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As the case is across many sectors, electronics systems are the primary drivers of innovation in today‘s agricultural industry. However, those working in this sector may have noticed that any major strides forward in past years have been somewhat hampered by a lack of compatibility between proprietary solutions from different manufacturers.
Fortunately, more recent solutions have been based on ISOBUS, bringing significant benefits to end applications and their users. And now, with the latest technology, combining HMI solutions for both ISOBUS functions and other tractor HMIs are leading to the possibility of just one, convenient, cost-effective and efficient interface for the operator.
A modern ISOBUS system comprises a multitude of components, including the tractor, terminal and implement. Taking this concept a step further, an industry first from Parker’s perspective, the ISOBUS Suite Apps enable the integration of ISOBUS functionalities into the machine HMI (Human Machine Interface), via the app-based Pro Display product family.
Using the apps, ISOBUS functions can be shown on the screen. Since the display offers full flexibility and can show comprehensive information – including machine data, notifications, camera monitors, PDFs and more – no separate ISOBUS display is required.
Farmers have been forced to toil with tractors, implements and machines from various manufacturers on a daily basis. The variety of proprietary solutions meant that many systems did not engage seamlessly or even at all. This disunity saw each implement and tractor requiring an individual terminal to allow data exchange and machine control – a situation that was far from ideal.
Systems based on ISOBUS and utilising tools such as Parker’s ISOBUS Suite apps are driving a shift in the agricultural landscape, making it possible to achieve higher levels of productivity with less operator fatigue.
Using these latest electronic systems, operators can now control and monitor practically every stage of the agricultural process, including tilling the soil, planting seeds, irrigating the land, cultivating crops, protecting them from pests and weeds, harvesting, threshing grain, feeding livestock, and sorting and packaging the products.
In its basic form, the technology facilitating this capability is ISOBUS, an international communications protocol for the agricultural sector that offers plug-and-play functionality and – importantly – only one terminal for a large selection of implements, regardless of the manufacturer. Sounds a lot easier already. Put simply, ISOBUS standardises control settings, reduces downtime and minimises installation and interface problems.
Crucially here, a standardised plug makes it remarkably easy to connect different components, while costs are reduced because it is only necessary to buy a single terminal. Who doesn’t like cost savings? A further benefit of ISOBUS is that it improves operating efficiency and optimises timings, as data can be exchanged between the farm PC and the terminal. With ISOBUS, life on the farm is certainly a whole lot easier; but it could even better.
By utilising Parker’s UX Toolkit – an apps-based software development environment that can be used to develop HMI products for mobile machines and vehicles – and the split-screen functionality, manufacturers can display further machine data and camera monitors right next to the ISOBUS information.
Machine manufacturers can expand the functionality of a device with ease. HMI apps offer an advantage when trying to make mobile machines more efficient, when guaranteeing flexibility in terms of expanding functionalities, and when simplifying processes in the driver’s cab. Less downtime is achieved via diagnostics apps for service code protocols, data capturing and analysis, GPS tracking and geo-fencing, as well as by apps that enable mobile phone hands-free functionality, driver logbooks and operating behaviour tracking.
The UX Toolkit, together with the Pro Display family, also supports functions such as automatic steering, self-levelling suspension and weighing. In addition, the robust displays with capacitive touchscreens are equipped with multiple communications and infotainment interfaces. In short, an apps-based future looks set to enhance the agriculture industry in ways never before imagined.
Learn more about Parker's ISOBUS Suite apps and Pro Display.
Tommi Forsman, principal engineer, Parker Hannifin, Electronic Controls Division
Modern Digital Ecosystems Take Mobile Hydraulic Systems to a New Level
How Does a Smart User Interface Improve Machine Efficiency?
9 Jan 2019
Hoover Dam -- one of the most impressive engineering feats of the 20th century – generates hydroelectricity for millions of homes and businesses across the Southwest, and it’s a constant challenge to keep the vital power source running smoothly. Recently, a team of innovative engineering experts wrapped up a massive multi-year retrofitting and refurbishing project to make the dam safer and more operationally efficient.
