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.

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
Squeeze energy savings from pneumatic systems

Industrial machines designed to run efficiently and save energy are undoubtedly important considerations in manufacturing today. The reasons not only include rising energy prices and the need to hold down production costs, but also an increasing awareness of the environmental impact on an organization’s sustainability.

These issues should not be the responsibility of only production-floor personnel. Machine and system designers and financial managers have a stake in this as well. Energy can be saved eliminating leaks, system design, and advanced machine diagnostics.

Last-chance filters

HIL Series inline porous bronze filter elements protect servovalves and other delicate components by trapping particles 25 µm and larger in hydraulic lines with pressure ratings to 5000 psi. The filter can be cleaned or replaced without breaking line connections. Anodized aluminum alloy housing comes with Buna-N O-rings, Viton optional. Elements also available in 10-, 40-, or 90-µm ratings.

Tracked carrier shows its versatility

When  officials at Rig Source Inc., Elburn, Ill., decided to develop a new tracked carrier, they knew it had to be versatile. According to Mike Crimaldi, president of Rig Source, other carriers, especially those from offshore suppliers, either come loaded with features and capabilities that customers don’t need, or they come in a basic, stripped down model. Either way, equipment owners don’t want to pay for options they won’t use or wait for a basic model to be built up.

A gold mine of opportunities

If you’re involved in the mining industry, then attending MINExpo is probably a no-brainer. But even if your job entails nothing at all to do with mining, there’s a good chance MINExpo still has plenty to offer.

Miniature quick-acting couplings

QD3L line of fluid couplings has M8 threads, 99/16-in. hexagonal OD, and 0.180-in. flow orifice. Made of 303 stainless steel with pressure rating of 250 psi and Viton or EPDM seals. Double shutoff design minimizes space between the internal and external ends when connected to essentially eliminate any leakage when disconnecting.

Beswick Engineering, (603) 433-1188,

Position sensor

Positape linear displacement transducers are said to have twice the life of cable-and-spool types. WB100M has stainless steel extension tape and IP 67/69K rating to withstand seawater and other harsh environments.  Available for measuring maximum strokes from 2000 mm to 10,000 mm. Comes with range of analog or digital outputs FSO error of ±0.05%.

ASM Sensors Inc., (630) 832-3202,

Proportional directional valves

PSL (for fixed-displacement hydraulic systems) and PSV (for variable displacement) proportional directional spool valves accommodate flows to 63 gpm and pressures to 6090 psi. Manual, hydraulic piloted, or electro-hydraulic actuation provides a high degree of proportional control for precise positioning and high maneuverability of mobile equipment. Load-sensing feature provides optimal utilization of the installed power.

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