Parker power packs help streamline testing for BLOODHOUND’s record bid

Parker Hannifin is supplying two hydraulic power packs to the BLOODHOUND Supersonic Car (SSC) team to make safety and operational testing easier in the run-up to the project’s world land speed record bid.

There is a host of complicated hydraulics on board BLOODHOUND SSC. This includes rotary actuators, which open and close ball valves within the High Test Peroxide circuit; winglets that control downforce to the car; and symmetrical airbrake doors moved by two large hydraulic cylinders. It’s a major engineering task, which means there are hundreds of engineering checks to perform before the car attempts its world record bid in South Africa next year.

Running diagnostic checks is a challenge, as the on-board pump that powers them is connected to the jet engine. It isn’t practical to switch on a jet engine each time project engineers need to perform vital tests. That’s where the new power packs are claimed to make a difference: The Parker units plug directly into the car, allowing key hydraulic tests to take place without the need to start the jet engine and on-board pump.

Mark Chapman, chief engineer on the BLOODHOUND Project, said: “The new power packs will let us check settings, operation and safety when the car is stationary. That’s important while we build BLOODHOUND SSC – and it will be mission-critical on our land speed runs in Newquay and South Africa in 2016 and 2017.”

A full conditioning system has been built into the power packs that continuously filters and cools the oil in the unit. Maintaining clean oil is critical for BLOODHOUND SSC, as the aircraft-specification hydraulic valves on the car are intolerant to the fine South African desert dust.

Many power packs are reliant on visual checks, but the BLOODHOUND equipment features Parker’s IQAN touchscreen display. IQAN brings together all the signals that come from the unit, such as pressure, flow and system health. The display flags condition changes and provides warning signals to show any potential problems, such as a blocked filter. There is also an integrated failsafe mode, which protects the HPU and car should critical operational limits, such as excessive oil temperature, low oil level or system contamination, occur.