steve hydraulic heroes

Steve Smith - UK National Sales Manager

What is your name and job role? Describe your typical day to day activities (what do you typically do in a day?) How long have you been in the industry?

My name is Steve Smith and I am the National Sales Manager for Bosch Rexroth. I’ve worked in the hydraulics industry for over 30 years. I was formerly a shipbuilder where I utilised a lot of hydraulics for steering systems and winches. I joined Rexroth some 26 years ago as a Sales Engineer and I’m now responsible for running a team of 14 Account Development Managers for the UK, eight factory automation guys managed by their Team Leader and I am also directly responsible for five hydraulic ADM’s. My typical daily duties involve helping engineers select equipment, agreeing discounts and signing quotes, attending customer meetings and helping ADM’s negotiate contracts and projects with OEM’s, end users and partners.

What product are you most excited about?

The product range I am most excited about is the Sytronix range of power units, the main two products being the Cytropac and Cytrobox. These products have revolutionised hydraulic power units (HPU’s) and have challenged the idea that hydraulics is dirty and inefficient. We have recently sold some on a friction welding machine.

Tell us more about the technology and how it benefits our customer?

With regards to benefiting the customer, the key challenge for the hydraulics industry is the rising cost of energy. Traditional hydraulic systems with fixed displacement pumps and fixed speed electric motors use a lot of energy. The Sytronix range of equipment uses variable speed/displacement pumps, which are more efficient by giving energy on demand. Although the upfront capital costs of the equipment are sometimes higher, the running costs are lower making the overall cost of ownership lower.

This sounds like a very exciting technology? What is the take up like for this product in the market place?

The take up of the technology was initially slow, but it’s starting to increase as it becomes more well known to customers, particularly if you look at the recent rise in energy bills since the pandemic. We now concentrate more on the argument of annual energy running costs with the customer as opposed to just the technology. I think this has allowed the technology to catch on quicker.

Were there any challenges with the Sytronix unit for the friction welding project?

We had some initial challenges with sizing the HPU / tank for the application. This was due to the high flow rates returning to the tank, but we got there in the end. The client is very happy with the Cytrobox. It looked very smart and they couldn’t believe how quiet the power pack was!

What are you most excited about in terms of upcoming innovations/technical progress within the hydraulics sector?

There are lots of things to be excited about in hydraulics. As the electronification of hydraulic applications continues to push the boundaries, hydraulics keeps on increasing the efficiency and pressure rating of its equipment. We now have piston pumps that go up to 630 bar, essentially tripling the power output capability. This means that hydraulics still offers the greatest power to weight ratio for conventional automation and control systems. The other area is the increasing use of electronics on pumps. It won’t be long before all of the mechanical range of pump controllers are replaced by proportional electronics. This will mean a pump will come with one electronic controller as standard and you will be able to programme the pump individually for a flow, pressure or power application.

How has the world of Hydraulics changed/evolved over the years, what is new?

The main advancements are the development of new materials, the manufacturing process and the use of electronics. This has allowed us to create higher pressure, lighter and intelligent pumps, motors and valves. Ultimately the customer benefits with much smaller, efficient systems.

What sets Rexroth apart in the world of hydraulics (as a market leader)? What industries do we support?

The industries we support are vast. From marine and offshore, to stage technology, automotive, energy, steel production, transport technology and food and hydraulic presses. They say you are never more than a mile from a hydraulic application! I would say the support we provide worldwide and the quality of our products defines Bosch Rexroth as one of the market leaders.

What advice would you give to young people interested in working in hydraulics? What can they expect in the near future?

If I were to give advice to young people thinking about a career in our industry, I would encourage them to come and give it a try. Like a lot of engineering sectors, we have a skills shortage and the industry is constantly on the lookout for talent, There are some great jobs out there. As I’ve already stated, the applications we work on are so varied that there is never a dull moment. The world will face a lot of challenges over the next few years, in particular the generation of green energy, carbon capture and the use of hydrogen to power our vehicles and infrastructure. You can rest assured hydraulics will be at the forefront of these technologies!

Learn more about variable speed drive solutions here

Got a question?

Reach out to us for more information.

Contact form