Alan Hitchcox

Penton Media Inc.

Alan became a technical editor in 1981 and joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987. After serving in the US Army as a wheeled vehicle mechanic, he graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio, while working as an industrial service coordinator and project manager at an industrial distributor. He has taken technical courses in fluid power and electronic and digital control at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and has served on several industry committees.

Indicators let you “eyeball” airflow

When troubleshooting or monitoring the status of a low-pressure pneumatically powered or controlled machine — such as medical equipment or air-logic circuits — it can be next to impossible to determine if air is flowing through a particular line, even if clear tubing is being used. You could provide a flowmeter for each critical line, but that can get expensive.

Efficient valve targeted for smaller Tier 4 off-highway machines

Bosch Rexroth’s ML-18 pressure-compensated load-sensing control valves may take energy efficiency to the next level. The ML-18 design was developed to reduce power consumption on new Tier 4 applications, such as skid steers, small wheel loaders, and material handlers.

NFPA Joint Conference Rolling into Rosemont, Ill.

The 2013 Fluid Power Systems Conference, scheduled for November 19 to 21 at the Doubletree Hotel, Rosemont, Ill., will kick off with a keynote address by Gary W. Rogers, president and CEO of FEV Inc. Rogers, a commercial vehicle powertrain expert, has titled his presentation, “Reducing Energy Expenses Utilizing Hybrid Waste Trucks, Transit Buses, and Delivery Vehicles.”

Fully-submersible labels
CILS-8200 fully-submersible, computer printable rating plate labels resist seawater, gasoline, diesel, oils, chemicals, solvents, etc., for long-term identification. Printable in minutes from a laser, inkjet or thermal transfer printer, variable data (serial numbers, barcodes etc) can be added in-house, saving time and costs.
Closed-loop electrohydraulics upgrades bearing tester
Rapid-response hydraulic proportional valves and a motion controller improve the speed, resolution, and repeatability of a bearing testing machine.
Heat automatically closes pneumatic safety valve
Shape memory alloy causes a valve to close automatically when threshold temperature is applied.
Hydraulic motor helps supply electrical power
Electric power from hydraulics?
Fluid Power Symposium Comes to the Sunshine State



The University of Bath and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) will hold their symposium on Fluid Power & Motion Control (FPMC 2013) at the Lido Beach Resort inSarasota,Florida October 6 to 9, 2013.The international conference provides a forum for leading‐edge activities in the field of hydraulics, pneumatics, and motion control technologies.

Generations of learning

Sometimes our staff is fortunate enough to have an intern work with us during the summer. This year we have Alexis Coffey, a senior at Ohio University, which is well known for its School of Journalism. In that school, Alexis is majoring in strategic communication — a cross between journalism and marketing. It’s been a great fit for all of us because she works on a variety of marketing projects when she’s not editing material for publication in the magazine or posting content to our website.

Accumulator bank breathes new life into core machine

A manufacturer of cast-aluminum automobile engine components called on Livingston & Haven to solve an operating problem with a core-blower machine that produced sand cores for molds — in this case, for cast intake manifolds.

Harvester shakes up pistachio orchards
A dual eccentric drive powered by hydraulic motors shakes pistachio trees, and hydraulic cylinders position collector assemblies to harvest pistachios from an entire tree in seconds.
Making tough hydraulics even tougher


Hydraulic systems are expected to perform in environments that would quickly render other forms of power transmission inoperable. But sometimes even the inherent ruggedness of hydraulics needs something extra.  Scrap yards, landfills, and some recycling centers often contain materials that can cut or abrade hose or damage piston rod surfaces. 

Virtual slip rings transmit power or signals across air gaps

Power Coupling Units (PCUs) can inductively transfer dc signals across air gaps to interface with solenoids, digital or analog sensors, switches, relays, and actuators on rotary indexing tables or moving equipment. Sensor Coupling Units (SCUs) take it a step further — transferring power and data simultaneously to rotating or moving sensors.

Return-line hose snakes its way to pumps

A big challenge to designing mobile equipment is finding a place to put all the hydraulic components. Locating cylinders is pretty straightforward, and valves and pumps need to be placed where they are accessible. But reservoirs are often placed anywhere on a machine that has a large enough void. This complicates routing of return lines because standard hydraulic hose may lack the flexibility to bend around obstacles.

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