Hydraulic fluid particle detection is essential in maintaining the performance of the systems and equipment requiring the movement of materials and parts. Standard operating procedures call for regular monitoring of contaminants in hydraulic fluid to make sure particles are within the acceptable range to ensure safe and optimum operations.
The importance of hydraulic fluid particles detection in machinery-in-motion systems cannot be overstated. It is critical in plants, facilities and equipment across many markets and industries, including mobile equipment for earth-moving, agricultural planting and harvesting, and forestry; power generation wind turbines, gear boxes and lubrication systems; industrial equipment for production plants, fluid transfer, pulp and paper, and refineries, and maintenance test rigs and flushing stands.Cleanliness of hydraulic fluid
Particle detectors provide data that indicates cleanliness of fluids and the performance of filters and pumps. Detectors allow technicians and other plant and facility personnel to identify issues that can be corrected before machines and processes are shut down.
If filters aren’t working correctly, then pumps work harder, creating more wear and larger particles delivered into the hydraulic fluid. Particles can include metal chips, dirt, moisture and other contaminants. Water in hydraulic fluid makes it less efficient to lubricate gears and it corrodes the system.
To ensure optimum safe operations, hydraulic fluid particles must be monitored. That typically requires frequent inspection by maintenance and tech personnel who often must do their work in locations where hazards lurk.
To assist in ensuring their hydraulic systems are performing at max levels and to reduce maintenance activities on plant floors, many are turning now to a new way to measure hydraulic fluid particles that allows for remote monitoring.Parker’s solution for remote monitoring of hydraulic fluid
Parker has created a wireless and remote particle monitoring system combining its SensoNODE™ IoT technology and particle detector. Parker’s SensoNODE Analog Transmitters are integrated with Parker’s particle detector, iCountPD.
The measurements from the iCountPD are transferred from the SensoNODE Analog Transmitter to Parker’s Voice of the Machine™ Cloud interface, allowing managers and techs to get the data from any location, including offices and even at home—wherever Internet access is available.
Parker’s solution makes a formerly wired control system wireless so you can receive data remotely. The SensoNODE Analog Transmitter uses 4-20mA measurement outputs and translates the data into particle size measurements. The technology stores the data in the cloud.Particle detection and measurement
The system detects hydraulic fluid particles and reports them with ISO 4406 codes. Particle size measurements are 4, 6 and 14 microns. The iCountPD can also measure moisture in hydraulic fluid.
Parker’s iCountPD systems can be used to monitor the upstream and downstream sides of filters. The before-and-after measurements provide data that shows whether the filters are working and whether the fluid needs to be changed. If issues are detected, technicians can flush the hydraulic system and change the filter.
The compact iCountPD is a permanently mounted system using leading-edge laser-based technology to assist in hydraulic fluid management and contamination control. Three versions are available:
The system integrates Parker’s IoT-based platform, Voice of the Machine™ Cloud. This means data is accessed through the web-based platform from anywhere technicians, operators or managers have an internet connection.
The platform dashboards with live and historical data provide particle measurements and insights into what’s happening with the hydraulic fluid. You can also set customized alarm thresholds of measurements (min/max) and be alerted when measurements fall outside of those defined thresholds.
The wireless system delivers advantages in safety and convenience, as they reduce the number of technicians required on the plant floor or in the vicinity of hydraulic equipment. Readouts from the various installed iCountPD particle detectors can be accessed well clear of hazardous or dangerous locations. Having fewer technicians and maintenance workers on the plant floor also helps operations stay in compliance of social distancing recommendations.Learn more about Parker’s wireless particle detection system
The Parker solution provides an accurate and reliable tool to monitor the quality of the fluids in hydraulic equipment. Parker’s iCountPD products deliver continuous performance for dependable analyses and have been shown to prolong fluid life and reduce machinery downtime.
Article contributed by Marc Williams, IoT project lead, and Gavin Barker, iCountPD applications engineer, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
As industry supply chains become more global and more complex, it behooves stakeholders to seek out ways to work with greater efficiency, reduce errors, increase equipment lifetime, and simply do more with fewer resources. Thus, a revolution is happening in many industries — including materials handling — as they align supply chain management and material handling practices with Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
Industrial IoT solutions defined
In Industrial IoT applications (sometimes referred to as IIoT applications), physical objects have been made “smart” with the addition of sensors and other technologies. These sensors can collect data, which is then transmitted, wirelessly, and automatically, to cloud-based computer networks. Data can then be analyzed by software to help human operators make more informed decisions about those objects. Increasingly, it’s the objects themselves that are making the decisions.
These technologies are quickly pervading many aspects of our daily lives: Most Americans already interact regularly with smart technologies when they work, shop, travel, or relax at home.
Download our white paper Off-Road Trends: Driving Cleaner, More Efficient and Connected Machinery, and learn what influences the advances in mobile heavy machinery.Applications of IoT in industrial automation
Those working in materials handling are increasingly interacting with Industrial IoT solutions while on the job. The impact of and potential for the technology are significant. As stated in a 2018 article in Wired Magazine:
The IIoT can transform traditional, linear manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected systems — a digital supply network (DSN) — that can more readily incorporate ecosystem partners. As key enablers of DSNs, IIoT technologies help to change the way that products are made and delivered, making factories more efficient, ensuring better safety for human operators, and, in some cases, saving millions of dollars.
