Case Study: Metal-to-Plastic Hydraulic Pump Flange Plates

Hydraulic pump flange plate made of plastic

Converting a Metal Hydraulic Pump Plate to Plastic 

Too many hydraulic pumps fail prematurely, partly because a $5 steel plate prevents the visual inspection of the internals. That is about to change.

Flange plates are used in the fluid power industry to protect the internals of precision components such as pumps and actuators, to prevent leakage and contamination of hydraulic fluid, and to keep mating surfaces clean prior to installation. They are typically made from custom-cut steel, include a gasket for sealing, and are bolted on prior to painting, fluid fill, and shipping to the customer. Once the flange plate is bolted on, the opportunity for further visual inspection is lost until the final point of installation.

Echo was able to provide a custom innovative solution for a major heavy machinery manufacturer that allowed for the visual inspection up to the point of the final installation, removed complexity from their supply chain and manufacturing processes, and reduced total costs.

Challenges

A major hydraulics manufacturer was using a steel flange plate, which was costly to manufacture and transport due to weight. Additionally, the manufacturer assembled the flange plate at their facility from separately sourced plates and gaskets, adding time and complexity to their internal production processes. Finally, the steel plate prevented visual inspection after installation.

The Echo Solution

Through innovation by design, Echo engineers created a unique, clear flange plate that exceeds all customer requirements. The engineering team “lightweighted” the part to save on shipping costs. The final solution also removes labor and lead time from the customer’s manufacturing process because it is shipped complete with the gasket installed.

It also includes a “sight glass” that allows for visual inspection of the inlet and outlet ports all the way to the final assembly on the machine.

Result

That innovation led to measurable quality improvements and saved the customer $100K annually.

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