Hydraulic Clamping Fundamentals

This is an uncontrolled document provided for informative purposes only. Product information contained herein is subject to change without notification from Vektek. Please refer to the Vektek Website, latest VektorFlo® catalog or parts list for current specifications.

VEKTEK LLC 1334 East Sixth Avenue Emporia, KS 66801 620-342-7656 / 620-342-7637

This is an uncontrolled document provided for informative purposes only. Product information contained herein is subject to change without notification from Vektek. Please refer to the Vektek Website, latest VektorFlo® catalog or parts list for current specifications.

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Section I

Hydraulic Systems & Circuits


• Why Hydraulics? And General Description • Power Supplies • Valves

• System Types • Accumulators • Orifices

• Filtration, Flow Requirements, Line Sizing • Circuit Design and General Design Guides • Sample Circuits • Bleeding Air From System

Section II

Work Supports


• General Description • Sizing Work Supports and General Description • Application information and Hydraulic Circuits

Section III

Swing Clamps


• General Description • General Information • Positioning Time and Sizing • Precautions, Hydraulic Fluid Compatibility • Application Recommendations

Section IV



• General Description and information • Sizing • Precautions • Application Recommendations

Section V

Position Sensing


• General Information, Air Logic • Air Pressure Sensing • Proximity Sensing. Mechanical Switches • Magnetic Proximity Switch Sensing

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document, the term system shall indicate all of the hydraulic components (sort of like a finished printed document) of an installation as physically implemented, or planned. Force can be described as the amount of push or pull between two objects. In power clamping applications in the U.S., this force is typically designated as pounds (lbs) and is achieved by applying pressure to an actuator. Pressure is the resistance to flow of a liquid, and is in part responsible for creating the force in a hydraulic system. In power clamping applications, it is designated as pounds per square inch (psi). As water runs out of an unrestricted hose, it flows at zero pressure (no resistance, ignoring line losses). When you place your hand in front of this hose, you will feel the force of the water. This force is derived from pressure created by the resistance of your hand to the flow. As you move your hand closer to the end of the hose, the resistance increases, as does the pressure, which results in an increased force on your hand. Actuator is a device that uses the hydraulic pres- sure to achieve mechanical movement, or perform work. In work holding, this is generally in the form of an applied force. Actuators are typically broken down into two different types, linear and rotary. For power clamping applications, the primary focus is on linear actuators. Fluid velocity is the average speed of the fluid flowing past a given point in a specified amount of time. In power clamping applications, velocity is typically designated as feet per second (fps).

Hydraulic actuators provide a consistent, repeatable force in a relatively small weight and size envelope. This means that in today’s manufacturing environment, the work piece can be secured, in less time, with more accuracy and repeatability without sacrificing valuable fixture space. This is especially true in systems that operate above 2500 psi, to take an advantage of the increased force generated from a smaller component operating at higher pressure. Hydraulic power clamping also provides the manufacturer with flexibility in holding forces and actuator functions to optimize the design for machine operations as well as process functionality (loading/unloading).


Hydraulics is a science that deals with the laws governing liquids in motion. Specifically addressed in this document is the use of liquid hydraulic oil in motion and at rest in a system to transmit or generate force for hydraulic clamping applications. Circuit is the routing and control of a confined liquid to apply power. This power is used to achieve a specific function resulting in work being performed. For the discussions in this document, the term circuit shall be intended to indicate the planned functional components (sort of like a document outline) as represented in a schematic drawing. System is often synonymous with a circuit, but for discussion, should be additionally defined as the components as they are physically implementedinto a working application or circuit. This will include the actuators, fittings, manifolds, hose and tubing routing and length of run, as well as mounting styles of various devices. For the purpose of discussion in this

Flow rate is the measurement of a volume of fluid flowing past a given point in a specific

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HYDRAULIC POWER SUPPLIES A hydraulic power supply is an assembly consisting of a pump that has been configured in such a way as to have the majority, if not all of the ancillary components necessary to power and control a pump as a pre-configured package. Hydraulic pump is a device used to create flow of a liquid in a hydraulic circuit. The ability of a pump to produce flow against a resistance is directly related to it’s available input power. It may be driven by electrically, pneumatically, hydraulically, or even manually. devices, as it will effect the spring’s ability to push the hydraulic fluid from an actuator back through the system, allowing the them to return to their relaxed state. amount of time. In power clamping applications, flow rate is commonly designated as either gallons per minute (gpm) or cubic inches per minute (cim) Valve is a device that directs the flow, or operating condition of circuit. Some of the valve types often found in power clamping is; directional control, sequence, check, pressure reducing, pressure limiting, shut off, and flow control. Orifice is a restriction in a hydraulic line or component to help reduce the flow rate, or create a pressure differential (inlet pressure minus the outlet pressure). Back pressure is the resistance to flow generated by the devices and the piping in a hydraulic system. This is most often of concern, but not limited to, systems using single acting (spring returned) In an effort to simplify implementation of a hydraulic clamping system, the VektorFlo® product line offers a variety of pre-configured power supplies that have been designed to provide optimum functionality for most power clamping applications. Please refer to your