Specifically, the Industrial IoT offers a range of advantages in material handling.Equipment uptime and maintenance
If a machine fails, sensors can pinpoint the problem and make a service request. Better yet, data from sensors on materials handling machinery — which detect things such as vibrations, sound, and temperature — can drive predictive analytics that can help operators understand the maintenance needs to schedule service more effectively in advance.
The Wired article explains how one company used predictive maintenance to improve its production equipment uptime. The outcome? It avoided a $25 million expense to build another line to keep up with demand.Workflow efficiency
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) in manufacturer stockrooms, warehouses, and distribution centers can collaborate with human workers to make workflows more efficient. One manufacturer’s AMR, for example, guides workers through a series of material picks in a way that minimizes travel and makes optimal use of the robot’s carrying capacity. The AMR then takes the material to a station for pack out. Over time, the cloud software to which the AMR is connected may recommend ways to reorganize product inventory for further efficiency gains.Insight into fleet usage and availability
One forklift OEM offers telematics data that gives operators insights into how the vehicles are being used — how much are they driven, where they are driven, how much time they spend loading or unloading docked trucks, how often are they driven loaded or unloaded, etc. With this data in hand, operators and managers can make more informed decisions about fleet deployment and size.Worker safety
IoT-enabled, self-driving forklifts, and pallet jacks can handle tasks that might be difficult or dangerous for humans. Predictive maintenance (see above) can help avoid breakdowns that often lead to worker injury.Product status and shipping coordination
Sensors placed on pallets, in a product container, or on products themselves can track factors such as temperature, impact, and vibration. Any of this information may be critical, depending on the product. Those sensors can then transmit this information to the cloud to be accessed by stakeholders along the value chain.
Sensors can also be used to track the location and predict arrival times of shipments, to better coordinate and plan last-mile delivery.New business models and opportunities
Some industry observers believe that the proliferation of Industrial IoT solutions will lead to an increase in the leasing of high-value equipment. Such equipment will be outfitted with sensors and networked. The manufacturer can then monitor remotely, to automatically (and efficiently) deliver maintenance and service. This allows the lessee to focus on its core business, rather than worry about equipment maintenance.
Technological hurdles to the IIoT
A webinar presented by the Materials Handling Industry of America pointed to the key challenges related to Industrial IoT applications. The primary ones relate to uncontrolled access to and misuse of IoT data—not necessarily for malicious intent, but misuse that can cause damage or injury nevertheless — along with true cyber threats.
These and other challenges reveal what’s referred to in the webinar as a root need for collaboration between IT and operations. The aim should be not only developing better security systems but a long-term management approach that ensures software is updated and maintained regularly.
The promise of Industrial IoT applications
Industrial IoT solutions hold tremendous promise to transform manufacturing and logistics. A key part of this transformation will be the widespread adoption of “smart” material handling equipment and systems that provide data to help operators create more efficiency, better use resources, improve worker safety, ensure product quality, and improve shipping.
To learn more about the key role of Parker 's Mobile IoT solutions and the trends revolutionalizing material handling equipment read our White Paper Off-Road Trends: Driving Cleaner, More Efficient and Connected Machinery.
This article was contributed by the Fluid and Gas Handling Team
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A cramped, crowded, urban construction zone hardly seems the place for a 100-ton excavator or dozer. That’s why, in the 1980s, compact versions of these and other standard construction machines started appearing on jobsites.
Aside from their smaller footprint, these machines offer versatility, portability, and lower cost of ownership. And while the compact construction equipment market started its evolution in Asia and Europe, it’s rapidly spreading to other regions as well.
Compact construction equipment defined
Compact construction equipment refers to any small unit designed to be used on a construction site. Among the vehicles classified as such are mini excavators, compact wheel loaders, multi-terrain loaders, compact track loaders, and skid steer loaders. These are produced by major OEMs, such as John Deere, Bobcat Doosan, Caterpillar, and many others.
Generally, compact construction machines are not defined by size, but by their utility. Compact equipment offers a level of versatility and an ability to perform multiple tasks otherwise undertaken by heavy machinery. They offer a relatively low cost (including less fuel use), are lighter weight and “footprint,” and are easy to transport and operate. Their versatility and portability mean they’re popular as rental machines.
One original equipment manufacturer representative explains it this way in an article for RER Reports:
"While some people look at these machines as simply “downsized” versions of full-size machines, the fact is they’re serious pieces of equipment that are appropriate for a wide variety of smaller jobs. For example, it wouldn’t make any sense to use a full-size excavator to put a hot tub in a backyard, but a piece of compact equipment is just right for this kind of project. There’s a large market for these machines due to the variety of applications they can be used in, and I don’t see that changing."
