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When combined, they ask the following question: How can we improve our customer experience whilst increasing capacity on the network and at the same time reducing both our carbon footprint and the cost of running the railway?
There are obviously many things that can affect component weight. Size, shape and material are all key, but production method can also be vital in producing the optimum form.
Just consider the ability of additive manufacturing to produce components without traditional problems, such as shape and form restraints, or material waste produced by machining. The resulting components can be complex forms that maximise material thickness; this gives us engineered solutions that are both mechanically sound yet of lighter weight, and all in a shape or form to fit and integrate into the interfaces.
Reducing equipment weight alone may not affect the space envelope required; however, some gains can usually be made. It is worth weighing up the cost of aiming for using less space against the cost of developing the equipment to fit.
Learn more about Parker solutions for rail at this transportation website, or contact our dedicated transportation team to discuss your particular rail application performance, cost, weight and space requirements.
Article contributed by Dave Walker, market development manager for Rail, Motion Systems Group, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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For applications with space limitations or size restrictions, integrating a standard linear actuator to achieve the required force / thrust can sometimes be a challenge. However, utilising specialist constructions of linear actuators, such as Tandem and Duplex cylinders can provide a solution.
When designing for a pneumatic application, there are times when size restrictions can limit the space available for the installation of the required linear actuator. This can potentially limit the maximum force (thrust) available, as this is relative to the air pressure working on the piston area governed by the cylinder bore size.
One method to overcome this issue is to install a Tandem cylinder, as a smaller bore size can be used to generate a greater force ratio.
Tandem cylinders are 2 double acting cylinders, of the same bore size and stroke length, assembled in series to share a common piston rod.
Air is provided to the ports of each cylinder and, because this acts on both pistons, they produce nearly double the force (thrust) of a single cylinder.
This can be an advantage when space is restricted, as a smaller bore size can be used but does have the disadvantage of producing a longer cylinder relative to stroke length.
Duplex arrangements provide intermediate positioning options that are not possible with a single pneumatic cylinder. When connected back to back as a single unit, Duplex cylinders can double the available force where space is limited.
Typically, a pneumatic rod type cylinder provides 2 static positions of operation – fully retracted and fully extended, with the distance being governed by the cylinder stroke length.
Being pneumatically operated means the cylinder cannot be stopped mid-stroke to a predetermined position.
However, if required, pneumatic cylinders can achieve 3 or 4 positions. Duplex cylinders are constructed by using 2 double acting cylinders arranged back to back with separate piston rods, connected by common tie rods or a flange mounted back to back mounting.
Two cylinders installed back to back with the same stroke give a 3 position cylinder with a symmetrical centre position. Whereas different strokes give a 4 position cylinder where the two central positions can be calculated from different stroke lengths.
For a 4 position cylinder (cylinders with differing stroke lengths):
Position 1: Both cylinders A and B are in the retracted stroke positions.
Position 2: Cylinder A is in the extended stroke position and cylinder B remains in the retracted stroke position.
Position 3: Both cylinders A and B are in the extended stroke position.
Position 4: Cylinder A is in the retracted stroke position and cylinder B is in the extended stroke position.
The challenges for pneumatic cylinders are as numerous as the sectors in which they are needed to operate. Downtime costs money and lost production must be avoided for anything other than routine maintenance. Hence careful selection based on operating requirements and prevailing environmental factors must be given proper attention from the outset.
Compare features of Parker pneumatic cylinders to find the best one for your application environment.
Article contributed by Kevin Hill, product manager for Actuators, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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Parker offers a large selection of dryers, filters, lubricators, regulators and combination units. Full-featured filters, regulators, filter/regulators, and lubricators are available with a wide range of standard options to meet your air preparation needs. Our clean air systems make it easy for companies to protect equipment, reduce downtime and maintenance costs and maximize compressed air solutions.
Article contributed by Hermann Storck, product manager for air preparation, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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Parker offers a large selection of dryers, filters, lubricators, regulators and combination units. Full featured filters, regulators, filter/regulators and lubricators are available with a wide range of standard options to meet your air preparation needs. Our clean air systems make it easy for companies to protect equipment, reduce downtime and maintenance costs and maximize compressed air solutions.
Having a steady supply of clean and dry air is a requirement for protecting pneumatic components and ensuring their proper operation.
For applications such as clamping, positioning, pushing and lifting, having good quality air flow for the required pressure is essential and must be designed into the system.
Compressed air often flows from the plant to the machine, passing through multiple devices, pipes and fittings along the way, that can add particulates, oil and moisture.
