Oscar winning hydraulics

Behind the luvvies and the cameras and the glitzy awards evening was some serious engineering carried out by Parker Hannifin. After all, Titanic wouldn’t have been much of a film if they couldn’t get the ship to sink.

To get those dramatic sinking sequences, a 55m section of the ship needed to be sunk repeatedly both on the sound stage and in an adjacent 2.7 hectare filming tank and involved tilting the poop deck from a 5 angle to a 90 angle as nearly 100 stunt actors clung to the rail or slid to their doom.

To do this, a 30 by 60m platform operated by a hydraulic system was designed to tilt and sink the 55m section while a hydraulic hinge tilted the poop deck. The hinge was moved by two 200mm bore and one 175mm bore Parker Hannifin hydraulic cylinders with a 2.5m stroke.

Parker Hannifin supplied virtually all the components used in the Titanic hydraulic systems within just six weeks, and was also responsible for controlling the motion on set.