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.

Truck-mounted handlers show their strength

Barko Hydraulics, Superior, Wis., says its 80XL back-of-cab knuckleboom loader delivers the highest payload with the lowest installed weight ratio and provides the lowest cost of operation of any product on the market. It also comes equipped with more standard features and is said to last longer and perform harder than its competitors.

Bet you can’t read just one
Editor Alan Hitchcox talks about the longevity of Hydraulics & Pneumatics' technical content and how readers often look for articles that are decades old because they are still relevant today.
LDT lets RoGator adapt to the task at hand

When it comes to versatility, machines don’t get much better than the RoGator, manufactured by AGCO Corp., Duluth, Ga., at it’s facility in Jackson, Minn. Three sizes of RoGators all come with a 4-wheel hydrostatic drive system and closed-loop electrohydraulic steering that provides 2-wheel steer, all-wheel steer, auto steer (which provides 2-wheel steer until the front wheels pivot 6° or more, at which time 4-wheel steer automatically kicks in), and crab steer.

Retract clamping protects piston rod

When the high force potential of hydraulics is not required — such as clamps for spot welding — pneumatics is a natural. Pneumatics is fast, reliable, fire-proof, and unaffected by the immense electrical noise generated by spot welding guns.

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.
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