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It’s a bit of a paradox that two of the greatest challenges at the scene of an extrication can be both spaces that are confining as well as those that are wide open. Generators and hoses, which supply the power to hydraulic rescue tools, can make advancing into confined spaces difficult. And when the scene is a MVC with dozens of yards between the two vehicles, it can take precious time to transport hose-line power source and accessories from incident to incident. It’s these reasons – and then some – that inspired the innovation of eDRAULIC® battery-powered tools.

eDRAULIC is a technology developed by HURST Jaws of Life® for rescue equipment based on the principle of electro-hydraulics, where electrical energy is converted into hydraulic force. eDRAULIC technology makes it possible to operate high-performance cutters, spreaders and rescue cylinders using electrical power – with full hydraulic force. Power units, hoses and hose reels are no longer needed. When the HURST engineering team first developed compact, self-contained hydraulics, it was a truly revolutionary technology.

To explain the technology in brief, we’ll start here: the eDRAULIC line of hydraulic rescue tools uses a very similar two-stage, hydraulic pump technology that first responders know from the older traditional pump, hose-to-tool systems. The tools have a small hydraulic fluid reservoir, a high flow hydraulic first stage for more rapid tool positioning, and a lower flow but more powerful second stage for the actual cutting, spreading or ramming.

The hydraulic pump is powered by an electric motor, which in turn is powered by a 5Amp, 25.2 Volt Lithium Ion battery. Though HURST developed the electric motor technology long ago, there was no way to make it truly functional in terms of the needed run time for rescue until Lithium Ion battery technology came along. Now, first responders can complete a rescue with a cutter and spreader – and ram if needed – and never change a battery during the rescue.

Speed is enhanced because the battery-powered tools are faster off the truck, and first responders can run all of them at once if needed, not limited by a pump's number of hydraulic connections. Without the hassle of a hose and with no need to move heavy generators, eDRAULIC tools are more mobile, too, allowing first responders to venture further into smaller, more confined spaces, or quickly move from vehicle to vehicle in a MVC incident.

This technology is now in use in some of the busiest fire departments in the country, with first responders appreciating the force of the tools; eDRAULIC tools have the same force as the corresponding hose-connected tools and work on 700, 750 and 800 bar. For night-time deployment or spaces with limited light, powerful LEDs on the eDRAULIC casing provide direct illumination of the working area.

While the battery-style rescue tool tears apart concerns of space issues at the scene, they add space on the apparatus. Rescue teams save the space typically occupied by a conventional hydraulic power unit, hoses and hose reels, and with more space to store other tools, first responders are better equipped to save lives.