Hydro-FLOcean

Hydro-FLOcean

  • Brainstorming Phase
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    Brainstorming Phase
  • H-FLO Logo
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    H-FLO Logo
  • Detailed H-FLO Drawing
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    Detailed H-FLO Drawing
  • H-FLO Exploded View
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    H-FLO Exploded View
  • 3D Model
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    3D Model
  • Prototype Production
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    Prototype Production
  • Prototype Production
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    Prototype Production
  • Prototype Components
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    Prototype Components
  • Water Submersion Test
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    Water Submersion Test
  • Separation of Components - Success
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    Separation of Components - Success
The H-FLO is a new innovative safety device designed to save lives.
What It Does

The H-FLO is a unique safety device that is composed of two segments that separate when under water. The H-FLO is worn in between the connection of lanyard and safety harness and is designed to free the user from a sinking attachment.

The Inspiration

The H-FLO is a safety device developed in light of a tragedy that happened in Limerick. In August 2015 two men were carrying out maintenance work on the Thomond Bridge over the River Shannon. The men were harnessed into an elevated work platform when the cable that held the platform up failed. The men were pulled down to the bottom of the river and were unable to detach themselves from the platform and they sadly drowned. We have developed an operational prototype that we believe could have saved the men's lives

How It Works

The H-FLO uses technology currently employed in automatic inflatable life jackets. The inner workings of the H-FLO are protected by a stainless cylinder, at either end of this cylinder are semi-circular bars that the harness and the lanyard connect to. It is a device composed of two segments that separate when under water. Our design uses male and female shafts coupled together with a pin. When the H-FLO is submerged in water a gas canister is pierced and the gas is directed at high pressure on to the face of a pin. This drives the pin from the coupled connection, allowing the two sides to separate, and enabling the user to get to safety. Our design triggers disengagement from the harness in less than five seconds.

Stages of Development

Initially we arranged brainstorming sessions in the group and came up with multiple designs we then used the systematic design process to select appropriate design features from the brainstorming process. We used Autodesk’s Inventor to bring our designs to life.

We used the workshop facilities at CIT to turn our drawings into an operational prototype.

We used various tools and machinery to build our prototype such as files, drills, taps to thread holes, Lathes, Milling Machines, Pillar Drilling Machine, Tig Welder, etc.

With all the components made we assembled the H-FLO and began testing the device to its operational limits. This involved a Water Submersion Test, Tensile Test, Ergonomic Field Test and the Final Test with the Prototype fully assembled.

We carried out a tensile test on the pin as this is an a integral part of the design. Our tests revealed that our calculations and mathematical models were correct and the pin could handle the associated forces.

For the Water Submersion test we placed the prototype into a tank full of water to best display the functionality of our device. The Device disengaged successfully within 5 seconds. This was a key milestone in the H-FLO journey.

Novelty

Our design is totally unique, the H-FLO has been designed with the aim of preventing another accident like the one in Limerick. We have carried out extensive patent searches and to the best of our knowledge nothing like the H-FLO exists. We have chosen materials, parts and colours that make the H-FLO ascetically and ergonomically pleasing.

Future Plans

The future plans for the H-FLO involve the group finding new markets that the technology can be applied to. Areas such as the automotive industry and the offshore oil rigs are areas where we believe this technology could save lives.

Awards

We have won the CIT prize for innovation 2016, this was an institute wide award where all projects from across the campuses of CIT were eligible to enter. We were shortlisted to the last 10 from an initial entry of 20 projects.

We have also won the prestigious Cruickshank intellectual property attorneys award at the Ente