What is water hydraulics?
Water hydraulics is the technique of using high pressure water, rather than oil, as the power transmission fluid in a hydraulic system.
Water-based hydraulic systems have historically been used in the hot metal areas of steel mills and some mining applications. The major advantage being water it is not flammable so there is no danger of fire should a hydraulic leak occur. However, thanks to the cheapness of water and its environmentally friendly nature compared with oil, more applications are being added all the time.
One such use comes from the oil and gas industry where very long hydraulic lines, called umbilicals, are run under the ocean. They use hydraulic power from shore-based facilities to control critical sea bed infrastructures, such as BOP valves.
Strictly speaking these systems use don’t use water, but low viscosity water based hydraulic fluids, however the pumping challenges are the same. Like water these fluids often have poor lubrication qualities. When operating at high pressure this can cause severe problems for traditional oil hydraulic pumps.
Harben high pressure diaphragm pumps are able to pump water and subsea control fluids with ease. They have no moving parts in contact with the pumped fluid and no seals. They can operate up to 700 bar and many of the shore based test facilities for BOP’s and christmas trees have Harben pumps providing all their hydraulic power.