OEM Equipment Representative
Global construction equipment market trends
According to a 2019 report by QY Research, the global compact construction equipment market was valued at more than $10 billion (USD) in 2017 and is likely to reach more than $15 billion by the end of 2025. The global market for compact construction equipment is expected to show a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% during these years.
Another report by Allied Market Research claims the Asia-Pacific region will have the highest growth rate for compact construction equipment through 2023. This is no surprise when the region is experiencing a boom in urban infrastructure. We can also expect growth in Latin America, as that region’s overall construction industry rebounds.
North American demand is growing
Even in North America, demand has grown as many construction professionals have recognized the versatility these machines offer, along with their ability to quickly and easily mechanize work that had previously been done — and done more expensively — by hand. They have also recognized that compact construction equipment can be moved easily between jobsites, perhaps on a trailer hitched to a standard pickup truck. This portability adds to the equipment’s versatility and overall attractiveness.
Another of the market trends affecting the growth of compact construction equipment is vehicle electrification.
The electrification of these machines is generally easier than on large construction equipment, and major OEMs are introducing electric options. Volvo, for instance, has launched a range of electric compact excavators and wheel loaders, and will no longer produce diesel versions of these compact models.
Quoted in an article published in OEM Off-Highway magazine, a Volvo representative states:
"It’s easy to understand why this segment has been so attracted to electromobility. Cities want to – and need to – drive down their emissions and as regulations become more prevalent our customer base is increasingly looking for electric machines to meet these requirements. Compact machines are built for inner-city work and if you add in zero exhaust fumes and a quieter, safer work environment, you have a complete package perfectly suited to urban applications."
The compact construction equipment market is growing, owing to these machines’ overall versatility, portability, and cost of ownership. The electrification trend promises to further evolve these machines, making them even more ideal for crowded, urban jobsite environments.
To learn more about trends in the Construction industry, read our white paper, Off-Road Trends: Driving Cleaner, More Efficient and Connected Machinery.
This article was contributed by the Fluid Gas Handling Team, Parker Hannifin
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Forklift manufacturers need to be focused on building equipment that is reliable, durable and designed for safety. The forklift’s mast, or upright, is the portion of the forklift that lifts, lowers and positions the loads manipulated by the forks. The mast hose, also referred to as the over-the-sheave hose, transfers hydraulic liquids under high pressure and varying temperature to move the mast up and down. Sudden failure of a hose can expel hot hydraulic oil at a high rate of speed and distance. Anyone nearby, particularly at eye level with the damaged section, would be in danger of serious injury from burns or oil injection from a puncture wound. In addition, a hose that breaks free from one of its fittings may thrash about, potentially striking a worker and causing injury. Spilled oil is also responsible for many slip and fall accidents in the workplace as well as ecological issues.Start with the proper hose selection
Parker can help OEMs design forklifts that are aligned with their goals of reliability, durability and safety. Forklift hoses do their work in relative obscurity, but proper hose selection can help to ensure a safe work environment. The Parflex Division of Parker manufactures thermoplastic hoses built with a high level of contact strength between the layers of core, braid and jacket. This contact is generated because thermoplastic materials can be re-melted during the production process allowing for both a chemical and mechanical bond. This unique bonding process creates projections on the outside of the core that extend up into the braid, while the jacket material is forced down into the braid from the outside.Specify hoses that perform
Parflex over-the-sheave hoses are tested under extreme conditions to withstand temperatures as low as -70°F to +250°F and show no fatigue after more than 250,000 flexing cycles. The strength member is offered in high tensile fiber or wire reinforced steel with brass plate wire, and the abrasion resistant jacket is specially formulated to offer a high level of UV protection for optimal weather resilience and low coefficient of friction to improve wear.
All Parker mast hoses for over-the-sheave applications meet various SAE specifications and pressure ratings up to 5,000 psi, depending on design. In the past, the majority of hoses were made from rubber but today, thermoplastic hose out performs conventional rubber products for several reasons:
With hoses being vital in the operation of forklift equipment, it is important to specify hoses for safety, as well as performance. Forklift accidents are common and nothing is more important than workplace safety, specifying the right hydraulic hose can help to keep workers safe.
For more information about the Parker over-the-sheave hoses, visit www.parker.com/parflex.
Article contributed by Greg Hayes, OEM sales manager, Parflex Division.
Construction equipment endures harsh environments. Parker understands the construction market’s constant battle with corrosion in these harsh environments – and the costly downtime that comes with it. Our steel hydraulic tube fittings and adapters come standard with ToughShield (TS1000) Plating, providing up to 1,000 hours of corrosion protection (according to ASTM B117 neutral salt spray testing) at no additional cost, saving customers both downtime and cost.
The harsh conditions that are commonplace with outdoor equipment are perfect for the formation of corrosion. Red rust can pit, erode or otherwise weaken important components. If those components are fittings in a hydraulic system, rust can damage what’s essentially the muscle of the machine, leaving it vulnerable to breakdown.
Protective measures are key in preventing rust and TS1000 provides unmatched long-term protection. That means good-looking, top-performing, corrosion resistant Parker tube fittings and adapters on our customer’s equipment to keep the production going longer.