The challenge was to overhaul and upgrade a series of 50-foot-tall pressure-relief valves on turbines in the dam’s powerhouse and to convert them to a hydraulic control system. The contract for the project was awarded to Precision Machine & Supply, Inc., (a division of Andritz Hydro), which had been working with Hoover Dam since the 1990s.
“Because of the sheer complexity and logistics involved, this has been the most challenging thing I've ever done. It was complicated to get the old equipment out and put the new equipment in, especially with all the restrictions operating in a concrete structure at the bottom of Hoover Dam.”
Dan Wenstrom, president, Precision Machine & Supply, Inc.
Subcontractors for the complex assignment included Parker Hannifin (led by Greg Paddock, hydraulic territory manager; Regional Manager Steve Camp; and Jeff Sage, product manager for Parker’s Accumulator and Cooler Division) and Controlled Motion Solutions, Inc., (Comoso). The Comoso team was led by Joe Oloffo, Southwest regional manager / systems integrator; Director of Engineering Matt Schoenbachler; and Jeff Geyer, fluid systems manager.
Parker was tasked with designing and manufacturing a series of compressed-gas accumulators, and Comoso was responsible for providing engineering and sourcing the hydraulic components.
Hoover Dam is often called one of the modern wonders of the world. Standing over 700 feet tall and containing more than 3,250,000 cubic yards of concrete, the magnificent structure spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona, forming the 247-square mile Lake Mead reservoir behind it.
The dam generates more than 4 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year by taking diverted river water from the lake, under extremely high pressure, and channeling it into giant turbines at its base. The water to drive the turbines is fed by gravity through a series of large pipes called penstocks, which narrow (from 30 feet to 13 feet) as they descend to increase the pressure on the water being forced through. When the incoming water reaches this point, its pressure is 250 psi.
At the bottom of the penstocks, the water then enters the turbine through large steel wicket gates, each over six feet tall and weighing 1,500 pounds. The gates work like Venetian blinds, opening and closing to control the volume of water going into the turbine. As water rushes through the wicket gates, it passes over blades that spin the turbine and drive a rotor inside a generator, which then creates a magnetic field to produce electricity.
Hoover Dam has 17 turbines, each weighing about 700 tons, with generator shafts rotating at 180 rpm. While a turbine is spinning, energy is constantly being created and fed through power lines. However, if there is a sudden break or fault in the line – also called a load rejection – the turbine needs to stop as quickly as possible.
When a rejection takes down a primary line – which can be caused by a lightning strike or actual physical damage to a transmission wire -- there’s no place for that newly generated electricity to go. If that happens, the spinning turbine tends to overspeed, which can cause serious damage to the mechanism. Therefore, the water driving it has to be immediately shut off at the gates and simultaneously diverted around the turbine. However, that necessity comes with problems of its own.
First, if the high-pressure water flow is stopped too abruptly, it results in a powerful “water hammer” effect when the backed-up pressure suddenly and violently slams into an obstruction. (Imagine trying to bring a fast-moving train to an immediate stop.) The water delivery system at Hoover Dam contains kinetic energy to reduce the life of the penstocks.
To avert the dangers of those sudden load rejections, the original designers of Hoover Dam installed large pressure-relief valves (PRVs) which could quickly reroute incoming water to bypass the turbines, thereby taking the generators offline. The first PRVs utilized water head pressure to drive large pistons to close tulip valves.
In recent years, though, questions arose about the original PRVs’ functional consistency and ability to protect the aging water lines. Installation of the turbines at the dam began in 1936, so the equipment and infrastructure inside the power plant were naturally affected by time and use.
“The turbines and all their plumbing are vintage – 80 years old in some cases – with a lot of wear and tear on them. So the Hoover people were very concerned about pressure spikes and the resulting negative impact they could have on the equipment.”
Greg Paddock, territory manager, Parker Hydraulics
“Over the years, those pressure-relief valves became corroded, agreed Wenstrom. "Also, the original valves were mechanically actuated and water-operated, because that's all the technology they had in the 1930s.”
Aware of the critical need to optimize the reliable performance of the older pressure-relief valves, the operations team at Hoover Dam launched a long-term project to upgrade them. The main objective was to make the PRVs more responsive and functionally efficient when a power line break would necessitate a generator shutdown.
