Hose Deployment Actuator – Case Study

The customer is a leading global technology and services innovator that prides itself on its ability to provide advanced technical solutions to the most challenging problems that land, sea and air have to offer.

As a trusted and proven supplier in military aircraft air-to-air refuelling, the customer was presented with a major challenge to overcome. When the in-flight refuelling equipment was serviced on the ground, the heavy duty fuel hose had to be rewound via a manually operated handle. This process was manually arduous, time consuming and potentially unsafe. In a high pressure and time-critical military environment it was essential to find a faster, safer and more efficient method to wind the fuel hose.

But when the problem is one of minimising space and mass, versus maximising performance, the customer rightly chose to turn to the one organisation who have specialised in gear and actuator design for just such eventualities for over 50 years – OTM Servo Mechanism Ltd.

At OTM we put our specialist in-house design and manufacturing capability to work and developed a bespoke solution to meet the customer’s exact needs. Thus, the OTM Hose Deployment Actuator was born.

Totally unique in this field, the application delivered an amazing 230Nm force with an output speed of 75-85rpm – all in a compact unit weighing under 15 kg.  Operating at 24-29V power, it was fully compliant with standard military ground supply and operational in the most testing of conditions from -25 to +60°C. In meeting the customer’s exact specification, OTM added remote control operation via a 10 metre cable which allowed increased user safety, significantly reduced operator workload and far greater user situation awareness during deployment.

Robust enough to have now been in service for over 20 years, to our knowledge, the winder has never experienced a mechanical failure and is now in full service in a number of Air Force units throughout the world.

While the unit today is still totally unique and unrivalled across the globe, at OTM our policy is never to stand still. Our in-house design and manufacturing capability affords us total control over the upgrade and development of our customer solutions. Consequently, through listening to the customer’s feedback, and to meet their needs going forward, we have developed a fully upgraded version to replace certain obsolete and non-compliant components and materials. The new upgrade now benefits from:

  • A new, more damage-resistant remote control unit
  • Total REACH compliancy
  • CE Compliancy
  • Explosion proof
  • A lighter and smaller build

The OTM Hose Deployment Actuator is a prime example of how OTM works hand-in-hand with our customers to provide tailor-made actuator solutions to the most challenging of problems. In addition, we continue to deliver ongoing development and maintenance to keep those solutions at the forefront of global technology and compliancy. Here’s to the next 20 years’ successful hose deployment!