The recipe for rust is incredibly simple. In fact, the ingredients required to create rust are found in most environments: oxygen and moisture. In the right combination these ingredients result in iron oxide. In most cases, steel needs to be protected by a surface coating. In the case of hydraulic fittings, Zinc is the most common plating for corrosion protection. When bonded with metal, the element acts as a sacrificial layer to protect the metal. It can delay corrosion, but it can’t prevent it.
But this information isn't news to you. Anyone who has worked with heavy mobile equipment that spends much of its time outdoors has seen rust form. What's less apparent is how dynamic rust can be. It doesn't stay in one place.
When in a wet environment zinc starts to sacrifice itself to protect the steel substrate, generating a white oxidation byproduct, commonly called white corrosion. As this sacrificial process continues, the protective zinc layer is consumed and the base metal is exposed. That’s when the red rust will soon start to appear. The spread of corrosion to surrounding components can happen quickly. Corrosion can spread very quickly to neighboring, more costly, components as shown in the image.
But that's not all. The white corrosion byproduct from zinc oxidation creates volume, damaging the integrity of surrounding surface protection, leaving neighboring areas more vulnerable. So, even when components are zinc-plated, corrosion can spread by migrating from component to component. This can often lead to the need for earlier and more frequent repairs to adjacent fittings and mating components, like a cylinder boss or vulnerable portions of hydraulic hose. It also makes repairs more difficult as components with corrosion are more difficult to disassemble and replace.The true cost of rust:
When corrosion infects a system, things can get ugly. Literally. We know that when rust is visually present in equipment it can lead to a lack of confidence in an operation, and a hit to reputation.
Corrosion isn’t just unsightly though. It's also costly. But the true cost doesn't just come from the expense of replacing fittings or components -- it also comes from downtime, when valuable machines and the personnel who operate them aren't working. That downtime can lead to loss of revenue, reputation, customers and even future business.
Based on our experience, we understand that the best plating is bonded with additional protection to make fittings more impervious to oxygen and moisture. Parker’s team is dedicated to screening and testing various materials and processes that allow us to augment standard zinc plating. That team includes a metallurgist dedicated to fundamentally understanding the cause of corrosion and how it progresses. Parker also invests in metallurgical and surface analysis capabilities, including a state-of-the-art metallurgical lab. The result is plating that lasts longer, looks better, and minimizes downtime and expense.
Parker's TS1000 standard plating preserves torque values, coefficients of friction, pressure ratings, color and other specifications important to our customers. But what matters most is how long fittings stand up to harsh conditions. Parker's differentiator is our robust plating chemicals and processes that truly outperform other fitting manufacturers.
Parker tube fittings and adapters with ToughShield standard plating outperform six competitors in independent ASTM B117 neutral salt spray test.
Superior plating for crucial moments:
The jobs our customer's construction equipment tackles are filled with crucial moments. We know the work our fittings support relies on perfect timing, constant movement and stressful decisions. We know that a fitting that fails due to rust, or causes corrosion to spread in a system, can put an operation on the ropes. Ensuring that our customers’ fittings are working how they need to, in their most crucial moments, is important to us. That’s why we are dedicated to the continuous improvement of our plating.
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Interested in a technically-focused monthly blog written by engineers for engineers specifically around motion and control engineering challenges? Check out our TFD techConnect blog, and subscribe by email.
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Service technicians know all too well that oil changes fluctuate from machine to machine and vehicle to vehicle, requiring a unique set of skills, instructions and equipment. Whether that’s a fleet in Yuma, Arizona or heavy machinery on the assembly line in Detroit, oil changes can be labor-intensive, costly and potentially messy. And let’s not forget about the workplace and environmental risks that can be associated with changing oil.
Why do these issues occur when engines and machinery are becoming more simplified? The conception and procedures of conducting an oil change have not evolved and lag behind their maintenance counterparts. From construction and manufacturing to municipalities and waste management, industries are long overdue for innovation and design in the oil change process, especially in today’s climate where consumer demand has never been greater and organizational budgets have never been tighter.
The answer to solving the oil change dilemma and have technicians sleep soundly at night can be summed up in one word: standardization.
An oil change can be too complicated, too involved and too disorderly. By reconstructing the process, you’ll discover unnecessary procedures, which presents an opportunity to simplify its architecture and operation. With a newfound vision of oil changes, ideas are born and new inventions emerge. One of those developments happens to be the QuickFit™ Oil Change System.
Engineered and manufactured for standardization and speed, the QuickFit Oil Change System reimagines the process. It delivers a faster, cleaner and safer oil change. No pans or filters, or hassling with multiple connection points; instead, the three-step, closed-loop system provides a smooth and efficient oil change experience from start to finish.
Watch the how to install the QuickFit Oil Change System video to see the ease and simplicity of installing on a piece of equipment.
How does the QuickFit Oil Change System Work?
At its core, QuickFit utilizes a single connection point that allows oil extraction directly into the final waste containment. That same connection point is then used to refill the system with new oil, reducing the total number of steps in the oil change process. Importantly, standardization reduces the risk of safety hazards or environmental concerns, such as drips, leaks and spills.