The initial plan called for overhauling the existing valves by taking them apart and restoring worn components to like-new condition. The scope of the challenge – plus the restriction of not being able to shut down multiple turbines at the same time – meant the work would inevitably require many years to complete. Hoover’s plant personnel and Precision Machine began the first remedial work on the valves in 1998 and 1999.
While that work was underway, Wenstrom came up with a unique design concept to standardize operation of the PRVs and make them digitally controlled. The dam’s original generating equipment was built by various manufacturers and installed over a long span of years, so it was far from consistent. There are five separate turbine designs in operation at Hoover Dam. Even units built by the same manufacturer several years apart had differences.
“We showed Hoover a design that would make the units fully compatible with their existing electronic control system that operated and controlled the generators. We proposed converting all PRVs to be operated in the same way and all controlled by hydraulic cylinders.”
Dan Wenstrom, president, Precision Machine & Supply, Inc.
The decision was made to go with hydraulic-driven pressure-relief valves which could provide very precise control and extremely fast response. The system would also reduce the number of false pressure relief valve operations that often occurred with the old mechanically operated PRVs. Wenstrom brought in Comoso to engineer and supply the hydraulic power unit and manifold that mounted to the hydraulic cylinder.
The hydraulic controls also required accumulators for energy back-up. Parker's Accumulator and Cooler Division -- a world leader in the development of customized accumulator applications -- was given the assignment to design the best units for Hoover Dam’s unprecedented requirements. Working closely with Comoso and Precision, Parker was able to implement an ideal, cost-effective solution. An accumulator enables a hydraulic system to respond quickly to a temporary demand, using a less powerful pump.
“Think of the accumulators as very large batteries with high levels of energy to operate the PRVs. The accumulator stores hydraulic energy until it’s needed for immediate use.”
Jeff Sage, product manager, Accumulator and Cooler Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation
Supplemental power from the accumulators is necessary because of how Hoover’s hydroelectric equipment is configured. Ironically, available electricity is very limited inside the huge power-generating facility.
“Where the PRVs are located in the dam, there isn’t much access to electrical power, said Camp. "The dam puts out 185,000 horsepower per turbine, but we only had the equivalent of ten horsepower in the area where we worked.”
The power that's available inside the dam itself comes from two smaller separate generators called “house units” in the powerhouse. The little units simply wouldn't have the energy capacity to operate multiple high-pressure, high-horsepower hydraulic oil pumps to drive the cylinder when a PRV trips.
“The accumulators instantaneously allow 750 to 900 horsepower, so we have the energy we need at the drop of a hat to operate the valves. It opens the bypass very quickly.”
Steve Camp, regional manager, Parker Hannifin Corporation
Each pressure-relief valve at Hoover Dam now utilizes one compressed gas piston accumulator with pressurized oil (180 gallons under 2,750 psi) and two large nitrogen-gas bottles. The accumulators have a 20” bore and an outside diameter of 23 5/8”. They’re 200" long and have a dry weight of 8,653 lbs. A total of seventeen accumulators and thirty-four nitrogen gas bottles have been installed.
“It was a huge challenge, and not many manufacturers can build accumulators of this size,” Paddock noted, “but Parker Hannifin was up to the task.”
“As the upgraded PRVs are designed, we now get shaft movement typically within less than a tenth of a second after the signal is received that the generator is going into emergency shutdown,” said Paddock. “As quickly as the (water intake) gates are closing, the PRV has to open to bypass the same amount of water that was otherwise going through the turbine. That’s within ten seconds. And then the most critical aspect of it is once the PRV is fully open, it has to slowly reclose so that no water hammer is created.”
With the installation of each new pressure-release valve, a commissioning team – including representatives from Hoover Dam, Precision Machine, Comoso, and Parker Hannifin – conducts a very detailed testing process.
“To do the commissioning, we bring the generator up to speed and then trip it to simulate an emergency shutdown, Wenstrom explained. "Recording devices with transducers on the turbine side and the PRV side precisely measure the hydraulic pressures, the strokes, and the time it takes the cylinder to respond to the emergency closure signal. Then we measure the amount of time it takes the pressure-relief valve to open and to reclose. The whole idea is that these PRVs have to open very quickly, as soon as the wicket-gate starts to close, to avoid a water hammer.”
