Simple Pneumatic Servo Keeps Fast-Moving Web Aligned

Materials such as paper, plastic film, foil, and cloth often are produced in long, continuous sheets that are rolled up for more-convenient handling and transportation. These rolls of material vary significantly in size and weight—ranging from 2- to 200-in. wide and weighing as much as several tons.

The Converting Industry takes these continuous rolls of thin, flat materials—known as webs—threads them though processing machines (such as printing presses, laminators, coaters, slitters, etc.), and changes the web of material into an intermediate form or final product. For example, a converter’s equipment might take a web of plastic film, cut it into lengths, and fuse their edges, thus converting it into plastic bags. This activity is known as web processing.

Keeping the Web on Track
A moving web of material has a tendency to tend to track off course and wander out of alignment during converting processes for any of several reasons. When a web is out of alignment with the equipment processing it, the quality of the finished product may suffer, and scrap rates can escalate. To avoid these problems, designers have developed a variety of automatic web-guiding systems that ensures production accuracy and reduces waste.

Web-guiding systems typically are positioned just before a critical stage on a converting machine (for example, just before a print station on a printing press). Each type of web guiding system uses a sensor to monitor the web position for lateral tracking, and each has an actuator to shift the running web mechanically back on course whenever the sensor detects movement away from the set path. Actuators may be pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, or some kind of electromechanical device.

Because the web may be fragile—particularly at its edge—non-contact sensors are used. These sensors may be pneumatic, photoelectric, ultrasonic, or infrared. The system’s controls must put the output signals from the sensors into a form that can drive the actuator.

Many controls today are electronic, typically using an amplifier to convert signals from the sensor, then commanding a special servomotor incorporating a lead or ball screw for guiding actuation. Some electromechanical guiding systems also utilize comp

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Choosing a compact excavator: The questions you should ask

Selecting the right compact excavator for your landscaping company can be an overwhelming task when you have multiple manufacturers and specs to consider.

Compact excavators are excellent tools to have on the jobsite thanks to their versatility and ability to reduce the need for hand labor.

If you are considering adding one to your fleet, or if you’re shopping for a new one, here are the questions you should be asking and what really matters when trying to narrow down your options.

Do I need a compact excavator?
It may sound like a no-brainer, but machinery is a big investment, so it is important to not end up buying something your business doesn’t really need.

Compact excavators can be used for jobs such as digging trenches for irrigation systems, moving brush, grading, making holes for posts and trees and much more if the right attachment is used.

“When properly matched to the project; there really are no limitations to what these machines can do,” says Jeff Jacobsmeyer, Kubota product manager for excavators, wheel loaders and TLBs. “Advanced load sensing hydraulics with an adjustable auxiliary flow allows the operator to ‘dial’ in the flow rate needed for any attachment.”

Bucket and thumb attachments are two of the most commonly used for compact excavators, as they enable the user to manipulate irregularly shaped objects, debris and rocks. Other popular attachments include augers, hammers and variously sized buckets.

If you’ve already been renting a compact excavator for the majority of your jobs, this is a good indicator it will be put to good use if you buy one, and it may even enable you to pick up more of these jobs after purchasing one for your business.

What are the specs?
Once you’ve determined a compact excavator would fit well in your operations, there are a number of specs to evaluate.

The nature of your work will determine which specs you’ll really need to pay attention to, but the two main details you should focus on are the listed dig depth and lifting capacity.

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Global Hydraulic Components Market to Reach US$ 49.1 Billion by 2021 and is Projected to Register a CAGR of 5.4% by 2026

Components that collectively make up an entire hydraulic system assembly are referred to as hydraulic components. These components come in various shapes and sizes and are extensively used in a variety of machinery and hydraulic equipment worldwide.

Global Hydraulic Components Market: Market Dynamics

Hydraulic components are majorly use for various end-use applications such as automation, automobiles, aviation, defense, fabrication industry, food and beverage, foundry, materials handling, mining, newspapers and periodicals, oil industry, paper and packaging, robots, ships, transportation, under sea, wood working, plastic industry, press tools, entertainment etc.

