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?