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Hydraulic System Evolution of Hydraulics in the Construction Industry

To appreciate modern hydraulics in the construction industry, it is essential to have an understanding of the evolution of hydraulic systems.  The sight of bulldozers, cranes, excavators, and other construction equipment that utilize hydraulics has become common.  Yet, things were not always this way.

excavator digging a trench for the pipeline

You might be surprised to learn “modern” hydraulics in construction did not start to occur until the 1960s!  Before the major changes in the 60s, most types of construction processes were carried out by using winches, cables, weights, and steam power.

If we look back in time, we can find the first use of hydraulics  in a hybrid fluid power machine used in the early 1880s in the U.K. to help construct Hull docks. The machine was also fitted with winches and cables, so it was not a fully hydraulic machine.

The next evolution of hydraulics came about in the 1890s.  Two different construction equipment manufacturers developed hydraulic excavator shovels.  The equipment still had cables, winches, and weights to provide assistance.

Finally, in the 1950s, a construction manufacturer in France rolled out the first excavators that were completely powered by hydraulics without the use of winches and cables. The same company later built the first excavator that could rotate 360 degrees just on hydraulic power.

factory female worker operating a crane

The 1960s spelt the end of cables, winches, and weights in construction equipment. By the 1970s, most construction equipment had been switched over to hydraulics. The rise in computers and electronics combined with hydraulics has more recently allowed for more precise operations and control.

Today, there are many complex hydraulic systems used in the construction industry that provide a wide array of operations and functions.

To find hydraulic pumps, motors, and accessories for construction equipment hydraulic systems, feel free to browse our extensive inventories online at: www.whp.co.uk, or contact White House Products, Ltd. at +44 (0) 1475 742500 today!

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