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Sensor simplifies pneumatic systems

Machine builders who want to eliminate the bulky tie rod brackets and hose clamps normally associated with magnetic sensors may now have an alternative. A sensor system from Fabco-Air (Gainesville, FL) can be used on nearly all pneumatic cylinder products equipped with magnetic piston bands. The sensors--including both electronic and reed types--are contoured to be installed in dovetail slots. For application without the integral slots, Fabco-Air engineers also developed an extruded aluminum rail with two side-by-side dovetail slots. The rail attaches to the outside of the cylinder tube with an adhesive-backed foam tape. The firm says that machine builders can use this single sensor system on every pneumatic cylinder, slide, gripper, pick-and-place, and press application, thus saving on initial costs and maintenance. Fabco-Air: Product code 4654

Manifold promotes field flexibility

These days, makers and users of automation systems need software and hardware flexibility. To meet that need, engineers from Bosch Automation Technology (Racine, WI) have developed the VTS-02 Control Manifold System. The VTS-02 provides flexibility through a design that lets users switch back and forth from discrete wiring systems to fieldbus configurations simply by switching modules. Using the modular design, users can also change fieldbus protocols, thus enabling them to move from DeviceNet to Profibus DP, Interbus S, CANOpen, or ASI interfaces. Bosch engineers say the system particularly suits users who want to make changes in the field. "Traditionally, after a product like this was delivered to the field, it was difficult to modify or change it," notes Mark Woelful, pneumatics product manager for Bosch. "With our system, valves, communications, and I/O can all be changed or easily extended." Bosch Automation Technology: Product code 4651

Pneumatic cylinders hush noise

For decades, manufacturers of pneumatic equipment have looked for ways to reduce noise. With the introduction of its new ISO/VDMA cylinders, PHD Inc. (Fort Wayne, IN) says it's found a way. The cylinder incorporates three key features that, together, add up to a technology the firm calls Hushcontrol. The features are: shock pads that eliminate metal-to-metal contact; cushion controls that allow users to adjust deceleration at the end of the stroke; and port controls, which restrain end-of-stroke energy. The result, say PHD engineers, is quieter operation. "A lot of times, the noise in the cylinder is at the end of the stroke, especially if you have metal-to-metal contact," notes Gordon Kistler, senior product engineer for PHD. "Here, we've taken out the metal-to-metal contact and controlled the energy." PHD Inc.: Product code 4652

Twin bore eliminates rotation

In most applications, rotation of a load on a pneumatic actuator is unacceptable. That's why some engineers mate air cylinders with outboard guide mechanisms that eliminate rotation. Now, Bimba Mfg. (Monee, IL) offers an alternative to the use of outboard guide mechanisms. The company's new twin- bore cylinders use a double bore to provide highly accurate linear motion. By incorporating a precision guide bearing in the twin-bore design, the cylinders offer a built-in, anti-rotational feature. They're available in three models: basic, double end, and air table. All three are available in five bore sizes ranging from 12 to 32 mm, and a variety of stroke lengths in 1-mm increments. Bimba Mfg. Co.: Product code 4652

Manifold-controller offers self-contained solution

By embedding the full processing and control functionality of an Allen-Bradley SLC 5/02 programmable logic controller inside a pneumatic manifold, Festo now offers a solution capable of stand-alone machine control or networking. The system, known as Midi/Maxi Series Smart Pneumatic Valve Manifolds, makes it possible to distribute control close to the pneumatic and electric actuators in a system, rather than having to run long cables from a control cabinet. It also offers additional plug-in modules, which enable precision flow control and/or pressure regulation to individual valves in the manifold, as well as adapter modules, which allow connection of up to four additional branches of valves and sensor I/O. Festo Corp.: Product code 4653

Better deceleration for pneumatic slides

Many pneumatic slides move large loads, yet have little space available for a shock absorber. For those applications, a compact new shock absorber known as the SC2 Heavyweight offers a solution. The Heavyweight employs an integrated inner tube and piston head that enables it to carry as much as 950% more effective weight, while absorbing 280% more energy than comparably sized conventional systems, the company says. Applications for shock absorber include rodless cylinders, slides, conveyors, and other systems that require turning heavy weights at slow speeds. ACE Controls: Product code 4655

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