VektorFlo® catalog for specific details about our power supply offerings and specifications.

Electric power supply is a pump that is driven by an electric motor to create flow.

To date, all VektorFlo® electric pumps are of a two-stage flow design. The first stage generates a relatively high flow rate (130 – 350 in3/min) of hydraulic fluid at a relatively low (400-800 psi) pressure. This higher flow rate allows the clamping components to be moved into position relatively quickly. As the resistance to flow in the system increases, the internal high-pressure second stage automatically engages. This second stage operates at a reduced flow rate (13 – 50 in3/min) to increase the system to high pressure. This allows the use of a smaller electric motor to achieve more work. The pump contains an internal pressure relief valve that directs the excess internal flow of hydraulic fluid back to tank, to prevent it from stalling the electric motor when flow is fully restricted as well as lubricate internal moving components. The motor is controlled by a pressure switch, which will close when a pre-set pressure has been reached in the system, and shut it off. If pressure in the system should fall below the re-set point of the pressure switch, it will re-open and re-start the electric motor to replenish system pressure.

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Pneumatic power supply is a pump that is driven by an air motor to create hydraulic fluid flow and pressure.

Hydraulic (oil / oil) intensifier is a reciprocating device that multiplies the incoming pressure in a hydraulic system.

All VektorFlo® air pumps utilize an internal reciprocating check valve design to build pressure. When the hydraulic flow is unrestricted, the pump will supply a consistent flow of hydraulic fluid based on the speed of the internal air motor, which is dependent on the volume of the incoming air supply. As the hydraulic flow in the system becomes restricted (pressure increases), the pump cycle rate will decrease, until the hydraulic flow is completely restricted and the air motor stalls. If flow is again established (i.e. a leak in the hydraulic system, or the actuation of a directional control valve) allowing pressure to decrease below stall point of the air motor, the pump will re-start and rebuild pressure. Screw pump is a pump that creates flow by rotating a screw that pushes against the piston of a hydraulic cylinder.

While its output flow is dependent on the incoming flow rate, the output flow will be reduced to allow for the system pressure intensification. The excess fluid flow is returned to the reservoir via the “R” line until the intensified pressure is reached, at which time, it will “stall” out and stop pumping. Air / oil booster is a device that creates hydraulic flow by linear actuation of a larger air cylinder driving a smaller hydraulic piston.

This device will generate flow, as well as pressure intensification due to the difference in area of the pneumatic / hydraulic piston areas. This type of booster does not reciprocate, and therefore has a finite useable volume. Its primary function is to drive single acting devices. A directional control valve is a device that directs the movement of fluid flow in a system. They may be operated manually, electrically, pneumatically, or hydraulically. VALVES

The rotation of the screw is usually manually rotated by hand with a wrench. As this type of pump typically has a very limited volumetric capacity and flow, it is best suited for applications powering a small quantity of actuators, requiring a very small amount of oil volume.

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One of the most common directional control valve designs is a type called a spool valve. By nature of the design itself, spool valves can leak across their various internal paths, which may create problems with backpressure in your system, heating of the oil in the pump’s reservoir, as well as a clamp’s holding ability. Vektek does not recommend using spool valves in clamping systems and offers manual andelectrical control valves in either a poppet or a shear seal style design.

When the valve is electrically actuated, the flow is directed from the pump to the actuator and the flow path back to tank is blocked. 2 X 3 normally opened solenoid valve allows the fluid to flow from the pump to the actuator, while blocking flow path to the tank in the un-actuated (no electrical signal) position.