When used accordingly, QuickFit oil changes can be completed in 30 minutes or less while eradicating oil spills and messy cleanup from the equation.Installing QuickFit
The QuickFit Oil Change System is built on transparency and integrity. Less steps and fewer tools for an oil change translates to more time focused on accomplishing business objectives, such as customer uptime.
QuickFit offers simple installation, even on the most convoluted and intricate engines, so you won’t be spending time and resources to get up and running and start seeing the value of QuickFit.
To learn more about QuickFit or speak to a Parker representative, visit our website today.
Article contributed by Emily Renton, product sales manager, Quick Coupling Division, Parker Hannifin.
No matter how impressive the food or beverage packaging process you build, it’s only as strong as its weakest link. Which, in the case of packaging system design, should never be the fluid system connectors. The tubing, hose and fittings that transfer pneumatic power, vacuum systems or product in typical food and beverage packaging builds tend to take a backstage role to the rest of the system. Whether packing bottles into a case or transferring beverages into a bottle, these machines often showcase unique, proprietary and highly engineered designs, mechanisms and robotics to move or package the product.
Meanwhile, the connectors and tubing often get specified as an afterthought. Some end users may not specify the brand or exact part number for the fittings and tubing they will use in their machines, which further contributes to performance risks and lower quality. As a result, there are definite signs that an OEM’s efforts to specify fluid system connectors like tubing and fittings for their builds may be in need of scrutiny.
The following four issues are key indicators that system tubing and fittings need a closer examination.Leaks
One of the most critical issues for OEMs and their customers is system leakage. Obviously, OEMs aim to design systems that won’t leak product, compressed air or vacuum power. Leaks like these not only lead to line shutdowns, they also mean wasted energy, product spills and increased costs for both OEMs and the end-users. And, they can hurt the OEM’s reputation for quality design and craftsmanship. So choosing components specifically because they offer a better track record in terms of leak-free performance is key.
Part of what makes fittings highly resistant to leakage is the seals. Many fittings claim to use specially designed seals, but the performance from brand to brand, particularly after exposure to fluids, high temperatures and harsh sanitizing agents, is not the same. Unfortunately, the OEM might not be informed of leak issues until a significant event has already occurred.
To prevent these breakdown issues, OEMs should select tubing and fittings with more analysis on both sides of the process. Such as, how will the user really use these components? And are the connectors made to survive those conditions?
To that end, some brands engineer seals specifically for each fitting and may incorporate proprietary shapes and sizes as well. Other manufacturers may treat the product as a commodity item, using the same seals across a range of fittings.
If your customers are experiencing leaks associated with fittings on systems you have built, it’s possible these components are not up to the task and the specification needs to be addressed and changed.Breadth of supply
Another factor to consider is the overall breadth of product the brand or supplier can offer. A brand that offers everything from the tubing and fittings to the valves that come in between them offers an advantage in its ability to achieve leak-free connections. In addition, these full-line suppliers or distributors can suggest parts that have been tested to work together. And they are better equipped to offer consultative design advice, potentially helping to eliminate connection points or fittings, which reduces costs and potential leak points. These suppliers also may have engineers on staff specializing in food and beverage processing and packaging builds and able to contribute design suggestions.Component profile
The overall shape and size profiles of components, like hoses, tubing and fittings, are yet another consideration for OEMs. Some brands are made to be streamlined in size, shape and diameter, which contributes to greater design flexibility. The maximum tubing bend radius also contributes either options or limitations. Fluid system designs that exceed a product’s bend radius will lead to kinks and blockages.
Suppliers able to offer more compact component options can help OEMs design machines to fit tighter or limited spaces, or to install components in closer proximities. This in itself contributes to easier sanitation, performance and maintenance procedures down the road.Delivery/availability
Timely access to receiving the right connectors is another factor for OEMs to consider. With so many offshore components available, OEMs have many options in sourcing fluid system connectors. But products made nearby are more likely to be delivered when requested than components made offshore. This becomes increasingly important when customer demands change rapidly or without warning. OEMs who want the ability to make abrupt changes in order quantities or the types of parts ordered should identify and specify those vendors committed to this differentiation. Suppliers who can be more responsive to changing demands and supply the requested products can potentially help OEMs prevent costly production stoppages.
Taken together, benefits like leak prevention, breadth of supply, component profile and availability have the potential to save OEMs significant costs and headaches on their builds. They also can preserve the builder’s winning reputation for designing systems that perform over the long haul.
Learn more about the breadth of product that Parker offers.
This article was contributed by John Duba and Michael Nick, product sales managers, Parker Hannifin's Fluid System Connectors Division.
Connectors might not always receive the attention they deserve. Often times the specification of fittings and tubing is secondary to the attention paid to larger components. Design engineers may not anticipate system leaks. Even if pneumatic fittings and tubing are the last components to be specified in typical food and beverage packaging equipment, they still merit close consideration. Improperly specified connectors contribute to early component deterioration causing leaky connections and even pressure drop. Properly specified fittings and tubing will help to ensure that food and beverage packaging systems perform at levels end-users expect.