In addition, hydraulic machines are widely used in various equipment such as hydraulic lifts and vibration control systems for high-story buildings and trains, sluice gates, crushers, and compactors. Moreover, demand for heavy machinery and equipment is increasing from various end-use verticals such as industrial, material processing/forming machinery, aerospace, mining, automobiles, testing machinery/simulator, and ships/fishing machinery.

Moreover, hydraulic cylinders are widely used in production of agricultural equipment such as tractors, combine harvesters, harvesting machines, loaders, planters, tillage machines, log-splitters, fertilizer spreaders, front-wheel packers, front-power lifts, seed-conveyors, and mulching machines. In addition, growing global population have led to increasing demand for food products, which is further expected to result in need to enhance farm productivity, thereby increasing rate of adoption of more technologically-efficient methods of farming in developing as well as developed countries. Growing demand for food across the globe is a key factor that is expected to lead to increasing utilization of agricultural machinery over the forecast period.

Global Hydraulic ComponentsMarket: Market Forecast

The comprehensive research report comprises a complete forecast of the global hydraulic components market based on factors affecting the market and their impact in the foreseeable future. According to the forecast projections, revenue from the global hydraulic components market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 5.4% during the forecast period.

Read more: Global Hydraulic Components Market to Reach US$ 49.1 Billion by 2021 and is Projected to Register a CAGR of 5.4% by 2026


Smart Hydraulic Actuator

The system combines the key benefits of an electronic servo system with the power density of hydraulics, and constitutes a standard, all-in-one (variable-speed motor, drive, cylinder) actuation system that precisely controls position, force and speed in applications requiring from 500 lbs (2,225 N) to more than 100,000 lbs (445 kN) of force capacity. With high force and quick cycle times in a compact package, the all-inclusive system produces strokes up to 120 inches (3,048 mm). The flexible system can be oriented in any position and features a compact footprint, combining the power-to-weight ratio advantage of hydraulic technology with the versatility, ease of installation and control of electric servo technology. It is powered by a servo motor driving a hydraulic pump that generates pressure to act on a cylinder to provide optimal mechanical actuation force. The configuration also features a servo drive controller, actuator, manifold and built-in transducers—providing essential closed-loop precision force and position control. Fieldbus capabilities include Ethernet, CAN and serial. The variable-speed servo motor eliminates the need for a proportional directional valve because the motor controls flow rate and direction. The unit is smaller than alternatives, and features energy efficiencies of 60-80 percent.

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Pre- or Post-Compensation: The Days of “or” are Over

The machine design process has traditionally been full of sacrifices and trade-offs: one option selected at the expense of another. However, the tides are changing with the help of new solutions that are advancing the way we build machines. With innovation in load-sensing technologies and new mobile valve solutions, there is a broader range of configuration options available today.

The dynamics surrounding hydraulic flow control while multi-servicing help to illustrate how the design process has changed. Historically, there have been two options to maintain load control when the pump becomes saturated during multi-service conditions: pre-compensation or post-compensation.

In this article, we will outline the differences between pre- and post-compensation, as well as provide an overview of the advantages surrounding each method. We will also explore what it means to combine the two options in a single valve bank, and the advantages that bring to mobile machinery.

Background and Benefits
Hydraulic pumps use load-sensing technology to generate the right amount of power at the right time. Load-sensing systems detect the load-induced pressure at the actuator and communicate that pressure to the pump to increase or decrease both pressures and flow as needed, thus optimizing efficiency and minimizing energy loss. While these systems help keep a single motor or cylinder running efficiently, there are challenges for users when it comes to dealing with saturation in the pump.

Traditional load-sensing systems maintain consistent operation speeds through pressure compensation: either pre-compensation or post-compensation. Pre-compensation maintains consistent flow from each section of the valve, even when the pump pressure fluctuates due to multi-servicing, but each function is blind to what all other functions are doing.