The most common valve configurations used in our industry are,

Two position Three Way Three Position Four Way

When the valve is electrically actuated, the flow path is blocked from the pump and the flow path from the actuator is directed back to tank. Three-position four-way valve has three different valve operator positions, left, center, and right position. It is described as a four-way valve because there are four separate fluid flow paths or ports. They are commonly referred to as “P”, “T”, “A”, & “B”. As described in the two-position valve, “P” refers to the pressure port, “T” is the tank, and “A” & “B” are the two working branches of the circuit, which are typically connected to a clamp, or actuator. When the valve operator is in the left or right position, the valve directs the fluid flow through two separate flow paths at the same time. One position sends fluid from the pump (“P”) path to the working (“A”) side of an actuator while the path from the opposite (“B”) side of the actuator is directed back to (“T”) tank. When the valve is shifted to the opposite position, the internal flow paths are reversed, sending fluid from “P” to “B” and “A” to “T”. This valve configuration is most commonly used to control double acting devices. The third or center position of a three-way valve allows for various circuit control operations or functions.

Two-position three-way valve has two different valve operator positions, open or closed. It is described as a three-way valve because there are three separate fluid flow paths, or ports. These paths or ports are commonly referred to as “P”, “T”, and “A”. “P” refers to the pressure port as supplied from the pump unit, “T” is the tank or return line to the pump reservoir, and “A” is the working branch of the circuit which is typically connected to the clamp, or actuator. This type of value directs flow in one direction at a time, from the pump (“P”) to the actuator (“A”) in one position or from the actuator (“A”) to the tank (“T”) in the other position. Vektek recommends this style of valve to control single acting devices. 2 X 3 normally closed solenoid valve blocks the flow path from the pump while allowing fluid to flow from the actuator to tank in the un-actuated (no electrical signal) position.

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Vektek currently offers three-position valves with two different center positions, “Closed Center” and “P Blocked”: 3 X 4 “closed” center valve blocks all internal fluid paths (“P”, “T”, “A”, &”B”) so that no flow is permitted from either the pump or the actuator when in the center position.

When the inlet flow is stopped the valve will close and block the passage preventing the return, or backward flow of fluid. This type of valve requires a separate control valve, path, or device to release the downstream fluid blocked by the valve. Pilot operated check valve is a valve that combines the function of a check valve as well as an internal pilot piston to unseat the check valve.

When pressure is applied to the pilot port, it will open or “unseat” the check valve, allowing return flow through the valve. The pilot operated valve is commonly used as an “A” or “A-B” check valve to provide various control of the flow in the actuator circuit. Sequence valve is a manually adjustable, normally closed device that prevents the flow of fluid in the hydraulic circuit until a pre-set pressure setting has been achieved.

The solenoid version of this configuration has a mechanical spring to return the operator to the center position when there is no electrical signal. 3 X 4 “P” blocked center valve blocks the fluid path from the pump (“P”), but allows flow from both sides of the actuator (“A” & “B”) to return to tank (“T”) when in the center position.

SPECIAL FUNCTION VALVES Check valve is a device that will allow flow through the valve in one direction only. The solenoid version of this configuration has a mechanical spring to return the operator to the center position when there is no electrical signal.

Once the pre-set pressure has been achieved, the valve will open and allow fluid to flow through the valve to an actuator. This allows the devices in one branch of a circuit to be actuated at a different pressure setting than items in another branch of the same circuit. This device does not regulate pressure on an actuator, therefore once activated the down stream pressure will equalize with that of the main supply pressure.

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The amount of time required to open the valve is dependent upon the flow rate of the pump and backpressure in the system. When the inlet supply pressure is decreased below the pre-set pressure, the valve will close again and an internal check valve will open permitting fluid flow from the actuator back through the valve. This will allow the sequenced devices to return to pre-actuation condition. Pressure limiting valve (PLV) is a manually adjustable normally open valve that limits the pressure in a branch of the circuit and will maintain a lower pressure on that branch than the main circuit pressure.

Pressure reducing valve (PRV) is a manually adjusted normally open valve that reduces pressure in a branch of the circuit and will maintain a lower pressure on that branch than the main circuit pressure.

It will allow flow to pass from the inlet port thru the valve to the outlet port and build pressure downstream in the system. As the pressure in the downstream system increases, backpressure on the outlet port of the system will close the valve and block off the flow. It will maintain a lower pressure setting than the main system pressure by monitoring the reduced pressure system. If the reduced pressure system starts to flow again, as in a leak in the system, allowing the pressure on valve to drop below the pre-set pressure, the valve will re-open to allow make up flow from the main system until the pre-set pressure is again reached (assuming that the flow on the reduced pressure portion of the system is slow enough for the power supply to overcome the pressure loss, or the flow stops) and again closes. When the inlet pressure is removed, the valve will open and allow the fluid to return to tank through the valve. As this valve will re open and reset if there is a downstream pressure drop, it will work well with both single and double acting actuators. Speed control valve is an adjustable device that controls speed of an actuator by restricting the flow of the fluid. The valve is typically manually adjusted to obtain required actuation speed. The two basic types of speed control valves are described next.

