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 industiral 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.

Rock star of digging

Digga dubs itself Australia’s premier attachment manufacturer. But these aren’t just empty words. Established in 1981, Digga pioneered pendulum drilling in Australia and is Australia’s leading manufacturer of planetary drive boring and trenching attachments for construction and other heavy industries. Digga offers more than 80 different attachments, an extensive line of replacement parts, and service.

Hydraulics runs dredger 24/7
Powerful hydraulic drives keep waterways clear by pulling debris from the water and transporting it miles away.
Clutches go through the gears
Hydraulic drives often are combined with gearing to provide the best combination of output speed and torque for maximum efficiency, performance, and controllability. But sometimes hydraulic actuators are best used when they are integrated into a gear drive. Hydraulically actuated clutches, for example, can be used within a gearbox to engage and disengage different sets of gears to provide different output speeds and torques.
Machine builder goes nuts with hydraulics
When you have to tighten a nut on a stud that's more than 2 ft in diameter, you don't use a wrench, you use hydraulics.
Hydraulic hose carried to great lengths

Hydraulics moves the ramps and platforms that allow a single carrier to hold multiple cars. Naturally, heavy loads are involved, and the hose must tolerate brutal over-the-road conditions. Typically, car carriers have relied on SAE 100R1 hydraulic hose for pressures to 2250 psi for 3⁄8-in. hose (to 2000 psi for 1⁄2-in. hose) and SAE 100R2 for pressures to 4000 psi for 3⁄8-in. hose (3500 for 1⁄2-in. hose). However, the pressure rating for one manufacturer’s proprietary hydraulic hose is 2750 psi for the  3⁄8-in.

I’ve been to hose hell and back 1
Alan Hitchcox
Hydraulics keeps track boom on even ground

New Genie S-40 Trax and S-45 Trax telescopic booms, from Terex Aerial Work Platforms, Redmond, Wash., are now available with the company’s four-point Trax track drive system. By using four triangular track drives instead of wheels, the machines are better equipped to tackle uneven terrain, especially under a wide variety of soil conditions. And unlike full-length track drives on skid-steer machines, the triangular track drives cause less damage to sensitive ground surfaces, making the S-40 and S-45 able to take on almost any surface.

Simulation table produces more realistic testing
Exova Group Ltd. provides demanding, laboratory-based testing and related advisory services for a broad range of products and processes. Test results ensure a customer’s compliance with safety and quality standards. Steve Panter, operation manager of global automotive testing at Exova, purchased a hydraulic simulation table last year from Moog Inc., East Aurora, N. Y. Hydraulic cylinders make the simulation table more effective by testing six degrees of motion in a small footprint.
Stuff that sticks in your mind
Editor Alan Hitchcox remembers the life lesson he learned in an engineering economics course about the dangers of multi-tasking instead of finishing a project and then moving to the next one.
Fluid power? Here’s an app for that
The Mechanical Engineer Formulator app, created by veteran Apple developer Marc Schulman, from Multieducator Inc., New Rochelle, N.Y., allows you to make countless calculations, especially those for fluid power, right from your pocket.
Brush cutter is on the right track
To keep vegetation safely off rail lines, Rail Construction Equipment Co. designed a unique brush cutter that uses a hydraulically-powered John Deere 120D excavator to drive the rail car chassis, eliminating chain drives and necessary maintenance. The compact hydrostatic drive is safer and more versatile than other designs.
Self-cushioning air cylinders
Self-adjusting, pneumatic end-position cushioning is available on five ADN compact pneumatic cylinder models. Cushioning ports provide for optimal air venting and adjust automatically to suit speed and load conditions.
Fan drive controls temp in all climates
Scania buses are internationally recognized for their high fuel economy, reliability, and low impact on the environment. However, a standard electrohydraulic fan drive system from Sauer-Danfoss has a central role in keeping up Scania’s reputation for top performance on the road.
Digital music from 100 years ago
Making a discovery of player piano scrolls led Editor Alan Hitchcox to research this type of digital music derived from pneumatic logic. Player pianos work by using vacuum. The user sits in front of the piano and works a pair of pedals that drives a bellows type vacuum pump. A vacuum motor drives a takeup reel to pull the paper from the music roll. Vacuum also works actuators assigned to each piano key.
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