Preparing the air before it is used will help to ensure your machine gets the best possible protection and a better possible service life.
Compressed air filters should receive the supply air first and are necessary to reduce contaminates and moisture in the compressed air at the machine.
They are available in different sizes depending on the needs of your application, standard filters remove particulates around 40 µm while fine filters are available to remove particulates down to 5 µm or less, such as Parker's 14F miniature particulate filter.
Process instrumentation or high-speed pneumatic tools will require a finer particle filtration, along with food and pharmaceutical applications.
Filters require preventative maintenance to ensure they maintain optimum efficiency and filter effectively. The key area of maintenance for filters is taking care of the filter-bowl.
All the collected pollutants from the air will fill the bowl so you need to control the level either with a manul drain, a semi-automatic drain or ideally with an automatic drain. Also, the filter element should be controlled from time to time, for Coalescing Filters a PDI (pressure drop indicator) is used to see the rate of contamination.
After the air has been through the filter, a pressure regulator will take that clean, dry air and control the pressure downstream.
They are operated by turning a valve to determine the pressure – turning it clockwise will allow greater pressure to pass.
Air preparation best practice dictates that a regulator should only be used to regulate downstream pressure. For on/off functionality, or to control the flow of air into your system, a single on/off valve are recommended.
Combination filter regulator units have all the capabilities of the separate filters and regulators combined into a single unit. This design will save significant pneumatic panel space and also save on cost.
A lubricator should be added to a system to provide downstream pneumatic components with a constant supply of oil lubrication by introducing a small amount of oil to the compressed air stream.
The oil will be dissolved and transported by the airstream to the point of use, in the form of fog. This technology is important to guarantee the best lubrication of your components, keeping your machine operating at maximum efficiency.
Lubricators are available in a variety of port sizes to match other air preparation components. They often use an adjustable visual indicator to measure the amount of oil downstream and have an oil reservoir bowl that can be monitored to ensure a constant supply. The bowls are also available in several sizes to store more oil as needed.
Today’s pneumatic devices sometimes don’t require lubrication but high-speed pneumatic power tools often do. Some are pre-lubricated and don’t require it.
A typical air preparation system includes filters, regulators and lubricators (sometimes called FRL systems).
Choose from a range of high performance and efficient Parker Air Preparation products for your application needs. Parker offers a large selection of dryers, filters, lubricators, regulators and combination units, available with a wide range of standard options to meet your air preparation needs.
Article contributed by Hermann Stoerk, product manager air preparation, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
Know Your Pneumatics: Hints & Tips For Specifying Linear Actuators
10 Oct 2017
The most popular style of pneumatic actuator consists of a piston and rod moving inside a closed cylinder, designed to move in a straight line to deliver linear motion. This style of linear actuator is utilized in a variety of industrial sectors, factory automation and packaging, plus transportation and life science applications.
When looking to specify linear actuators there are two types of operating principle: single acting and double acting. We will explore these variations, typical applications plus advantages and disadvantages.
A single acting cylinder is one where the thrust or output force is developed in only one direction.
The piston is returned by a fitted spring, or by some other external means such as a weight, mechanical movement, gravity or an external spring. They have a single port to allow compressed air to enter the cylinder to move the piston to the desired position.
There are two types of single acting cylinder:
Single acting cylinders, such as Parker's P1P Series, are typically used for applications where work is done only in one direction, such as clamping, positioning, marking, stroking and light assembly operations.
A double acting pneumatic cylinder is one where the thrust, or output force, is developed in both extending and retracting directions. Double acting cylinders have a port at each end and move the piston forward and back by alternating the port that receives the high-pressure air, necessary when a load must be moved in both directions such as opening and closing a gate.
Air pressure is applied alternatively to the opposite ends of the piston. Application of air pressure produces a thrust in the positive (push) stroke, and a thrust in the negative (pull) stroke.
Double acting cylinders are typically used in all applications where the thrusts and stroke lengths required are in excess of those available from single acting cylinders. Small double acting cylinders are also used for applications where positive end-of-stroke positions are required for both strokes.
Double acting cylinders, such as Parker's P1D Series, are the most widely used of all designs of linear actuators. They account for approximately 95% of all cylinders used in pneumatic control circuits.
Discover the 6 steps to specifying linear actuators in our blog Know Your Pneumatics: Specifying Linear Actuators.
Article contributed by Kevin Hill, European product manager pneumatic actuators, Pneumatic Division Europe, Parker Hannifin Corporation.
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