MacTaggart, Scott & Co Ltd with Advanced Materials Research Laboratory, University of Strathclyde

Sub-Component Materials for Quiet Radial Piston Pumps


Established in 1898, Scottish engineering company MacTaggart, Scott & Co. Ltd. (MTS) has a long history of innovation. Its product range includes hydraulic power units for submarines; these generally use the company’s Quiet Radial Piston pump (QRP), which can run for more than 60,000 hours and withstand significant sea water contamination.

MTS wanted to explore whether developments in alternative materials or processes could reduce manufacturing costs whilst offering enhanced levels of performance and reliability. This could extend the pumps’ application to the oil and gas sector.

Specifically, MTS was looking for alternative materials for the pump’s tyre and slipper pads that could be used within the existing pump design and in its existing manufacturing capability. It wanted a research partner to review the current materials and interface between slipper pad and tyre, and then identify, evaluate and test possible alternatives.

In a previous R&D project, MTS had worked with the Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) at the University of Strathclyde and had confidence they would be an excellent fit for this project. MTS approached OGIC and we part-funded the project.

The AMRL project team, led by Professor Alex Galloway, designed a material selection and testing programme. They identified potential alternative materials that could simplify the process of producing the tyre and pad, while also reducing the manufacturing cost. These were then subjected to pin-on-disk sliding wear tests and a series of metallurgical analysis techniques.

While none of the alternative material combinations outperformed the benchmark material combination in the current QRP, several of the new material combinations were well within reach of the benchmark results and would offer high wear resistance. These combinations would be cheaper, more widely available and not require the existing additional processes that currently add to production time and cost.

Armed with this information, MTS was well positioned to select new material combinations on which to do extended materials testing and evaluation. It is also benefitting from recommendations from the research team on techniques it can use to enhance quality assurance within its processes.


“It’s encouraging to see a long-established company that is committed to investing in research and development as a way of meeting new market opportunities and broadening their product range. MTS clearly recognised the value that the AMRL team could bring.”

Mhairi Begg, Project Manager, OGIC


“The AMRL has a strong track record of providing technological expertise in materials selection and analysis to a broad range of industry sectors and this project has further built on this success. Our previous relationship with MTS proved to be valuable in that it provided MTS with the necessary confidence to work collaboratively with the AMRL through this OGIC supported project. Through a rigorous selection and testing programme, the AMRL was able to deliver the project objectives in a timely manner.”

Professor Alex Galloway, AMRL, University of Strathclyde


“The Advanced Materials Research Lab is an excellent resource; the team have repeatedly proven their value, been extremely approachable and easy to engage with. Their technical capabilities and materials insight have added significant value to several projects. The additional support of OGIC in enabling and supporting this project has been greatly appreciated and significantly aids MacTaggart Scott’s continued product development.”

Lee Baines, Development Manager (R&D), MTS


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