Hydraulic accumulators are used for emergency energy storage, shock absorption and for controlling rudders and roll stabilization in most large ships and yachts. They are used to assist hydraulic maneuvering of deck machinery such as anchor windlass, capstans, winches, operate masts and antennae on submarines and for loading and launching weapons systems in maritime vehicles used for military defense. They are also used for pitch control of the foil and twist control of the wing in racing catamarans and sailing yachts. Lightweighting hydraulic accumulator is an important step forward in increasing the efficiency, increasing operational safety and reducing maintenance cost for the hydraulic systems on board of maritime vessels.

Accumulators store excess energy in a hydraulic circuit and re-deliver them rapidly on demand. The energy stored in the form of compressed Nitrogen in an accumulator can be transferred back to the energy of moving hydraulic oil very quickly with minimal losses. As a result, accumulators are called upon to supply the potent power that energizes the hydraulics of many maritime vessels. A high specific power density (power per unit mass) of these accumulators allows for more efficient harnessing of the energy captured and delivered, thereby increasing the efficiency of operation.

Accumulators are also being used for controlling the buoyancy of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for atmospheric research. Lightweight composite accumulators are enabling for energy storage applications like this where mass is a premium.

Picture of the REMUS autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The composite construction of Steelhead Composite accumulators reduces weight  to one-third to one-quarter of steel accumulators. The lighter construction results in much lower installation and maintenance costs. In addition, the benign leak-before-burst failure mode of high pressure composite accumulators ensure safety on board of maritime vessels.

Steelhead Composite lightweight high pressure accumulators are available in sizes ranging from 5 gal (19 L) to 30 gal (113 L) with pressure rating of 6000 psi (414 bar) to meet the needs of power and energy storage requirements of hydraulics for maritime applications.