In addition to dramatically improving the functionality and reliability of the PRVs, the hydraulically driven system provides a solution to a new problem at Hoover Dam: Quagga mussels.
An invasive species of Quagga mussels had made its way into the Colorado River and Lake Mead, and by 2009 the mussels actually started plugging up water passageways in the dam’s control valve system. They clog PRVs by clinging to the rods that open and close the valves, and in some cases even prevented them from opening.
“Dan’s design to modernize the PRVs ensured they would operate regardless of any fouling factors such as the Quagga mussels,” said Paddock. “The hydraulic-driven PRV could basically just plow through any obstruction in its path, by brute force. The impetus of the conversion to the hydraulic design wasn't the mussels, but it turned out to be a great secondary benefit.”
The entire process of upgrading the pressure-relief valves and associated equipment has been an extraordinary team effort representing a lot of combined brainpower. Ultimately taking twenty years from start to finish, the scope and uniqueness of the project seem appropriate for such a magnificent historic facility.
“There are many long-term benefits to this whole project, from operational efficiency to safety and more,” said Paddock. “Parker is grateful to have been part of it.”
Article contributed by Parker Hannifin led by Greg Paddock, hydraulic territory manager; Steve Camp, regional manager; and Jeff Sage, product manager, Accumulator and Cooler Division.
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7 Jan 2019
A massive engineering and design collaboration have brought the vision of world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls to life in Lakeland, Florida. The new Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building at Florida Polytechnic University will serve as the central building for the campus of Florida’s newest state institution, dedicated to a curriculum of science, technology, engineering, and math. It houses classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, common areas and a number of cutting-edge laboratories; including a Supercomputer and Student Data Center, a Visualization and Technology Collaboration Lab, and a Rapid Application Development Makerspace Lab with 3D printing capabilities. The $60 million, two-story building also includes a system of 94 louvered arms that raise and lower to track the sun above a glass roof.
Each louver is manipulated by a Parker Series 2HB Mill-Type hydraulic cylinder. The custom application required five different sized cylinders, with larger cylinders for the longer louvers at the center of the roof and smaller cylinders for the shorter louvers at the ends.
“We are pleased to have supported this highly customized cylinder application with full integration capabilities and precise engineering,”
Tad Brown, cylinder application engineer, Parker Hannifin Cylinder Division
Specified by Parker distributor Atlantic Hydraulic Systems, based in Shirley, N.Y., each cylinder was assembled with integrated cartridge valves on a manifold, which was bolted to the cap and plumbed to the head end of the cylinder. Further, a spherical rod eye was installed at the rod end, and the entire cylinder was painted to match the remainder of the structure. This full integration, along with special pressure decay testing, was all accomplished within Parker’s Cylinder Division in Goodland, Indiana.
The cylinders act independently from one another and can manipulate the louvers to provide shade and artistic motion. The louvers were designed to eventually accommodate a system of photovoltaic tape to generate power for the campus. Each louver arm is engineered with the capability of a maximum upright position of 65 degrees above the horizontal plane and a maximum lowered position of 48 degrees below the horizontal plane. Traveling the full 113-degree distance takes about 10 minutes.
Construction of the 162,000 square foot IST building took 28 months and was completed by Skanska USA. Headquartered in New York, Skanska USA is one of the largest construction and development companies in the country with expertise in construction, civil infrastructure, public-private partnerships and commercial development initiatives in select U.S. markets. Florida Polytechnic welcomed students for the inaugural day of classes on August 25, 2014. The University offers six undergraduate degree programs with 19 unique areas of concentration and two masters degree programs in the College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology.
The 2HB cylinder design in long-stroke industrial applications is an engineering breakthrough that is expected to extend service life, reduce downtime, increase throughput and ultimately increase the profitability of industries requiring stroke lengths over five feet. For OEMs incorporating cylinders into heavy-duty industrial equipment and machines or into apparatus where design aesthetics are important, the 2HB Series of non-tie-rod cylinders offer several differentiating benefits for competitive advantage.
