Posted at Tuesday, 19 April, 2022

Now hose expertise goes deeper than ever with ERIKS specialism

Paul Skade
By Chris Dixon
Head of Sales, Flow Control

I joined ERIKS in 1986 as a Sales trainee at our Grimsby Service Centre and have over 32 years of Distribution and Engineering experience.

Having worked in...

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A submarine costs over £1 billion to build. So the Royal Navy doesn’t just hand over the keys to the crew and tell them to head out to – and under – the sea. Instead they train them to the peak of expertise on a submarine simulator. And when that simulator needs to be maintained, they don’t just hand over the keys for that either.

Now hose expertise goes deeper than ever with ERIKS specialism

Before ERIKS’ Hose Technicians could even start on a major hoses overhaul of a Royal Naval submarine simulator, they had to undergo extensive background checks. And even when they had been approved as suitable to enter the Naval base, they had to be accompanied at all times by an escort. Only then could they start work on a major 10-year maintenance service in some very challenging conditions.

On the plus side, the submarine simulator is on dry land, not hundreds of fathoms underwater. On the minus side, the available space for ERIKS’ technicians to work in was very small and cramped, scaffolding and platforms were needed for access. Finally, to add to the pressure, if the deadline for completion was missed the whole service would have to be postponed for another year.

And who knows what that might mean for the UK’s submarine deterrent?

Hunt the hose

The overhaul required the replacement of a total of 63 hydraulic hoses and the hydraulic power pack. Before the hoses could be removed, ERIKS co-ordinated a specialist partner to drain, remove and safely dispose of the hydraulic oil, and replace the filtration units.

Now, with over 40 years’ hydraulics experience between them, the Hoses team at ERIKS Northampton Centre of Excellence were more than ready to ‘Dive! Dive! Dive!’ into the job.

However, on-site safety is always a priority for ERIKS, and in this case the challenging working environment made a comprehensive safety review essential. ERIKS’ own Health & Safety experts visited the site to carry out a point-of-work risk assessment, and a tag-out safety procedure was implemented.

With ERIKS ready to go there was a last minute hitch, with their main hoses supplier unable to meet the necessary delivery deadline. Fortunately, ERIKS’ lengthy experience and extensive contacts meant a new supplier was quickly found so the work could continue.

 

 

Improving ‘sub’ standard

In the 10 years since the submarine simulator’s last overhaul, new and improved hoses have reached the market. So rather than simply swapping like-for-like, when hoses with better flow or pressure ratings were available, ERIKS’ technicians upgraded the installation for greater efficiency and better performance.

Each replacement hose was also labelled with its own unique barcode, which can be scanned with a smartphone or tablet to link to the ERIKS Hose Asset Management app.

This not only brings up the hose’s complete specification and service history, but also identifies whether or not the hose is compliant with any new legislation introduced since its installation.

ERIKS recommend at least an annual inspection of hydraulic hoses, and a 5-year pressure- and cycle-testing programme, with replacement of any hoses which fail to pass. They also advise that no hose should be left for more than 8 years without being replaced. The Hose Asset Management app will provide alerts to ensure important hose service and maintenance milestones are not missed. This enables proactive and preventative maintenance of hydraulic hose assets, to optimise efficiency and safety.

 

Passed – with flying colours

Despite the supply issues, the complexity of ensuring safe working conditions, the additional work of upgrading some hoses, and the installation of the barcoding for improved monitoring and maintenance, ERIKS completed the overhaul of the hydraulic hose system with a whole week to spare.

The success of the project justified the faith of partners Thales, who contracted ERIKS for the Royal Navy project after seeing them successfully complete a similar job on an RAF flight simulator for the Airbus A400M Atlas military transport plane.

Working from the Northampton Centre of Excellence for Hose Technology, ERIKS project managed and executed both jobs on time and on budget. Leaving one customer flying high, and the other happy to have that sinking feeling once more.

 

For more information on Hose solutions and to get in touch with one of our ERIKS Fluid Power, Transfer and Control Specialists please contact your local ERIKS Service Centre, who will be happy to discuss your options.

#ERIKS #LetsMakeIndustryWorkBetter #Hose #Maintenance #RoyalNavy #Improvement #Specialism

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