In the food and beverage industry, there are a number of packaging processes driven by pneumatic power carried through tubing and fittings that connect pneumatic valves, actuators and FRLs (filters, regulators, lubricators). The components may power any number of processes, such as the filling and sealing of bags of tortilla chips; the folding, filling and sealing of milk cartons; or the packaging of hamburgers and steaks. Regardless of the application, when pneumatic connections aren’t specified correctly, systems can end up with untimely air leaks and pressure drops.
To reduce the chance of leaks and flow restrictions, here are some tips for specifying, plumbing and routing pneumatic connections in food and beverage packaging builds:
1. Select fittings carefully based on each application
While most pneumatically controlled food and beverage processes use push-to-connect fittings over other styles, such as compression and flare, push-to-connect fittings also come in different materials for specific reasons. There are higher-end FDA-compliant fittings, such as Parker’s Prestolok PLM electroless nickel-plated brass fittings and Prestolok PLS stainless steel fittings, made for applications where the fittings may come in contact with foods and beverages.
For processes where foods and beverages don’t come in contact with fittings, such as secondary packaging operations, OEMs can opt for more economical push-to-connect fittings, such as Prestolok PLP metal fittings and Prestolok PLP composite fittings.
Fitting material type becomes important for applications that receive high heat or caustic washdowns, which could quickly compromise fitting integrity depending on the material.
Say the fittings will be installed throughout a dairy filling application where they will receive frequent and potentially caustic washdowns. In this case, Michael points out, all-stainless steel fittings are made to withstand these harsh conditions and keep processes leak-free and running. That’s in contrast to a tortilla chip packaging process, where the fittings might come in contact with foods, but don’t receive frequent caustic washdowns. Here, OEMs might choose Parker’s FDA-compliant PLM fittings. General industrial-purpose fittings, meanwhile, are likely to fit the bill for fittings mounted on automated box folding machines erecting outer packaging containers.
2. Select the fittings and tubing based on how they will be routed
Fittings come in many configurations that allow for effective routing of pneumatic connections. In many food packaging applications, OEMs mount valve manifolds and actuators on machines and then determine what fitting configurations will work best for connecting those ports. It is the last piece of the puzzle and where a design engineer decides to use, for example, an elbow fitting instead of straight or tee fitting. It’s all dependent on where the line is going to be installed in relation to the pneumatic components.
Routing questions also arise in situations calling for tubing to take a tight bend, leading machinery designers to weigh the benefits of using fittings instead of tubing to accommodate the turns. Often a complex decision, this can depend on the tubing material too, as using tubing with a high bend radius can allow for more turns, but also might put side-load on fittings.
If tubing is bent too close to the fitting, it could pull the tubing away from the fitting seal, creating the potential for a leak.
Another factor is the tubing diameter tolerance, or how much its outer diameter could vary from one manufacturing run to another. Tubing manufactured to a looser tolerance level could cause fit issues allowing fittings to leak or to blow off of tubing.
Parker tubing and fittings are tested and designed to work together. Parker Parflex tubing holds the tubing to a certain tolerance range, which helps in terms of fitting performance because tubing tolerance is so critical to working well with a push-to-connect fitting.
Customers should reference Parker’s Tubing Compatibility Chart (found in Parker Hannifin catalog 3501E) to be sure they choose the proper tubing for each fitting type.
3. Avoid unnecessary fitting connections
Finally, another problem area is extra fitting connections installed where they don’t belong. Every fitting is a potential leak point, so if the number of connections can be reduced so to can the chance of leaks. Each fitting in a pneumatic circuit also adds a flow restriction, as compressed air is forced to move through another orifice, which can hamper motive power.
One of the more common issues is using multiple fittings in place of one or two, as a way to adapt one fitting or tube type to another. It can happen when the OEM or end-user doesn’t have the proper fitting shape or type on hand to adapt to a certain thread system or port size required by the valve or cylinder. While the adaptation may function, it can also restrict airflow and add the potential for leakage.
OEMs can avoid the problem entirely by choosing the appropriate adapter. Parker offers hundreds of tube fittings and adaptors made to join different tube sizes and thread types, such as NPT to BSPT, BSPP or metric. Rather than trying to build a makeshift adapter out of two or three pneumatic fittings, using a single adapter fitting allows technicians or engineers to make the connection in one step, preventing unnecessary flow restrictions and reducing the risk of leakage.
With these suggestions, many connector issues like adapting to different sizes or standards, or accommodating system designs, need not lead to system slowdowns. With the right pneumatic fittings, adaptors and tubing materials, OEMs and end-users will be equipped to keep airlines flowing.
To learn more about specifying these components, locate a distributor near you.
This article was contributed by John Duba and Michael Nick, product sales managers, Parker Hannifin's Fluid System Connectors Division.
While this may look like any car ferry carrying people and vehicles in an estuary on the Norwegian coast, this 80-meter ship, called MV Ampere, had one of the world's first fully powered electric maritime architectures, with virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions and quiet operation for clean transportation.
