20 May, 2024

Passing the test

21 March, 2017

For over 25 years, Hydrotechnik has been a leading UK distributor of hydraulic testing and analysis components and equipment. Approximately three years ago, while reviewing the business’s strategic direction, managing director Richard Price had a lightbulb moment that led to the company taking a bold, but ultimately profitable, move in its quest for further growth. “I was considering our areas of expertise,” explained Price, “when I realised we have all these parts and sell them to people who make rigs, so asked myself the question ‘why don’t we design, build and commission test rigs ourselves?’”

Previously, Hydrotechnik had typically supplied components to either systems integrators or end users within design engineering departments, who would use them to build rigs and systems to perform a broad range of hydraulic and hydrostatic tests. While the business was successful simply selling components, its potential to add value was limited. At the same time, across the various markets that Hydrotechnik served, in-house engineering departments were disappearing amid efficiency drives and the company’s end user customers were increasingly outsourcing the design and build of test rigs to systems integrators.

The move wasn’t without its challenges and risks, however. A significant amount of new skills and knowledge was needed to manufacture turnkey systems. But it wasn’t long before the company started to develop a reputation for its work and enquiries began to grow; quickly turning in to orders.

Rail project

Price reflects that some of these test rig projects can create enormous challenges; the biggest of which so far has been for a company in the rail sector. The business in question overhauls rolling stock and part of that process requires large cylinders used in braking systems to be pressure-tested to ensure their integrity. It is a safety-critical part of the process, which results in certification for the component.

Before Hydrotechnik even got to the stage of designing the system, the size of the company presented challenges that had to be overcome. Identifying the right people and departments to communicate with wasn’t easy. Then, the health & safety requirements for getting on site were far from straightforward too.

Plumbing, heating & engineering

Another case study example saw Hydrotechnik design, built and commission an advanced burst testing rig for a UK-based plumbing, heating & engineering product manufacturer that distributes its products worldwide.

Regular and rigorous burst testing ensures that their products are developed to meet the demanding standards within hydraulic applications. The custom-built test rig is installed within a sophisticated workshop and is an integral part of their development testing. The test rig main capabilities are:

• Manual pressure build up with course, fine & super fine pressure adjustments.

• Real time accurate reading and logging of pressure.

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