ENVIRONMENT

Smoother, safer flow for the locks

Non-toxic, biodegradable vegetable oil is to replace potentially harmful mineral oil as the hydraulic fluid used to operate lock gates on the Thames.

The Environmental Agency has specified in a refurbishment programme BP’s Biohyd 32 grade rapeseed oil for use in two 100 litre capacity systems at Romney Lock near Windsor in Berkshire and Bell Weir Lock at Egham in Surrey.

The fluid, pumped at 80bar and ambient temperature, must also cope with sub-zero temperatures on the river bed in the feed pipes between lock gates.

Biohyd is water soluble but will not mix with mineral oil. This makes it easy to spot tampering.

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Seal maker Hallite has developed hard-wearing polyurethane seals to replace perishable rubber in O-rings used on American standard hydraulic cylinders.

Typically, these are found on tractors, lifts, injection moulding and many other machines.

Seals are made to fit single-acting rod as well as single and double-acting pistons.

They operate at high speed over wide temperatures and pressure ranges to extend machine performance.

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Unlike earlier simulation packages, Phoenics 3.1 allows new as well as experienced users to produce accurate and reliable simulations of fluid flow, heat transfer and chemical reaction processes.

The software targets a range of pollution prediction and response applications from oil spill through water to the efficiency of flue gas desulphurisation equipment.

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The Ministry of Defence is using vacuum powered lifting equipment to handle a range of hazardous materials, including solvents and chemicals.

The Hover-Lift system, designed for intrinsically safe repetitive lifting, cannot be overloaded, will not pick up without a firm grip and lowers loads gently in the event of power failure.

The MoD chose Hover-Lift to cope with irregular shaped loads. Different suction feet lift drums, boxes and sacks.

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