High-performance electro-hydraulic components are rarely available in a configuration that can survive on the weather deck of a ship. This presents a packaging issue for hydraulic control consoles that must not only control complex hydraulic systems but also allow for direct operator interface with the controls. For the US Navy, Einhorn Engineering successfully designed and oversaw the fabrication of a ruggedized hydraulic control console that met these requirements.
In addition to protecting components from the saltwater environment and allowing manual control of some functions, it was necessary that the design also allow for easy access for maintenance personnel while providing a compact package of the various components and tube runs. Einhorn Engineering was able to consider all aspects of the design with its breadth of experience with fluid power systems.
The Hydraulic Control Console (HCC) controls three main subsystems of a large shipboard handling system. Across these subsystems, it controls 10 various functions. All functions are normally operated remotely at the handling system’s main electrical control panel; however, as a backup, most can be operated directly at the HCC. To minimize tube runs and cabinet size, a custom manifold was designed by Einhorn Engineering to combine over a dozen functions into one manifold.
During normal operations, with all access doors closed, the HCC meets the requirements of a NEMA 4X-rated enclosure as it is a corrosion-resistant enclosure impervious to hose-directed water. All penetrations into the enclosure are watertight and all access doors are gasketed. Pressure gauges on the operator panel feature a welded front flange which produces a watertight mounting between the gauge and the panel.
Of the various functions controlled by the HCC, four of them utilize a four-section, electro-hydraulic, solenoid-actuated, proportional valve assembly. To protect this valve during normal operations, a custom enclosure was designed and built that covered the handle portion of the valve set. If access is required, the operator can use the quarter turn latch to quickly access the controls.