There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electric motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.
Protolabs Opens New Metal 3D Printing Facility
Protolabs, a manufacturer of custom prototypes and on-demand production parts offering 3D printing, CNC machining and other capabilities, held a grand opening for its new metal 3D printing facility on Oct. 6 – coinciding with Manufacturing Day 2023.
The new 120,000 sq. ft. facility will help the company meet growing demand for metal 3D printing. The expanded capacity provided by the facility, located in Morisville, NC, will also ensure on-time delivery to customers is maintained and more post-processing can be completed.
Six different metal materials are available with Protolabs' 3D printing services, including stainless steel and aluminum. This enables customers to create engineering-grade prototypes and production parts. The company also offers large-format metal 3D printing for production-grade parts as large as 31.5 x 15.7 x 19.7 in. (800 x 400 x 500 mm), equivalent to the size of watermelon it said in its announcement about the opening of the new facility.
Hydraulex Providing Hydraulic Components and Support for Hitachi Machinery
Hydraulex – a provider of new, remanufactured and repair options for all major hydraulic component manufacturers – announces the addition of product offerings and repair support for Hitachi EX1900 Excavator/Backhoe machines.
The company said this new offering will help to expand its work in the large excavator market as well as better serve existing customers with these machine types in their fleet. Hydraulic main pumps, fan pumps, swing motors, travel motors, hydraulic cylinders, and main control valves will be among the products offered and supported.
“We are excited to increase our maintenance programs for the large excavator market. The EX1900 will allow us to offer the complete package to quarries and large construction markets we currently offer our pump and motor solutions to,” said Ken Best, Senior Director of Sales, Hydraulics, in the company's press release announcing the new offering.
igus Adds New Functions to Online CNC Parts Service
In 2020, igus introduced its online CNC service which made it possible for customers to quickly order parts. With igus online CNC Service 2.0, the company is making order processing even faster and more convenient, as well as expanding availability of the service to other countries; currently it is available in Germany and Austria.
To order an igus part for their CNC machines, customers simply need to upload a 3D model of their component onto the online service. They will immediately receive a feasibility analysis with pricing information as well as visual feedback on any production-critical issues. The service will also tell customers immediately if an aspect of the part cannot be calculated because of its complexity or there are manufacturing challenges.
igus stated in its press release announcing the updated service that it will directly highlight infeasible dimensional, geometrical, and positional tolerances on the uploaded drawing and suggest corrections. Receiving all of this information as soon as possible will help customers maintain their productivity by informing them immediately if their part can be made and how soon they will receive it.
Additionally, igus plans to soon add an integrated service life predication capability for sliding applications into the tool. This will help customers to plan their part ordering needs.
NFPA Task Forces Determine Critical Value Points, Need for More OEM Input
The National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) outlined a range of trends impacting fluid power designs and ways in which the industry could develop solutions to meet these in its 2023 Technology Roadmap. Because of the influence electrification, connectivity and other trends are having on hydraulic and pneumatic system developments, NFPA formed two new Technology Task forces – one focused on mobile applications and the other on industrial applications – to get a better sense of technology and customer needs.
During the first meetings held in September, the task forces indentified critical vaule points for fluid power, i.e., the ideas, content areas, or challenges that represent spaces likely to draw stakeholders from across the value chain together for mutual learning and benefit stated NFPA in a press release about these recent meetings.
Critical points noted by the Mobile Technology Task Force include:
- Rapid prototyping
Those noted by the Industrial Technology Task Force were:
- Education on Current Capabilities
- Exploration of New Capabilities
- Exploration of New Technologies and Architectures
In addition, NFPA and the task forces noted the need to get more OEM engineers involved in the task forces to help ensure the right target development areas for fluid power are determined which meet market needs. The association is actively seeking more input from this segment and is encouraging members to extend an invitation to their customers. The NFPA said referrals can be directed to Eric Lanke at [email protected] for more information and/or confirmation.