It will allow flow to pass from the inlet port through the valve to the outlet port and build pressure in the downstream system. As the pressure in the downstream system increases, backpressure through the valve causes it to close and block off flow. The inlet pressure from the main system will keep the flow blocked, and therefore cannot re-open to compensate for pressure loss in the downstream pressure limited system. When the inlet pressure is removed, the valve will re-open and allow the down stream fluid to return to tank through the valve. As this valve, by itself is held closed by the main system pressure. It is best suited for use with single acting actuators. Contact your VektorFlo® sales team for information and recommendations when installed in a double acting system.

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Needle valve is a device that has a variable orifice that restricts flow in both directions.

In hydraulic work holding there are two basic types of systems:

1. Coupled or Live 2. De-coupled

The power supply can monitor and compensate for minor system leaks The power supply can help monitor for expansion/contraction due to temperature deviations Clamp/unclamp cycle times are typically reduced by elimination of pressure connection manipulation. More control flexibility for automated systems. / unloading as well as while the functioning operation is being performed. This will offer the following advantages: Coupled or Live systems This type of system remains connected to the power supply during the entire process of loading The disadvantage is that it that there is a limited degree of mobility of the fixture due to the connection to the power supply. In some cases, additional mobility can be achieved by utilizing a rotary union. A rotary union transmits flow through a rotary coupling thus allowing rotation of the fixture under pressure. In other applications, hose guides or a through pallet coupling to the machine may also be used, to add mobility to the fixture.

One of the major drawbacks to this type of valve is that due to the area differential of most double acting devices, there is a potential to create damaging pressure spikes in the system if the valve gets totally closed. Another drawback to this type of valve is that, as it will restrict fluid flow in both directions, potentially affecting the return performance of single acting devices being returned by spring force alone. Because of these potential drawbacks, Vektek no longer offers a needle valve.

Flow control valve is a device that combines the function of a needle valve with that of check valve.

This allows restricted flow in one direction and free or unrestricted flow in the other direction. To prevent the potential of creating pressure intensification in a hydraulic power clamping system, in most cases, it is recommended that the flow control valve be installed in such a way that the flow is metered into the device. Metering in is typically referred to as speed control, while metering out is typically referred to as load control, which has the potential to cause pressure spikes. Additional information about metering for speed / load control can be found in other publications such as “Fluid Power Directory” and “Industrial Fluid Power”

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De-Coupled Systems This type of system is disconnected from the power supply during machining operation. Manual Shut-off Valve Decoupler

4 Sided Pallet Top Plate

The fluid transfer connection is made by using a pallet de-coupler or tombstone top plate that facilitates the connection and disconnection of the power supply and the fixture. It has always been Vektek’s policy that as a matter of safety an accumulator is required in all de-coupled systems. All VektorFlo®, pallet de-couplers and top-plates are furnished with an accumulator in the clamp system to help maintain pressure, compensate for minor leaks, as well as compensate for temperature / pressure fluxuations. A typical work holding circuit can contain a mixture of both single and double acting actuators. While coupled and de-coupled systems can be used to control both single and double acting actuators as well as combinations of both, the VektorFlo® 2 sided and 4-sided tombstone top plates will NOT work with double acting devices. The advantages of this type of system are: Maximum mobility of the fixture Staging of multiple fixtures on a machine line The disadvantages are: Load/unload time may increased slightly because of the need to connect the hydraulic hoses

Automatic Shut-off Valve Decoupler

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decreases. Once the pressure is below the accumulator pre-charge pressure, the entire system pressure will degrade quickly. In a closed system such a pallet-decoupled application, the system is subject to pressure changes relative to the ambient temperature fluctuations of the fluid captured in the system. As the ambient temperature increases or decreases, so will the relative pressure in the system. The function of the accumulator in this instance is to act as a cushion to help accommodate, or minimize the effects of these temperature / pressure changes. The following formula can be used to estimate the anticipated pressure change resulting from temperature change in a closed system.

Interface with automated load/unload stations is more difficult Pressure loss from a leak in the system may exceed of the accumulator’s capacity More susceptible to contamination into the hydraulic system due to the repeated connection of the hydraulic supply hose(s).

