Reducing connector redundancy
The many types of fluid power connections used throughout the world today make design of hydraulic systems challenging. No one knows this better than Fred Herman, the training director for TIFCO Industries who teaches engineers how to identify and use American and Metric fittings.
"A lack of education exists in the area of fluid transmission components," says Herman. He explains that the design engineer may have many choices for a single connection in some cases. "A tube fitting could be one of 14 styles of metric and 12 styles of SAE." Most SAE and ISO connections are not interchangeable.
While some connectors got their start in the U.S. and were adopted overseas as U.S. machinery was exported to other countries, others got their start in Germany, Japan, and other countries and have remained the preference among designers there. This proliferation of connector types is important to equipment manufacturers such as John Deere. "We saw that the construction equipment division of John Deere was using an SAE port and the agricultural division was using an ISO port," says Harry Patel, the engineering manager at Parker-Hannifin's Tube Fitting division.
Parker-Hannifin and John Deere teamed up to initiate work at the SAE, NFPA, and ISO technical committees to standardize connectors. Their successes include getting some widely used connectors standardized at the ISO level. Also notable among the results that came out of this joint effort are wider acceptance of soft elastomer seals that solve leak and standardization issues in hydraulic systems at the same time.
Patel notes that while customers that manufacture equipment globally are open to using the ISO and Metric base connectors, not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. "Most of our customers would like to use fewer connectors, but they are reluctant to make a change at this time because of the cost involved," he says. "However, on new products they are starting to use the ISO connectors."
Patel also makes the distinction that companies manufacturing locally but selling globally are less open to change. "And the ones who have no sales overseas are the most reluctant to change." Fred Herman may have steady work for a long time to come.Additional Details...Harry Patel, Parker-Hannifin, Tube Fittings Div., 3885 Gateway Blvd., Columbus, OH 43228. Tel: (614) 279-7070. FAX (614) 279-7685. www.parker.com.
BackPack feedback transducers from this company are said to allow pneumatic cylinder OEMs to piggyback accurate positioning capability to their designs. The product features the company's Micropulse low-profile magnetorestrictive linear position transducer and bolts directly to the housing of pneumatic cylinders to provide non-contact, vibration-resistant position sensing.
Balluff Inc., www.balluff.com.
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MPPES proportional pressure regulators are designed to offer precision pressure using microprocessor control, and to use a proportional solenoid to obtain highly accurate and responsive correction to pneumatic system pressure changes. Pressure level adjustments are made with an analog setpoint between 0 and 10V dc or 4 to 20 mA, while a digitized comparator circuit provides a more highly resolved and robust response to measured pressure changes.
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Hydra-Cell H25 series industrial pumps are designed to pump difficult solutions at up to 20 gpm, and are said to provide smooth, quiet operation with less power draw than other pumps and to run dry without damage. The pump's design eliminates cups, packings, and seals, which is said to result in lower maintenance and longer service life.
Wanner Engineering, www.wannereng.com.
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Fluid motion control
The Travcyl(TM) digital fluid motion system is designed to handle difficult fluid control applications. The product is said to have no compliance in its design, which reportedly allows it to have the same accuracy as solid object motion control. The product is also said to provide precision fluid metering, start/stop dispensing, and continuous, low-pulsating delivery.
Encynova Int'l., www.encynova.com.
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Pulse metering pump
Series PZ pulse metering pumps are designed to provide accurate, reliable injection of liquid materials from chemicals to nutrients to disinfectants. Designed as a lower-cost alternative to this company's PX series pumps, the PZ line is said to operate on any single phase voltage from 94V ac to 264V ac, and is also said to provide constant and stable delivery despite voltage fluctuations.
Neptune Chemical Pump Co. Inc., www.neptune1.com.
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P3010 compact, compressed air-driven vacuum pumps are designed to provide modular and efficient performance through the use of the company's COAX(TM) technology. The pump module is clipped, without tools, into a "click-in" strip which can handle up to four pumps. A range of accessories is also available, including connector modules, vacuum switches, and quick-release modules.
PIAB USA, www.piab.com.
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KA integrated-electronics valves have been updated by their manufacturer. Standard features include integrated, prewired control amplifiers, factory-sealed adjustments of gain, deadband, and dither, and simple setup. Improvements are said to include a new housing design, stronger fixing detail, transient protection, a new sealing arrangement, and a positive squeeze elastomer seal.
Eaton Hydraulics, 15151 Hwy. 5, Eden Prairie, MN 55344
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Pneu-Turn(R) low profile magnetic position sensing rotary actuators are available in five bore sizes from 9/16 to 2 inches in single and double rack models. The product is a rack-and-pinion style actuator, which is said to save weight, space, and cost. Body construction is of corrosion-resistant stainless steel and anodized aluminum, with no external seals.
Bimba Manufacturing Co., www.bimba.com.
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Series PRS closed-loop proportional pneumatic controllers are designed for use with air-loaded valves for applications which require precise pressure control. The product is said to maintain downstream pressure with almost no deviation despite variations in flow rate. The product features a Teflon diaphragm in a thermoplastic connection with no wetted materials or elastomers.
Plast-O-Matic Valves, www.plast-o-matic.com.
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