Fluid Power Quiz

p>In order to use hydraulic or pneumatic equipment on your ROV, your team must first pass the MATE Fluid Power Quiz.   The fee to take the quiz is $15 to be paid at registration - your $15 fee will give your team FIVE quiz attempts, if your team does not pass the quiz in those five attempts (passing grade is 100%) you will NOT be permitted to use either hydraulic or pneumatic equipment on your robot.  Within 5 business days of fee payment, your team will be given a secure login and password to take the actual test.  The quiz should be completed by a STUDENT company member.  Only one passing test per team is required; teams may opt to take the test as a group (filling in one test) or they may assign an individual on the team to take the test.  Please note, ALL members of your team should be familiar with all MATE Fluid Power rules and requirements.  

The deadline to complete this quiz with a passing grade is March 2nd, 2018.  Companies failing to complete this quiz within the given time frame will NOT be permitted to use fluid power during their competition event.

Compressed air and pressurized fluid are used in MATE robotic systems to power items such as buoyancy control and actuator operation.   When safely implemented, these systems can operate without problems, but operators should always be aware of potential dangers associated with working with pneumatics and hydraulics.   For the purposes of this paper, air and hydraulic fluid will be treated the same.     With both, misuse can result in serious injury.

Compressed Air and Hydraulic Fluid are extremely forceful and even at the pressures allowed by the MATE rules; danger exists to people and objects.  

Safety glasses must always be worn when working around compressed air and hydraulic systems.  Even when de-pressurized, fluid can splash in the eye.  This fluid can be hydraulic fluid or liquid that has accumulated in pneumatic systems.

An air or hydraulic line should never be “dead-ended” or have its end blocked.   Using any part of the human body (finger, thumb, arm, leg, etc) to block the pressure line has the potential to force either air or hydraulic fluid under the skin.   Injury results can range from soft tissue damage (ripping of the skin) to air embolism (air bubble in the blood stream). In the case of hydraulic fluid, poisoning can occur with the injection of hydraulic fluid into the body.  

Both pneumatic and hydraulic systems must have a single point to shut down all pressure to the system.   Before working on the system, the power should be shut down and pressure relieved from the lines.   Tightening a hydraulic or pneumatic fitting under pressure could cause that fitting to snap and result in an uncontrolled release of air or fluid.

Both pneumatic and hydraulic systems pose the potential for trapping or crushing accidents.   These are where a person is working on a system and it is triggered causing mechanical movement.   A finger can easily be severed or crushed when it comes up against the forces present in a pneumatic and hydraulic system.   Know the range of movement of your system and keep body parts away from a pressurized system.   Before activating the system, ensure that nothing within the operating range can come in contact with moving parts.

Regulators and pressure gauges must always be used to monitor your system.  The MATE specification for maximum pneumatic pressure is 40 psi and maximum hydraulic pressure is 150 psi. 

Pneumatic and Hydraulic fittings, mounts, piping, tubing and connections should be securely fastened and tightened before the system is energized.

Never connect or energize a pneumatic or hydraulic system without supervision of a competent person.   For the purposes of OSHA's safety and health standards, "competent person" is defined in 29 CFR 1926.32(f) as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them."

Only use tubing, fittings, connectors and other pneumatic or hydraulic devices that are rated for use in a pneumatic or hydraulic system and meet the MATE minimum specification for pressurized components.  PVC Piping is not rated for use in MATE pneumatic or hydraulic systems.

Never over pressurize your systems.

Pressure vessels must not be used if they are beyond their inspection date.  Pneumatic tanks accumulate moisture extracted from the compressed air and must be drained on a regular basis.   Tanks with internal rust may show no external signs of fatigue until they explode or erupt.   Care should be taken to ensure the removal of moisture and the proper inspection of pressure vessels.

Types of accidents around pneumatic and hydraulic systems include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Impact or Collision Accidents.  A ram or actuator is operated, striking someone.
  2. Crushing or Trapping Accidents.  A person’s finger or other body part can be trapped between the mechanical portions of the pneumatic or hydraulic system.
  3. Mechanical Part Failures.  This is the failure of parts that result in danger to personnel around the system.  An example of this could be a broken connector resulting in a wild air line.  Another may be a hydraulic hose cracking and spraying people with high pressure oil.
  4. Improper Handling. Not being aware of the potential hazards and using the pneumatic or hydraulic components in an unsafe manner.  An example of this would be to use an open pneumatic line to blow off dirt causing flying chips to become airborne hazards.
  5. Human Errors.  Human errors are the one of the greatest hazards when working around pneumatic and hydraulic systems.  Becoming too familiar with the system and bypassing safety procedures is a major source of accidents.   In these circumstances, the individual places himself in a hazardous position while operating the pneumatic or hydraulic actuators thinking “I can get away in time”.