Power generation environments are tough on hydraulic and other types of cylinders (including pneumatic and electro-mechanical). Vibration, dust, gravel, corrosives, chemicals, axial load, and side load can make it a challenge for engineers to monitor hydraulic cylinders in various power generation applications, including gate actuation and governor control. Standard approaches for building redundancy into monitoring devices involves time-consuming extra steps, such as adding structures to hold multiple sensors to the exterior of the cylinder or coming up with ways to keep the rod from turning—all of which add time and cost.
A smarter solution
To improve this process, Parker Hannifin has developed a new line of "smart cylinders" enhanced with the new Intellinder™ sensor that eliminates these extra steps and streamlines operations. Key features include a unique positional bar code pattern etched on the cylinder’s piston rod and a highly engineered universal optic reader. The reader is standard across all stroke lengths, eliminating the need to stock multiple probes. Quick change out, non-pressurized housing allows for easy replacement without cylinder removal. With resolution up to 0.001 inches and speeds up to 40 inches/second, Intellinder also has the ability to deliver integral health monitoring and true redundancy. Now power-generation engineers have a fast, efficient, and accurate method for position monitoring, compared to standard methods like magnetostrictive sensors, variable resistance sensors (string pots), and laser gauges.
Parker’s Intellinder-enabled smart cylinders include hydraulic, pneumatic, and electro-mechanical designs that are designed to withstand harsh environments in hydroelectric plant and dams, gas turbines, wind turbine rotors, and solar panel tracking. Intellinder-enabled cylinder and actuation system features and benefits include:
- Extreme operating temperature rating (-40o to 221o F, 40 to 105 C)
- Remains impervious to electronic noise and has been tested to ensure signal strength in the most rigorous applications
- Steel and stainless construction available as NFPA tie rod or round line design
- Universal across a wide range of cylinder bore and rod diameters, with stroke lengths up to 20 feet
- Multiple Intellinder-enabled cylinders can be connected to a single bus, offering reduced installation and commissioning costs—installation is virtually plug-and-play
- Exterior mount, non-pressurized, non-contacting sensor that is easy to replace
- CAN communication to signal conditioning electronics allow long cable runs
First of its kind
This type of smart cylinder is the first of its kind for the power-generation market. The pattern on the rod is read optically from many sensors, making it easy and affordable to achieve dual, triple, and quadruple redundancy. By integrating a highly engineered sensor directly into the hydraulic, pneumatic, or electromechanical actuator, the time and cost associated with gun drilling, as well as unprotected external sensors with complex linkages, is eliminated.
Standard positioning technologies all have limitations, including short strokes, dead zones, calibration needs, water ingression, temperature range restrictions, interference from contaminants, annoying electrical noise, and time-consuming removal and repair. These problems add inefficiencies to power-generation operations, increasing operational cost. Intellinder-enabled cylinders eliminate these issues and streamline operations, reducing overall operational costs by 20 percent or more compared to standard approaches.
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Article contributed by Bruce Besch, Advanced Motion Products Manager for the Industrial Cylinder Division of Parker Hannifin