Learn more about the benefits of non-tie-rod hydraulic cylinders and how they can improve performance in your heavy-duty, long-stroke industrial applications - download our Long-Stroke Industrial Cylinder Performance white paper.
For more information on the award-winning IST building and the new Florida Polytechnic University, visit their website.
Article contributed by Bruce Kohlmeyer, engineer manager, Parker Cylinder Division.
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12 Dec 2018
Industrial OEMs and end users rely on traditional tie-rod cylinders to deliver power to industrial presses, mills, foundries, power generation, oil and gas exploration and other extreme, heavy duty applications.
As the workhorse of the industrial cylinder market, tie-rod cylinders perform reliably and offer tremendous flexibility including several mounting options, cushions, position feedback, etc. However, tie-rod cylinders do have some limitations, particularly in longer strokes. Serviceability can be a concern, due to the added complexities of assembling and torquing long tie rods. And for some design-sensitive applications, the visible tie-rod profile can be aesthetically disruptive.
For operations where such concerns are an issue, the introduction of a new class of heavy-duty, non-tie-rod cylinders will be welcome news.
For applications with longer strokes, our 2HB and 3HB non-tie rod cylinders offer reduced complexity and weight versus comparable tie-rod cylinders. Parker’s 2HB and 3HB Series of cylinders are available in 1½" to 14" bores sizes and are dimensionally interchangeable with their tie-rod counterparts, since they adhere to the same industry standard - ANSI/(NFPA) T3.6.7R3 – 2009.
Tie-rods are eliminated through an innovative design which utilizes flanges threaded onto both ends of the cylinder body. The head and cap are bolted to the threaded body flanges with SHCS’s with a small gap between. That gap allows for the head & cap to be preloaded against the end of the cylinder body when the SHCS’s are torqued.
The resulting configuration presents a cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing design. Perhaps most importantly, 2HB and 3HB cylinders enable industrial users to achieve current levels of performance while eliminating tie-rod-related fatigue and maintenance concerns. These non-tie-rod cylinders meet NFPA fatigue tests for reliable performance using standard, field-proven components. They are built to a design safety factor of 4:1 on burst.
To learn more about the benefits of using non-tie rod cylinders for your long stroke industrial applications, download our Long-Stroke Industrial Cylinder Performance white paper.
Improving hydraulic cylinder performance in long-stroke applications is a challenge for industrial OEMs and operators alike. For their heavy-duty industrial applications, replacing traditional tie-rod hydraulic cylinders with non-tie cylinders can extend service life, reduce downtime, increase throughput and ultimately increase the profitability of applications requiring stroke lengths over five feet. For OEMs incorporating cylinders into heavy-duty industrial equipment and machines or into apparatus where design aesthetics are important, non-tie-rod cylinders offer several differentiating benefits for competitive advantage.
Tie-rod cylinders will remain the workhorse of the industrial world, but for those applications demanding long-stroke performance, there is now a viable alternative capable of meeting the high-performance expectations of extreme-duty environments.
To learn more about using non-tie rod cylinders for your long stroke industrial applications, including a university architectural application case study, download our Long-Stroke Industrial Cylinder Performance white paper.
Essential Factors for Selecting Hydraulic Cylinders for Tough Operating Environments in Aluminium Processing
7 Dec 2018
Check valves are commonly applied to a variety of load holding applications that are found, for example, in mobile equipment in mining, construction, or forestry. Typical thread in cartridge style check valves are large and mount to the surface of a manifold block. This surface mounting adds to the complexity and cost because of the additional machining or drilling of internal passages required to integrate the valve into the circuit. The compact design of Parker’s new thread-in cartridge valve is an ideal solution because it allows for an internal mount.
The CVH021 can be compact in nature because of its application; used in circuits to isolate pressure signals to flow compensators and load sense lines for pumps. Load sensing is a common methodology used for pump control on many multifunctioning hydraulic circuits that use a variable displacement pump. In load sensing circuits with two or more functions, it is important to use check valves to isolate the signal from each function. This ensures that the pump control is receiving the highest pressure signal in the circuit while multiple functions are being used at the same time. (The pump control receiving the highest pressure means the pump output is increased to meet the demand of the highest demand function).