Launched by Norled Shipping Company in 2015, Ampere represented the beginning of an important trend in hybridization and electrification in the marine industry. Since then, many forward-thinking operators of fishing boats such as trawler, fish farming boat, tugboat and steamer with cars have embraced the new wave represented by green energy and propulsion systems. Since these types of vessels spend most of their time working close to the shore, they are subject to strict legal regulations to reduce harmful air emissions.
World's first all-electric car and passenger ferry
Norwegian ferry the MV Ampere is the world's first all-electric car and passenger ferry, powered by two 450 kW electric motors with 10t lithium-ion batteries.
When one of the leading players in electrification needed an energy efficient cooling circuit for the ferry's racks of batteries, they reached out to Parker's High Pressure Connectors Europe (HPCE) Division in Annemasse, France. Their request was for an innovative solution that would be easy to install and test while offering low maintenance, leak-free and energy efficient performance.
"We proposed a solution with couplings that would not allow any fluid to leak out. We eliminated the tubing and the fittings so it's just couplings, manifold and the connection is done."
Liana Jaskot, product unit manager, Parker High Pressure Connectors Europe
Working directly with the partner's engineering experts, the Parker team developed a proprietary ready-to-use solution that reduced the overall number of components by almost 80%, reduced assembly time for the customer by approximately 90% and completely eliminated the risk of mixing connections and the need for testing.
Parker went from design to manufacture to implementation of the thermal management manifold connector in only six months. During just one year of operation, an electric ferry like the Ampere saves approximately one million liters of diesel fuel, 2,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 35 metric tons of nitrogen oxide emissions.
Historically, watercraft were heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Diesel electric ships used an internal combustion engine connected to an electric generator, while power was transferred to the propeller shaft via an AC inverter and electric motor. However, this traditional power and propulsion system began to develop in quite exciting ways. Advances in the field of hybridization and electrification have led to new architectures with some specific performance advantages, especially in the field of energy efficiency.
So what are the options for more environmentally friendly watercraft?
The architecture chosen largely depends on the type of work cycle of the ships concerned. However, there is one fixed factor, regardless of the final choice, ship operators are seeking ways to maximize the overall performance of the ship by achieving maximum energy efficiency in all systems on the ship. This is achieved by the seamless integration of power drive with other technologies, such as hydraulics, which are commonly used to manage steering systems and gearbox lubrication, and to power auxiliary systems such as spring ramps and drive ramps, whether they are serial hybrid, parallel hybrid or full electric.
Overcoming integration challenges There are several points to consider when integrating energy-saving hydraulic systems. For example, switching to battery-powered systems in maritime means that attention should be paid to how to optimize the amount of battery power to be installed. Heavy battery arrays are still very expensive and take up a lot of space on the ship. Therefore, the energy consumption of all built-in systems must be evaluated, up to the coffee machines on the ship.
First of all, traditional hydraulic power units on older stock diesel engine ships traditionally need oversized pumps and engines to provide performance when the system requires the highest duty cycle. However, since energy costs are an ever-increasing problem, and environmental regulations become more stringent, wasted energy and high CO2 emissions are becoming increasingly problematic in marine applications. This requires the transition to more efficient systems where power is adjusted to the needs of specific tasks.
As a result, new technologies such as drive-controlled pump systems offer a more synergistic approach, in which hydraulic power units, frequency drives, electric motors and hydraulic pumps are successfully integrated to meet every local load demand in a hydraulic system. Specifically, variable frequency drives provide the precise, variable pressure and flow required in the machine or at any point in the duty cycle by managing the working torque and speed of the electric motor. Drive control; It is guided using field-tested control algorithms designed to provide reliable, standardized and customizable hydraulic functions.
These technical challenges have encouraged traditional hydraulic component suppliers to keep up with the age and become motion control experts who can understand the complex connection between a range of electrohydraulic technologies and control systems. Our response as Parker was to combine hydraulic, pneumatic and electromechanical sections to create a special Motion Systems Group with technical expertise in maritime environments.
Electrification provides advantages in connection The trend towards energy efficiency in hybrid and electric watercraft has not stopped with the establishment of state-of-the-art modern motion systems such as drive-controlled pump solutions. With the advent of the Internet of Things, it is now possible to use versatile digital ecosystems in watercraft, which enable the electronic control hardware and software to be reliably connected to the cloud. This link provides many benefits by providing ship operators with real-time access to many (many) data parameters.
The digital integration implemented with the use of mobile IoT can provide valuable insights into the instantaneous state of the hydraulic equipment, which makes it possible to continuously monitor a number of variables such as engine revolutions, torque and other motion system parameters. The ability to share this data by assigning multi-tiered user types and permissions means maintenance is more predictable; this improves service time and supports more efficient work. As a result, mobile IoT brings a more cost-effective, energy-saving and environmentally friendly way of working as a groundbreaking element in marine environments.
Looking ahead, the widespread use of 5G wireless systems promises even higher connectivity levels, enabling much higher levels of data transmission with lower latency. This will likely result in a new IoT-enabled way of working in the maritime industry, especially in port logistics and route planning where energy will be used more efficiently.
