Keeping ahead of the times

A passion for continuous innovation has seen Tasmania-based Delta Hydraulics flourish as a local manufacturer since its inception in 1975. Designing and building revolutionary products that go the distance has been a constant over the years.

The development of high-quality hydraulic cylinders and manifolds for the likes of mining, transport, industrial, waste management and agricultural applications has been the mainstay of Devonport-based Delta Hydraulics for more than 40 years.

Company Founder and Managing Director, John White, is a fitter and turner by trade and a self-taught engineer. John says his zeal for overcoming issues and making products that work better was the basis for him starting the business. After more than four decades, he says his enthusiasm has not waned in the slightest.

“When I first started the business there was a lot of very rudimentary hydraulic equipment in use and I had a burning desire to improve the designs in order to provide better products in terms of efficiency and longevity,” John says.

He conducted extensive failure analysis which revealed the many design limitations of the products available at the time. He then set about designing and manufacturing superior replacement components for the mining industry in 1978.

Valuable experience with telescopic cylinders was gained between 1975 and 1980 when the company was contracted to service telescopic cylinders for the Hydro Electric Commission and other major earthmoving contractors in Tasmania.

John says that recognising the drawbacks of the available products for the tipper sector at the time was what spurred him on to invent and patent the Delhoist Telescopic Cylinder in 1982. This revolutionary design propelled Delta Hydraulics into the road transport sphere.

“The vital element of our patent of this design was the unitary construction,” John says. “This eliminated threaded glands and pistons because the gland, stage and piston are all an integral part of the hoist.”

He explains that 40 years on this design has been copied by multiple telescopic cylinder manufacturers across the globe.

“Although they copied our design, in the pursuit of cheaper manufacturing methods they have cut corners which has generally resulted in structurally inferior products compared with the Australian manufactured Delhoist,” John says.

“The differences between ours and the others are that we use a thickened section at the gland end which can withstand far more lateral loading, and the piston also has a thickened end for the same reason.”

One of the major industry sectors Delta Hydraulics caters for is waste management. In fact, according to John, the company’s double-acting telescopic cylinders are commonly used throughout Australia and also exported to south- east Asia and China.

The company also owns a manufacturing facility in Thailand which produces the double-acting Delhoist that Caterpillar uses on its underground ejector trucks.

One of the latest additions to Delta Hydraulics’ extensive capital equipment list is a new design friction welding machine that’s reportedly the first of its type in the world.

This is used to create the gland and tube sub-assembly prior to machining.

“We designed this unique machine a few years back and the biggest challenge was finding someone who could build it for us,” John says.
“We eventually achieved this and the machine was recently installed. It has provided the double benefit of enabling us to improve the quality of the products while reducing manufacturing times.”

John says this type of continual investment is crucial, enabling the company to service the industry in the most effective way possible.

“It has also meant that our price rise on June 1 this year is the first since 2008,” he adds.

Another significant innovation John and his team established is the Delta-C surface treatment for chrome-plated cylinder rods. The ceramic densification process fills micro-cracks and fissures in the chrome plating, greatly extending cylinder life.

“Chrome is very hard, but it actually shrinks after it electroplates onto the rod which leads to micro-cracking,” John says.

The Delta-C process fills in these microscopic flaws and creates a perfectly smooth surface on which the seal runs, thus significantly extending the life of hydraulic cylinders, particularly in harsh underground mining and marine applications.

John mentions that the company’s newly developed annular-ported double-acting telescopic cylinders are increasing in popularity in a wide range of specialist applications.

“We are constantly improving our manufacturing processes and developing new innovative products such as our recently introduced annular-ported telescopic cylinders which enable us to remain competitive as an Australian manufacturer,” John says.
“I remain fully committed to the business and to keeping manufacturing in Australia and will continue to do so for a long time yet.”

Fast Fact
Delta Hydraulics has been a hydraulic hoist and related component manufacturer for close to five decades. A commitment to innovation has kept the company at the forefront of its field and enabled it to continue viably manufacturing in Australia.