Military vehicles are being kept in the field by reverse engineering obsolescent parts when they reach the point of failure, by a UK hydraulics manufacturer. Midlands-based MGR Fluid Power has the capacity and expertise to take an obsolescent hydraulic component from a military vehicle and either make a new component to print if the existing designs are still available, or completely reverse engineer a new part from the existing component.
This service is delivering an immediate solution to failed military vehicles out in the field, and allowing both land and air vehicles to remain in service for longer periods.
It is in Leamington Spa that all this specialist work is taking place, in MGR’s purpose-built factory, and is only made possible with the many years of expertise and experience the business has in hydraulic component manufacturing.
Previously, it has always been difficult to repair military vehicles once parts become obsolete due to the complexities of the work involved. In many cases, new components, such as hydraulic valves, have to be fitted into the exact same space as the original valves, and rarely does a standard model of valve suit these specific dimensions.
However, MGR has recently carried out a successful project where it upgraded a previously obsolescent valve for a military vehicle through reverse engineering. The work not only required the manufacture of a bespoke valve based upon the original part, but also a detailed understanding of hydraulic valves and how they perform in tough terrain environments. Not only did the part have to fit in the existing space with no extra surrounding room, it also had to operate efficiently.
“Obsolescence is a huge issue in the defence industry and often, when many vehicle components fail, the original manufacture of that component has long gone out of business, making a build-to-print process difficult,” said Mike Retford, Managing Director of MGR Fluid Power. He continued: “For this particular project, we had to reverse engineer a valve to the same size to fit the original design criteria, connect the necessary pipes and perform a factory acceptance test for the customer to demonstrate that the vehicle will continue to operate successfully. We had to set the valve to withstand six different pressures in order for it to perform to capacity in difficult environments.”
Retford added: “Projects like this are difficult for most hydraulics businesses in the UK, particularly because very few hydraulics components are still manufactured here. We are one of a small handful of businesses that can deliver this immediate and bespoke solution to keep military vehicles in the field for as long as possible.”
MGR Fluid Power believes that this method will be play a large role in maintaining defence systems and keeping equipment operational for longer periods of time. The business will be showcasing its full range of defence solutions at this year’s DVD 2016 exhibition at Millbrook Proving Ground at stand C256.