Technologies such as 5G will also support increased use of automation on smarter ships of the future. Automating onboard operations is seen as a valuable way to save time and money while reducing the need for crew onboard will also reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. These days, most major maritime organizations are investing heavily in IoT / automation research, and ship autonomy has become a global trend.
It is clear that more environmentally friendly ways of working in maritime settings offer many opportunities for technical improvement. Boats such as trolleys and workboats are becoming more environmentally friendly and more efficient, which makes the maximum use of the power installed on the ship. Electrification also brings advanced connectivity possibilities, giving operators real-time information about the performance of basic equipment such as hydraulics. In short, greener ships are better ones, and this will benefit everyone.
This revolutionary vessel not only represents an early success in electrification for clean transportation within the marine industry, it is a huge opportunity in the fast growing thermal management market. It's a beacon of purpose—and what can happen when Parker partners with customers to apply its core technologies to make a positive impact on the world.
Written By: Jari Rantanen, Application Development Manager - Industrial Growth Team - Motion Systems Group Europe, Parker Hannifin
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In any compressed air system, properly treating the generated air prior to use is essential, but oftentimes picking the right air treatment equipment can be overwhelming. To select the right air treatment equipment, you first need to understand your application, environment and requirements. Knowing the system pressure, operating temperature, airflow, port sizes, etc will ensure you select the right air treatment equipment for the application. You also need to determine what class of air will be required. If the facility requires a more stringent ISO class of air, the quantity and sophistication of the air treatment equipment will change. As a general rule of thumb, always choose parts that have been thoroughly tested and designed to withstand the toughest operation, vibration and impact conditions.
Compressed air treatment
In a properly designed compressed air system, air treatment takes place in the compressor room (right after generation and before drying and right after drying) and at the point of use. Point of use air treatment units are commonly referred to as FRLs, which stands for Filter, Regulator and Lubricator. FRLs provide point of use filtration, management, and treatment for compressed air. In most applications, this point of use control is imperative for maintaining the health of your production equipment. Keep reading for an overview of the available types of FRLs.
Parker offers the following FRLs for use with a Transair aluminum piping compressed air system:
Keep in mind, that not every system will require all five of these FRLs, but EVERY system needs at least some basic level of filtration to prevent piping and/or machinery failure. As previously stated, knowing your application and requirements will determine the appropriate mix of Filters, regulators, and lubricators.
A particulate filter will remove solid particles, as well as bulk liquids. These types of filters are ideal for removing pipe scale, rust, pipe dope and other solid particles or debris that may break free upstream and travel downstream to the point where the filter is installed. All generated compressed air should pass through a dryer being used, but a particulate filter can provide extra protection from water and oil entering the machinery. Particulate filters are designed to capture particles down to 5 microns. For a size comparison, a human red blood cell is 8 microns. When installing filters, particulate filters can be used as stand-alone elements, or as a pre-filter for coalescing filters.Coalescing filters
A coalescing filter will remove liquid aerosols as well as sub-micron particles. The main goal of a coalescing filter is to remove 99.9% of the water and oil aerosols that might be present in the compressed air system. This filter will not remove vapors, only liquid aerosols and sub-microns particles. The filter element in a coalescing filter removes particles down to 0.01 microns. For a size comparison, the average bacteria cell is 2 microns! Due to the sensitivity of the filter element, a coalescing filter should never be used on its own, For proper filtration, a particulate filter should be used a pre-filter to a coalescing filter.
A pressure regulator controls the outlet pressure at the desired location in a compressed air system. The pressure is controlled by dialing in the desired pressure then an internal control spring will either raise or lower the flow of air which then raises or lowers the pressure in the pipe. Regulators are used in applications where the pressure needs to be heavily controlled for energy conservations, personal safety, or process control. A pressure regulator can also be used to transform a volatile supply of air into a controlled, constant supply.
A filter / regulator combines the functions of a pressure regulator with a particulate filter. This combined unit is ideal for installations with space constraints that require filters, controlled compressed air. This combination unit uses the same 5 micron filter element found in Parker's stand-alone particulate filters. This unit does not compromise performance for its compact footprint.
A lubricator provides a fine mist of lubrication oil for downstream applications. Lubricators can be set to deliver just the right amount of oil to lubricate pneumatic tools, air motors, and other pneumatic equipment while avoiding flooding the system with oil mist. A lubricator should only be used for applications that require trace amounts of oil in the compressed air system. These unit should be installed after the filters and close to the point of use to ensure the oil mist reaches its desired location.
The Parker advantage
Parker offers a complete line of air preparation (FRL) options for use with our Transair aluminum piping for compressed air systems. Transair offers stand-alone units such as filters, regulators, lubricators, filter/regulators as well as two or three piece combination units. Our combination units combine a filter/regulator and lubricator (two-piece) or a filter, regulator, and lubricator (three-piece). The choice between our combination units depends on space constraints and personal preference. For more information on Transair aluminum piping and our FRL offering, please visit www.parker.com/transair.
This post was contributed by Jim Tuma, marketing services manager, Parker Fluid System Connectors Division.