ACCUMULATOR An accumulator is a device that temporarily stores a volume of fluid under pressure.

Vektek uses a sealed piston to separate a gaseous space in the accumulator from the hydraulic space. The gas side is charged to a pre-determined pressure with nitrogen. Nitrogen is an inert, non-combustible gas. Never use any gas other than nitrogen for accumulator pre-charge. Until the hydraulic system pressure exceeds the gas pre-charge pressure, no additional hydraulic fluid is induced into the accumulator. As the system pressure increases above the precharge pressure, the nitrogen further compresses, and oil is forced into the accumulator. This stored fluid is used to help stabilize the pressure and / or flow in a decoupled system. In the event of a minor leak in a closed system, the hydraulic fluid stored in the accumulator under pressure will be drawn into the system to try to offset the effects of that fluid loss. However, as the fluid is drawn into the system, the pressure will degrade until the supply of fluid under pressure is exhausted. This application is to help minimize the effects of the pressure decay so that the system problem can be detected and repaired. When unclamping a system, the accumulator will discharge it’s oil as the system pressure

( ) ( ×


459.67 )

459.67 T P p T Where: = 2 P Resultant pressure 1 2 1 2 + =

= 1 P Initial pressure (PSI.) = 1 T Initial temperature ( F ° ) = 2 T Final temperature ( F ° )

In certain applications, a very brief, but high pressure rise, or spike may occur in the system. This may be from the actuation of a control valve operating a system that has a great deal of pressure, the intermittent pumping of an air/oil pump, the reciprocating action of a piston pump, or a shock load such as dropping a dead weight onto the actuator. In many of these situations, an accumulator might be utilized to absorb some of the shock, or pressure spikes induced into the hydraulic system. The pre-charge of an accumulator should be checked periodically to ensure proper system integrity. A simple way to do this is to start with a system that is fully clamped and then simulate a very slow system leak (i.e. connect the hose from the power supply to the pallet

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displacement is so small, and the differential pressure changes so rapidly. While the methodology for calculating flow through an orifice can be tedious, it is well documented in various technical manuals, and will not be elaborated on here. However, because of the nature of clamping systems, to obtain the desired results for an individual system, it is usually preferable to establish orifice sizing by testing in your specific system. An orifice restricts flow in both directions and therefore could possibly inhibit their return performance of single acting devices, due to an increase in back pressure. The orifice is prone to plugging from system contamination. Additional filtration maybe required to proved acceptable performance. Pressure drop is highly dependent on fluid viscosity, which will greatly influence orifice performance. FILTRATION Proper filtration is extremely important to the integrity of a hydraulic system. Contamination can lead to premature device failure, catastrophic device failure, intermittent system problems, degradation of seals, and poor overall system performance. Contamination is not limited to foreign materials such as chips but also from ingress of coolants and water into the system. Water/coolants in the hydraulic system can lead to corrosion, reduced lubrication film thickness, and accelerated metal surface fatigue. Filter is a device whose primary function is the retention of insoluble contaminants in a fluid, by some type of porous medium. A filter’s rating is typically given in microns, which an indication of the size of contamination it will collect. A micron is defined as thirty-nine millionths (.000039) of an inch. For reference, an average grain of table salt is about 100

decoupler and just slightly opening the handle on a pallet decoupler allowing the hydraulic oil to return to the pump’s reservoir). The gage in the system will loose pressure very slowly, until the accumulator pre-charge has been reached, at which point the gage reading will fall to zero almost instantaneously. To achieve reliable performance from an accumulator, the pre-charge of the gas on an accumulator should be in the range of 20% to 75% of maximum hydraulic pressure. The following formula will estimate the oil volume for an accumulator with the Nitrogen stabilized. ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) 2 1 1 2 1 P v V P V ∗ − = Where: 2 v =Hyd. fluid volume. 1 P = Accumulator pre-charge (PSI) 2 P =Max. hyd. system pres (PSI) 1 V =Accumulator volume. (For VektorFlo®, accumulator 10-1016-XX the oil capacity 1 V is 3.4 cubic inches and for 10- 1014-XX it is 1.2 cubic inches.) ORIFICES An orifice is a device in the hydraulic line with a small hole through it, which restricts the flow of fluid based on the differential pressure (inlet pressure minus the outlet pressure) across the orifice. The larger the differential pressure, the more fluid will pass through the orifice. Due to the compact nature of many hydraulic work-holding actuators, the fluid capacity is relatively small. Because of this small capacity, it is relatively easy to drive these actuators with excessive speed. One way to address this is through the implementation of an orifice. In most work holding devises, the flow through an orifice is often considered constant because the