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The compelling case for high-pressure geroler motors

High Torque Low Speed (HTLS) motors using gerotor and geroler technology have been in use since the 1950s but are generally considered for low and medium pressure applications.

Eaton has been expanding the envelope by developing geroler motors that operate reliably at higher pressures, up to 345bar (intermittent pressure drop). High-pressure motors are able to accomplish more in a smaller package compared to medium-pressure technology.

When it comes to enhancing performance of both mobile and stationary hydraulic systems, high-pressure technology can be used to reduce package size, improve starting torque, and reduce system costs. At the end of the day, this means that skid steer loaders, drilling equipment, grinders and mixers, material handling and other mobile equipment can get more done, generate less emissions and use less fuel.

Switching from medium to high-pressure models is typically driven by three factors:

1. Equipment size: as machines become more compact and nimble, higher pressure products allow the same capability in a smaller envelope.
2. Capability gains: applications where more capable motors yield more productive or efficient machinery
3. Future compatibility: supporting future upgrades and changes

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The Future Of Pneumatics As Aircraft Go More Electric

Pneumatic systems power and provide air for an array of aircraft functions. Best known are cabin pressurization and air conditioning, main engine start and anti-icing, but other functions include fuel tank pressurization, fuel tank inerting, avionics cooling and engine pneumatics.

Distinct from hydraulic systems, which tend to power mechanical devices such as flaps and landing gear, pneumatics also differ in that they use their medium—air—as a power source and a function. This has been the case for most of the modern jet era, but new technology is shaking things up.

Until the Boeing 787, most aircraft performed the pneumatic functions outlined above by drawing air from an aircraft’s ram-air intakes and from the engines using bleed-air systems. This can be inefficient, because a bleed system takes air that could be used for thrust. Furthermore, the ducting and valves needed to pipe that air around the aircraft add weight, and more bleed air is taken than can be used.

With the 787, Boeing replaced the traditional bleed-air control with electric-motor-driven compressors that feed the rest of the aircraft’s environmental control system (ECS), and changed its wing deicers from pneumatic to electric. In comparison with an Airbus A320, which can generate up to 270 kW of electrical power, the 787’s alternators can generate up to 1,500 kW—enough to power the homes of a small town.

Read more: The Future Of Pneumatics As Aircraft Go More Electric


One size doesn’t fit all

Those of us who work in areas with inclement winter weather know how important proper winter storm response can be. While only a part of our overall road maintenance responsibilities, our effectiveness when dealing with snow and ice events is the certainly the most scrutinized. Nine months of great road maintenance work and public goodwill can be completely wiped out in one mismanaged winter storm. Some agencies steadily outperform others during winter weather response. How do they do it, and what do they know that we don’t? More importantly, how do we get there?

Those are the questions the Johnson County Highway Department was asking during the winter season of 2013-2014. Salt supplies were depleted around our region, and we were fighting more frequent and colder winter storm events than usual. Staff were exhausted from top to bottom as snow event cleanup continued into subsequent winter storms. But public expectation of clear roads did not change, whether on our narrow low-volume roads or our suburban collectors pushing 15,000 vehicles per day. Located just south of Indianapolis, Johnson County is the fifth-fastest growing county in Indiana, due largely to suburban growth in the central Indiana region. Additionally, neighborhood streets account for roughly 22% of the total road miles in our unincorporated jurisdiction, which is rare for a county in our state. Goods still had to be moved, residents still had to get to work, and children still had to get to school. To say we had to get creative during that season to clear the roughly 1,200 lane miles in our jurisdiction would be an understatement.

However, we were watching other agencies finish their storm cleanup consistently faster than we were. We had seen this before in previous seasons but had accepted that we were facing different challenges than our municipal neighbors, such as fewer resources available per mile and blowing snow in rural areas, that required additional time. While this was all true, it was time to stop using this as an excuse for poor performance and develop a new way to deal with winter storms.

