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.

Hydraulics handles the hassle of hauling helicopters
Because helicopters rise straight up when they take off, they don’t need a long runway to become airborne. And because of this, the majority of helicopters (except for some larger models) are manufactured without wheels. Instead, they are fitted with landing skids.
The future of fluid power?
Don’t look at me; your guess is as good as mine. But I think we all would agree that fluid power is a mature industry that goes through incremental advancements. Digital microprocessors have made huge contributions to automated control, and new component designs and manufacturing techniques have advanced the physical capabilities of both hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
All bets are on for a great experience

Once every three years, the Las Vegas desert plays host to thousands of users and makers of fluid power components, and this time around, the IFPE 2011 International Exposition for Power Transmission promises to be bigger and better than ever. The show and conference, both of which highlight fluid power, power transmission, and motion control, will once again be co-located with CONEXPO-CON/AGG, one of the world’s largest construction equipment trade shows. Both events will be held March 22-26, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Regenerative circuits made easy

Regenerative circuits save time and energy by increasing the extension speed of double acting cylinders. They do this by routing fluid exiting the rod end of the cylinder back to its cap end instead of routing the fluid to tank.

Flow control valves are efficient and versatile

Closed-loop electronic control systems exhibit the cutting edge of mobile electrohydraulics. But their price tag is prohibitively high for applications that don’t require such high precision and  intelligent control. An example is the CV 2000 load-sensing, post-compensated sectional control valve from Nimco AB, Malmö, Sweden. The CV 2000 LS can be used in systems with both fixed and variable displacement pumps. The compensators in the sections allow all functions to work even when the pump is saturated.

Accumulators beat boom bounce

Designers at a manufacturer of agricultural equipment eliminate the problem boom bounce on their self-propelled, high-clearance sprayers with AccuMight bladder accumulators.

Fluid warmers boost machine productivity

Hydraulic fluid tends to thicken as it gets colder, which hinders it from flowing into a system’s hydraulic pump. Restricting flow into the pump can create cavitation, which, in turn, leads to premature pump failure. On the other hand, waiting for fluid to warm up enough to run a machine’s hydraulic system keeps equipment and work crews from doing any work.

The hose whisperer
Alan Hitchcox
Filtration for servo systems
The most effective way to reduce life cycle costs of an oil hydraulic system, regardless of the types of valve used, is through close attention to contamination control.
Hydraulic motor inside
Placing a hydraulic motor inside a conveyor pulley creates an extremely compact assembly that holds several advantages over its conventional counterpart.
Dealing with overhung load
Whether input power comes from an electric motor, gasoline or diesel engine, or PTO on a transmission, hydraulic pumps typically are driven through an industry-standard flange. This arrangement ensures that the mating shafts are always aligned and that no side load is transmitted to the pump’s input shaft.
Cylinders make crane stand tall
The Hiab XS 1055 truck-mounted crane, from Cargotec Corp., Helsinki, takes full advantage of the power and controllability of hydraulics. It uses what Hiab calls an E-link system — a type of lever connection from the crane’s column cylinder to the inner boom and inner boom cylinder to the outer boom. It connects the pivot point of both cylinders’ rod ends to mechanical links that improve vertical lifting of loads to high elevations. The links force out the boom cylinders to obtain a long lever arm, which ensures maximum mechanical advantage between the booms and cylinders in all boom positions.
Threaded caps and plugs
Plastic threaded caps and plugs offer protection against physical damage, dirt, moisture and other contaminates acquired during storage and transit. They can also be used during masking processes including dipping, plating, powder coating, and painting operations. Offered in thousands of different styles, sizes, and materials; high-temperature-resistant materials withstand heat from 375° to 500°.
Candidates debate fluid power
Alan Hitchcox
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