This week, I visited longtime Fluid Power World contributor Carl Dyke at his Alberta-based business, CD Industrial Group. The company conducts industrial training programs all across North America, and also has developed the popular Lunchbox Sessions, an extensive series of online fluid power learning modules.
One of the things that really impressed me was a large hydraulic training panel that Dyke and his team recently completed. Dyke explained that they wanted to do some different things from other training panels that they’ve seen and purchased.
“Instead of having a vertical cylinder that is double rod, which is very uncommon, we wanted to have a single rod weighted from below — and we wanted to have a single rod up that’s also weighted,” he said. “There a 100-lb weight on each cylinder, and that makes the activity a lot more realistic.”
Recently, a zinc mine far above the Arctic Circle in Alaska called CDIG and asked for some in-person, hands-on training, and the design team realized there were going to be some size constraints for the panel. A truck would pick up the crated panel and drive it up the Alaska Highway to Anchorage, where it would be loaded onto a 737 cargo plane for the last leg of the journey. There’s only 78 inches of clearance in the cargo doors, so the height of the panel had to be restricted.
The team figured out how to shave off some extra inches, and combined with temporarily removing the caster wheels, they were able to make the height requirement, and off went the box. Dyke soon followed, and he spend three weeks in northern Alaska for teaching technicians from both the mill and the mine.
“We were working on filter press hydraulics. We were working on haul trucks and big front-end loaders and blast-hole drills, and all that good fun stuff,” he said.
Dyke said that the mine’s technicians faces challenges beyond the obvious climate issues.
“Obviously, there are huge temperature variations,” he said. “But the other big challenge is that there’s absolutely no mechanical supplier, no hydraulic supplier at all down the street, because you are isolated way up in the Arctic. So, if you didn’t bring parts with you, or you’re just going to jump into guesswork, or ad hoc experiments, you quickly get in trouble. Because of that, the Arctic is a great place to learn to do your systems thinking — and do your analysis work correctly. You want to avoid excessive down time and unnecessary part-swapping. There’s only so many parts on hand when you’re north of the Arctic Circle.”
Dyke will be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Fluid Power Technology Conference in Cleveland, November 19-20. Details are here.