UK-based, Domin, aims to disrupt the fluid power industry by improving the range of technology available and increasing sustainability. Whilst recent decades have seen swathes of technology introduced across all industries, Domin, based in the city of Bristol, believes that there has not yet been a single innovation that has caused significant enough change in the fluid power market. So the company engineers set out to develop a competitive range of state-of-the-art servo valves and are now setting out to showcase how engineering start-ups can drive value for UK industry.
Supported by metal additive manufacturing technology from global engineering company, Renishaw, the company has produced a first-of-its-kind product — a high-performance servo valve. The servo valve represents the company’s first step towards drastically reducing CO2 emissions from the fluid power industry — every valve can save one tonne of CO2.
For Domin, metal additive manufacturing (AM) was the missing piece of the puzzle, and it turned to this technology to design its product range. This technique, where products are built up layer-by-layer from metal powder, is used across a range of industry sectors, including aerospace, automotive and medical.
By using the Renishaw RenAM 500Q, a four-laser AM system, which is designed for serial production applications, Domin was able to increase its productivity, achieve design freedom and reduce cost per part in such a way that 3D printing presented a compelling case for use in hydraulic manufacturing.
“There is a pressing reason disruption is needed — sustainability. In the US, the fluid power sector alone wastes about 300 million tonnes of CO2 per year through system inefficiencies,” explained Marcus Pont, Chief Executive Officer of Domin. “To put this into context, this is about the same as the total output for all CO2 emissions in the UK. More efficient technology could make a real difference to global emissions.”
“Britain is home to some of the world’s leading engineering businesses,” he added, “However, most of the UK’s big engineering businesses were started in the 20th Century. It’s time for British business to become more ambitious. Combining metal additive manufacturing with other technologies revolutionizes what can be achieved technically — it could generate real value for British industry.”
Domin’s electrohydraulic valves are designed for the most demanding servo applications and are marketed as small, light, affordable and high-performance products that are easy to configure online, offering good power density and dynamic performance. Pont sees this product range as just the first step in creating change in fluid power systems across the UK; “every valve saves over one tonne of CO2 per year compared with alternative products”.
Long term, Domin plans to start manufacturing and selling complete systems. It is already working on some high-profile projects, which Pont says includes one to develop a new suspension system with Aston Martin Lagonda.