It is often the case that our customers come to us not necessarily with a design, but with a problem to solve. This was the case last year when we were first approached by Seatricity to manufacture a ground breaking new piece of hydraulic cylinder design and manufacture.
Seatricity is a business very much on the leading edge of wave energy technology. Their device uses wave movement to create electricity from pressurised sea water.
This is based on a float which travels up and down with the waves and operates a pump to pipe sea water ashore under pressure. The pressurised water is then used to generate the electricity in a stable and safe environment onshore.
The floats can be daisy-chained together providing a scalable solution with the option of added redundancy to make allowance for the harsh environment these devices operate in.
In fact, it was the harsh operating environment that presented one of the major difficulties in the design and manufacture of this challenging hydraulic cylinder.
The cylinder had not only to have exceptional reach, it also had to withstand long term the highly corrosive environment of the ocean.
The first prototype failed because an experimental Nickel coating was used to protect carbon steel rods. This proved to be an indequate solution and so duplex rods have now been used.
In terms of reach, this cylinder was the largest of this type we have ever attempted. So large, that when shipping a police escort was required for the exceptionally long load.
Seatricity sought The Cylinder Service Centre out because they simply could not find another company that had both the technological understanding and the manufacturing capability to make their ground breaking vision a reality.
There is still a long way to go before this new technology becomes anything like widespread or mainstream, but by stretching the technological limits - we have at least brought it within reach.