The first step toward improvement required learning as much as possible about available technologies and best practices for winter storm response. Through divine intervention, sheer luck, or something in between, we received a mailing for the 2014 APWA North American Snow Conference in Cincinnati during our difficult 2013-2014 winter season and decided to attend. This is where we were first learned the extent of what we didn’t know. While it was clear that improving our winter storm response would be a long-term and ongoing process, gaining access to training resources and making connections with vendors and other government agencies at this conference played a key role in developing a plan unique to our needs.

Read more: One size doesn’t fit all


Market Forecast points to demand for energy-efficient hydraulic equipment

According to recent analysis from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, the demand for energy-efficient hydraulic equipment is larger than ever, stemming from what they believe are “abundant opportunities in the areas of product development, system design, and cross-industry collaborations.”

Pulling from the Global Mobile Hydraulic Equipment Market Forecast, companies that adopt the position of hydraulic system providers in lieu of component suppliers will open themselves up to providing system-level solutions and strategic partnerships with IIoT service providers in order to broaden their product and service portfolios. Furthermore, greater customer emphasis on single-vendor solutions throughout the lifecycle is expected to drive capital investment in hydraulic solutions.

“Integration of hydraulics and electronics and the greater penetration of predictive analytics are expected to help slow down the market’s movement toward all-electric systems,” said Varun Raman, Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Electro-hydraulic equipment’s ability to increase energy efficiency, enhance control, and eliminate fluid leaks will restrict the growth of electric systems in applications traditionally catered to by hydraulic solutions,” he said.

Other noteworthy conclusions from the forecast are the inclusion of compact mobile hydraulic equipment and the role metal additive manufacturing might play in what they consider “customized mass manufacturing through a first-mover advantage by reducing product lead times.”

Frost & Sullivan’s analysis highlights growth, restraints, product segments, and end-user industries in the regions of North America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC). The study also includes future growth opportunities, strategic imperatives for those opportunities, and CEO’s 360 degree perspective.

“The mobile hydraulic equipment market is receiving another major boost from the recovery of the oil & gas industry. This is especially evident in North America, which has a large installed base of legacy infrastructure, and in Asia-Pacific, which is investing heavily in new equipment,” noted Raman.

The Global Mobile Hydraulic Equipment Market Forecast is a part of Frost & Sullivan’s global Mechanical Power Transmission Growth Partnership Service program.

Read more: Market Forecast points to demand for energy-efficient hydraulic equipment


New process to extend serviceability of hydraulic aircraft components

The Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate recently completed an extensive effort to help certify a maintenance process that could extend the life of aircraft hydraulic system components.

Through participation in a rapid innovation fund team led by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, AFRL researchers successfully helped develop, test and validate the cold spray coating process for the life extension of aircraft hydraulic lines. Cold spray is a technique by which metal particles are accelerated onto a surface through high-pressure application. The force of the impact bonds the metal to the surface without the need for temperatures as high as those typically associated with other deposition processes.

This process was identified as a potential solution for replacement B-1 aircraft hydraulic lines, which are prone to chafing damage.

B-1 hydraulic lines are made of titanium, a strong, lightweight metal that can be bent and routed around tight spaces without collapsing upon itself. These qualities make it ideal for aircraft hydraulic systems. However, titanium does have drawbacks. It is a surface-sensitive material, meaning that any nick or scratch can be detrimental to its overall material properties. Because of the proximity of the B-1 hydraulic lines to landing gear components, chafing is a common occurrence, necessitating frequent inspection and replacement of hydraulic lines. This procedure is a costly and time-consuming endeavor.

To alleviate this problem, the rapid innovation fund team began investigating the use of the cold spray process to apply a protective titanium layer to chafe-prone tubing areas. The thought behind this effort was that the sacrificial titanium layer could endure considerable wear while preventing harm to the material beneath.

Certifying the process for implementation on the aircraft hydraulic tubes was a complex and multi-faceted effort on the part of AFRL researchers and project partners.

Read more: New process to extend serviceability of hydraulic aircraft components