Old Technology, or Proven Technology?
Recently it has been suggested that hydraulics and hydrostatic power is “old technology”. True, hydraulic power has been around for a long time, but there are good reasons for that. Shore Irrigation uses Hydraulic power because it is easy to understand, safe, efficient and economical. Virtually every machine essential to farming success utilizes hydraulics and every grower is highly familiar with the principles of hydraulic application and maintenance.
Far from disappearing, hydrostatic power and hydraulics are even more widely applied in aviation, space, manufacturing, mining and transportation. More often now one will see hydraulics used in combination with electricity, compressed air, steam or other energy sources. Hydraulic hybrids are proving to be more efficient than electric hybrids for large vehicles that endure heavy use. Also, one or more of the major automobile companies are working on the hydraulic hybrid concept. Again, hydraulic applications are far from fading away.
Development of the hydrostatically powered center pivot irrigation system was truly innovative and “out of the box” thinking back in 1968 when the center pivot industry was fledgling. The advantages of continuous system movement delivering even water distribution, low maintenance cost, and operator safety were deciding factors in going with the hydraulic design.
Others, and there were a lot of them, tried water, air, and other mechanical drives but ended up going with high voltage electricity due to its being less challenging to design and manufacture. Of the hundreds of companies that attempted to build pivot systems, only four major manufacturers remain and only one that has successfully mastered the design and manufacture of hydrostatically powered pivot systems; T-L Irrigation Co.