When used as a pressure sensing isolation check valve, the need for zero leakage and flow rates over 4 LPM (1 GPM) are not required. Standard check valves are available in a C8-2 or C10-2 cavity configuration but these are large and costly, given the number of check valves needed. The cavity can also restrict the placement within a manifold. The schematic above shows an example circuit where isolation checks are used.
As with cast iron sectional valves, a common practice to reduce cost and save space was to drill the check valve seat into the manifold then drop in a ball, spring and port plug. While simple in design and function, these types of check valves are not durable, as neither aluminum or cast iron manifold material hold up to the cycling with flow and pressure impacting the ball onto the seat. Further complications arise for service since it can be difficult to change out in the field with loose springs and balls. If the seat is damaged, there is no service possible and the entire manifold would then need to be replaced.
When used as an isolation check valve, the CVH021 provides a good solution. It incorporates the seat and ball in a single cartridge that fits an SAE 2-style port that can be machined in the manifold to be part of the port connections between valves, without the need to be a surface mounted cavity valve. The heat treated seat and ball bearing provide a durable, high cycle design that allows for simple service if needed.
Parker Isolation Check Valves are available from the Hydraulic Cartridge Systems Division. Consult your HCS catalog or www.parker.com/hcs for more information. You can also contact a Product Manager or Technical Support Specialist for help at 847-955-5000 or HCSTechnical@parker.com.
Article contributed by Bill Guse, senior principal engineer, Hydraulic Cartridge Systems Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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3 Dec 2018
Simplifying user interface and machine system design requires expertise and products. Often machines require a simple, cost effective weight measurement system to improve loading or processing of materials.
The ability to measure the weight of a container or packager in applications such as material handling or fruit harvesting is important to both optimize and measure productivity. If a wheel loader operator can measure the weight of each load in real time and calculate a cumulative weight, it helps measure productivity. Determining the weight of a material transferred helps minimize the number of truck loads required. In harvesting, the real-time measurement of the load of each container can increase productivity by making sure each load is filled, without being overweight. As a matter of fact, highlighting errors and overweight conditions help increase productivity and machine up-time. Icon images and text messages dynamically shown on the screen are extremely helpful for improved operator feedback as well as to clarify error codes and messages.
The PHD line of touch screen displays provides this functionality when coupled with pressure transducers. PHD based load weight measuring systems provide a unique solution to customers who are seeking a cost effective, basic load weight measuring system. The PHD28 offers more capabilities than standard number displays through dynamic screens that show the operator error and system fault messages, over weight conditions, color coded icons, messages and multi-lingual capabilities. These features help improve operator productivity as well as increased up time through faster, clearer diagnostic messages. In addition, the onboard CAN communication allows the PHD to interface with other devices to help automate loading and weighing processes for even better machine productivity. PHD28 is available as a standalone or as part of an integrated solution.
The PHD28 has a dynamic screen that changes based on the weight and system condition as well as including an operator interface. In addition, it has built in processing power to perform the basic calculations to measure the weight, check the pressure sensor inputs for faults, rescale values in metric or imperial or even change the font size and icons on the screen. System productivity can be improved since the screen can change dynamically, based on weight, system faults or user errors to highlight conditions that could slow down or stop the weighing process. With its compact, 2.8-inch size, it suits many consoles and dashboards without compromising valuable space.
In this example, two pressure sensors read the pressure on both the rod and piston side of a hydraulic cylinder while checking the inputs values and scaling the readings. The PHD28 has the processing power to calculate the corresponding force of the cylinder based on the cylinder dimensions while the weight of the container can be calculated as well. In addition, it can be used as the operator interface to perform the tare calculations, store the value and then compute the weight of the payload. The PHD28 offers the functionality of the weight display, operator input device and the system information center in one unit to help reduce costs and save dashboard real estate.
Learn more about our electronic solutions or contact an engineer (link to contact us form on web site).
Article contributed by John P. Thomas, regional application engineer, Electronic Controls Division, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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