Hydraulic power packs streamline testing for BLOODHOUND’s world record bid
Two new hydraulic power packs delivered to the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car (SSC) team last week will make safety and operational testing much easier, in the run-up to the project’s world land speed record bid.
There is a host of complicated hydraulics on board BLOODHOUND SSC. This includes rotary actuators, which open and close ball valves within the High Test Peroxide circuit; winglets that control downforce to the car; and symmetrical airbrake doors moved by two large hydraulic cylinders. It’s a major engineering task, which means there are hundreds of engineering checks to perform before the car attempts its world record bid in South Africa next year.
But running diagnostic checks is a challenge, as the on-board pump that powers them is connected to the jet engine – and it obviously isn’t practical to switch on a jet engine each time project engineers need to perform vital tests. That’s where the new power packs, supplied by motion control company Parker Hannifin, will make a difference.
Like ground support equipment for BLOODHOUND SSC, the Parker units plug directly into the car, allowing key hydraulic tests to take place without the need to start the jet engine and on-board pump.
Many power packs are reliant on visual checks, but the new BLOODHOUND equipment features Parker’s IQAN touchscreen display. Designed like a tablet, IQAN brings together all the signals that come from the unit, such as pressure, flow and system health. The easy-read display flags condition changes and provides warning signals to show any potential problems, such as a blocked filter; if a fault arose, a ‘system health’ box on the main screen would prompt the operator to investigate further. There is also an integrated failsafe mode, which protects the HPU and car should critical operational limits occur (for example, excessive oil temperature, low oil level or system contamination).
Maintaining clean oil is critical for BLOODHOUND SSC, as the aircraft-specification hydraulic valves on the car are intolerant to the very fine South African desert dust. So there’s even a full conditioning system built into the power packs - this continuously filters and cools the oil in the unit. Plus, machine diagnostics and electronic readouts on these packs will help the team spot any oil deterioration quickly and easily. Built-in condition monitoring through Parker’s icountPD device provides a continuous screen reading on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code for the hydraulic oil; particle counts are read by a laser beam, converted into ISO cleanliness figures and displayed on-screen. All system data generated by the power packs can also be downloaded and analysed by the BLOODHOUND team.
The packs are designed for easy mobility. Around 1.4 metres long, 1.2 metres wide and 1.4 metres high, they are built on a base frame with wheels that makes them easy to transport.
Mark Chapman, chief engineer on the BLOODHOUND Project, said: “The new power packs will let us check settings, operation and safety when the car is stationary. That’s important while we build BLOODHOUND SSC – and it will be mission-critical on our land speed runs in Newquay and South Africa in 2016 and 2017. So the packs will join us on the journey.
“It’s not practical to operate a jet engine for a couple of minutes to perform tests like pressure checks. But plugging the vehicle into one of these units is quick and easy.”
Parker’s Mark Cattermole said: “The conditioning system and two-stage checking process are useful features. If everything is OK, the system will run without hindrance. But if there are any potential problems, prompts will appear on-screen to automatically warn the team there’s a problem; and if the situation isn’t sorted out, the system will go into failsafe mode and shut the system down, to avoid risking damage to BLOODHOUND’s hydraulics.”
“BLOODHOUND’s engineers will use the power packs almost every day whilst they’re preparing for the world record bid.”
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.