Hydraulics contain elephants at Quebec zoo
The Granby Zoo upgraded its enclosures with a series of 16 gates to isolate elephants and giraffes from the outside world, along with a pair of gates that hold elephants in place while personnel offer any care.
You’d think that Toutoune and Sarah could get their way: the Granby, Que., residents are stars, after all. And it’s tough to ignore them—especially with their respective weights of 4,300 and 3,300 kilograms.
But staff members at the Granby Zoo are able to contain these African elephants with a hydraulic system that was developed by Norman Martin, Kinecor’s engineering service manager at the Lachine, Que., headquarters.
The zoo’s upgraded enclosures use a series of 16 gates to isolate elephants and giraffes from the outside world, along with a pair of gates that can carefully hold the elephants in place while zoo personnel offer any care.
The related system leverages 18 hydraulic cylinders with 3.5-inch diameters and 88-inch strokes, along with 2,000 feet of rigid pipe. There are 13 control block manifolds, and the 50-horsepower hydraulic unit includes a Vickers PVM 131 pump with variable flow and power control, which delivers the 60 gallons per minute required to generate forces up to 2,000 PSI.
“The hydraulic system has been assembled on a special dampening system,” Martin says, referring to the design that emerged. That system isolated an adjacent building from vibrations and kept pump-related noise out of the hydraulic reservoir. The design of the accumulator system also ensured that the pipes didn’t become a conduit for noise and vibration.
Staff now control the door with a series of five control panels and radio remote control while a master panel controls the hydraulic system. Information from each panel is linked through an Intranet, and electronics are in place to ensure the pressure and position of the doors are maintained.
John G. Smith is a freelance writer for Kinecor’s Connections.