Hydraulics plays a vital role in industry today. It moves materials and ensures we have mobile and efficient transportation. In fact, something as seemingly “everyday” as the hydraulic lift cylinder is far more important than most people realize and the world is a better place to live, thanks to applications of the physics of hydraulics. But what if modern hydraulic cylinders didn’t exist? Let’s see what this kind of world might look like.
No Hydraulic Brakes
You probably don’t remember a time before cars had hydraulic brakes. Yes, for many years cars had mechanical brakes which literally placed wood against wheels. For cars moving under 20 mph, this was sufficient. However, had Chrysler not introduced hydraulic brakes in the mid 1920s, modern vehicles with all their speed and splendor would not be able to stop.
No Lift Trucks
Lift trucks are the backbone of many logistic systems. Do you know how long it would take to move just one truckload of food items to your local grocery store if everything was handled manually? It could be done, but you would not have the wonderful selections you receive everyday and prices would be much higher. In other words, the quality and quantity of the foods you enjoy depend on simple things like the hydraulic lift cylinder.
No Heavy Equipment
How long would it take to build a house if there were no backhoes, high loaders, and all the heavy construction equipment which utilize hydraulics? Needless to say, it would be like the 1800s and earlier when most work was done by hand. Progress would be very limited and unless you knew a lot about building a house, you could be living in a primitive shack today.
Heavy equipment with hydraulics builds all the roads and Interstate highways we take for granted today. If you have ever traveled very far on a dirt or gravel road, you know just how uncomfortable and inconvenient it can be. There would still be roads without modern hydraulic cylinders but vehicle transportation would be cumbersome and difficult.
When most people think of 21st Century technology, they conjure images of computers, smart phones and even smarter cars. Yet, these things would not be possible if man had not advanced in something as simple as hydraulic systems. For example, many kinds of modern production machinery depend upon hydraulic valves, cylinders and hydraulic fluid systems.
So much today is dependent upon the hydraulic lift cylinder, which most people pay little attention to. When you think about it, without modern hydraulics, life would be much more difficult for everyone.