in: film and TV production, music festivals, live sports events and promotional roadshows.
At Hydraulics Online we don’t believe in just taking orders, unless that’s all our customers genuinely want and need us to do. Instead we make it our business to understand your business… asking the “right” questions about your application… often leading to a more robust, efficient, safer and cost-effective design in the process.
So, whether you are looking for a relatively standard 12vDC mini hydraulic power pack, or a completely bespoke unit, then you have come to the right place. If a “relatively standard”, but still customisable, hydraulic power pack is what you’re looking for then as an authorised distributor for UK-based Fluidlink Hydraulics we offer a comprehensive industry-standard hydraulic power pack range, including the former Smiths Industries power packs. Widely used in industrial and mobile applications, the Fluidlink hydraulic power pack range is available in AC and DC and with three different versions of body and tank to choose from a hydraulic power pack can be readily customised to meet your own specific requirements.In this particular case case our customer will be taking delivery of a number of 12vDC mini hydraulic power packs complete with start switches.
Click here to hop over to our catalogue and view our range of standard, mini and micro Fluidlink hydraulic power packs. If you can’t find the hydraulic power pack that you’re looking for then complete our stock enquiry form, or for more technical advice and hydraulic power pack quotations contact one of our team on: 0845 644 3640, or via: firstname.lastname@example.org