There’s no denying the impact that hydraulic technology has had on society. Hydraulic technology has been essential to the development of vehicles, construction, and managing waste. And those are just some of the more common uses of the aforementioned form of technology.
Learning more about its history, its current role in society and industry, and its future should help us appreciate it better.
When Was the Hydraulic System Invented?
In order to further understand the profound impact hydraulics has had and continues to have, it helps to look back on how it emerged in the first place.
Identifying the exact person who invented the first hydraulic system or even just pinpointing the time when it first came about is difficult. That’s due to how long hydraulic systems have been around.
What we do know is that hydraulics dates back to the time of ancient civilizations.
Hard Chrome Specialists notes that the term “hydraulic” has Greek roots. The people of ancient Greece engineered hydraulic systems of their own, examples of which included aqueducts, canals, and irrigation systems.
The world of hydraulics would take another big leap forward thanks to the work of Blaise Pascal. His work on hydraulics would pave the way for numerous inventions and innovations that would emerge later on.
By the 19th century, hydraulic technology became an even more integral element of several industries. This would be the time when hydraulic principles were used to improve upon mining practices. People also began to harness hydroelectric power more efficiently thanks to improvements in the field of hydraulics.
The spread of hydraulic technology only continued as more innovations were introduced. These days, you can now find hydroelectric power plants all over the world and devices that use hydraulic technology are commonly found on work sites and inside homes.
When Were Hydraulics Introduced to Industry?
Hydraulic technology is regarded as a key component of many inventions that have helped streamline industrial operations. It’s also a big reason why we are able to use such complex forms of machinery for the purposes of travel and construction today.
But when did we first realize the potential hydraulic technology to be a game-changing force in industry?
Once again, we must highlight the work of Blaise Pascal. The aptly named Pascal’s Law that he engineered is a seminal discovery that would allow for the increased integration of hydraulics.
According to Pascal’s Law, pressure applied to a liquid enclosed within a system will be distributed equally in all directions. The discovery would then be used by Joseph Brammah to construct a basic hydraulic press. By 1795, he was awarded the patent for the hydraulic press.
The hydraulic press and the principles it featured would serve as the foundation for numerous other inventions that made use of fluids to generate force. Eventually, those principles were put to use as more complex forms of machinery were invented.
Hydraulics would also be used by Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson to power the Fordson Tractor, according to Living History Farm. The result of marrying hydraulic power with their designs proved to be a huge success. The tractor was capable of operating in a way that its predecessors simply could not.
The impact of hydraulic technology was wide-ranging and far-reaching. It even changed how efficiently farmers were able to produce food.
Still, one could argue that its impact on construction and manufacturing was more profound.
How Has Manufacturing & Construction Been Affected?
Hydraulic technology first made its way into the fields of construction when it was used to help power an excavator by heavy equipment manufacturers. The excavator in question utilized hydraulic power along with cables and winches to get work done, per Mac Hydraulics.
Since the hybrid excavator left much to be desired, the Kilgore Machine Company went ahead and engineered a new excavator that relied solely on hydraulics. The hydraulic excavator was first introduced back in 1897 but despite how efficiently it worked, the construction industry would not embrace hydraulic technology fully until the 1960s.
These days, you can see hydraulic technology implemented in machines big and small.
Evidently, manufacturers have taken a liking to the benefits presented by hydraulics. Along with being able to produce plenty of force, machines powered by this kind of technology could also be incredibly precise. That combination has proven to be very valuable and it’s a big reason why hydraulic machines have stuck around and why they are likely to stay for a very long time.
What Is the Future of Hydraulics?
Machines that utilize hydraulic technology are not expected to go away anytime soon. Mobile Hydraulic Tips predicts that they may even become more sought after in the future as manufacturing electronic equipment potentially becomes more expensive and the discovery of a so-called “superfluid” remains a distinct possibility.
Still, there are some concerns about the long-term viability of hydraulics due mainly to two main issues.
First is the environmental impact hydraulic machines have. Manufacturers will need to design machines that use smaller amounts of oil if their impact on the environment is to be reduced. Increased adoption of biodegradable oils can also help in that regard.
The other concern relates to the number of people who have extensive knowledge and experience working with hydraulic machines. Hydraulics & Pneumatics notes that the number of people who specialize in hydraulics has decreased significantly.
Attracting young minds who want to learn more about hydraulics is essential. Emphasizing the benefits of hydraulic technology should lure in more aspiring professionals.
Hydraulic technology has been a positive force in the modern world and it promises to stay that way for the foreseeable future. If you’re interested in using more hydraulic machinery in your operations or would like to have your existing equipment repaired, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Sapphire Hydraulics. Reach out to us today to learn more about our products and services.