SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 2001

Failure Analysis of the Hydraulic Drive System in a Storm Surge Barrier


In 1997 the last part of the extensive “Delta Works” in the Netherlands was completed and commissioned. This involved the construction of a storm surge barrier in the most densely navigated waterway of Holland, connecting the harbor of Rotterdam with the North Sea.

Due to the high risks involved when the barrier fails in its operation, a very low failure probability is required : 1×10-3 for the complete barrier system. This however resulted in much lower values for the numerous subsystems; in particular for the hydraulic drive and control system a failure probability of less than 1 × 10-6 is required for each operation.

For evaluation and calculation of the failure probability it was essential to have a good understanding of and consensus with the customer about a) the whole process and requirements in the different phases of the operational cycle, and b) the criteria which determine when the system is considered to fail.

Different analyses were performed to find the critical items in the system, and some adaptations (e.g. redundancy of certain components) and more detailed analysis of some parts of the system was necessary to obtain the required contract value for the failure probability.

Also it became necessary to perform a monthly inspection and check the drive and control system by means of a semi-automated procedure.

Several aspects of the failure analysis of the hydraulic system are discussed in this paper.

Author Information

Fluks, M
Hydraudyne Systems & Engineering BV, Boxtel, The Netherlands
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Developed by Committee: D02
Pages: 150–166
DOI: 10.1520/STP38273S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5567-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2883-5