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LINE SIZING It is recommended that the flow through the lines be in the Laminar region. To keep flow in the laminar region requires a Reynolds number of 2000 or less. Flows in 2000 to 4000 range are transitional, and above 4000 are turbulent. Transitional and turbulent flows generate higher back pressures and may interfere with sequence valve, PRV and PLV function, therefore should be avoided when ever possible.

microns in size; a human hair about 70, and talcum powder is about 10. The most common filtration recommendation for hydraulic clamping system is 10 - 25 microns, which will filter such things as grit, fines, and sludge. However, to stop contaminants such as chips from traveling in a system, a micron rating of up to 180 (0.0070”) has proven adequate. Screen (mesh) is a coarse strainer element that stops larger contaminants from moving down stream, but typically may not retain them. Screens are rated by U.S. Sieve No. instead of microns. While these two ratings are not the same, they can be compared as to the size of contaminates they will collect. For example, (from the “Lightning Reference Handbook, 8 th Edition © Copyright 1990 published by Berendsen Fluid Power, Tulsa, Ok) a screen with a Sieve number of 50 has an approximate micron equivalent of 297 (0.0117” particulate); Sieve 140 is approximately 105 micron (0.0041” particulate); and Sieve 325 in approximately 44 micron (0.0017” particulate). While a screen with a Sieve No. of 100 (0.0059” particulate) should adequately stop chips and debris from traveling in your system; the screen should not be considered a replacement for a primary filter element. FLOW REQUIREMENT: Determine the time in seconds (T) allows for clamping. (Verify that this in the operating ranges of the devices) Pick the devices required for fixturing application. Determine displacement in cubic inches for each device. (Including volume of oil in the accumulator and flex hose if applicable). Add the displacement for the devices together (Dt).

d μ 3162 Where: Nr = Reynolds number Q = Flow rate, GPM Q N r × × =

μ =Viscosity in Centistokes, 132 for ISO 32 Hyd. fluid. d = Inside diameter of line in inches.

Velocity is the next consideration. For double acting only systems, this can be as high as 33 FT/Sec. For systems containing single acting actuators, this should be limited to 10 FT/Sec.

= 320833 .





Where:A= cross sectional area = .785 2 d × V=Velocity in Ft/Sec.

CIRCUIT DESIGN Before the hydraulic circuit can be designed, the following things must be defined: The type and number of each type of hydraulic actuator to be used on fixture. The oil capacity of each actuator. (In cubic inches)

= D GPM t (231CIM = 1 GPM = 3.85 CIS) T

231 60


To determine required flow:


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differential to observe expected results, allow for variances between gage accuracies, and some margin of error in setting individual devices. 6. Sequence pressure setting should never be below minimum required operating pressure of devices it is sequencing. 7. Avoid installing pressure limiting or pressure reducing valves ahead of directional control valves or sequence valves. 8. Running single and double acting devices in series (daisy chain) this will affect the return time on single acting devices. Pay particular attention to the plumbing installation in an effort to minimize return flow backpressure. 9. Do not allow return flow to tank to pressurize another circuit. 10. When stacking multiple directional control valves always use a check valve at each “P” port (pressure inlet port) on valve to avoid pressure drop in circuits already engaged when additional circuits are energized. 11. Double acting devices should be used in robotic systems wherever possible. This will make return of actuators positive, reducing probability of interference during load, and unload operations, as well as permit additional system monitoring. 12. Maximum velocity for high-pressure lines is 30 ft/sec. Maximum velocity for a return line is 10 ft/sec. It is recommended that velocity for single acting systems be

The operating pressures required. See VektorFlo® catalog for pressure required for clamp force on each specific actuator. Required pressure reductions per circuit. The cycle time required to clamp and unclamp. The sequence of operation. Type of control required. Coupled or de-coupled system. GENERAL DESIGN GUIDES: 1. Unless otherwise noted in the catalog all VektorFlo® components are rated for 5,000-psi maximum operating pressure. However, the system operating pressure is determined by the lowest pressure rating of a component in the system. It is important when designing a circuit that all devices including fittings, hoses, valves, tubing, and manifolds have a working pressure compatible with circuit pressure. Never exceed the maximum operating pressure of any device. 2. Fluid follows the course of least resistance, so the device that has the fewest line restrictions will generally activate first. 3. Always flush hydraulic passages, tubing lines, and hoses with a suitable safety solvent to remove chips, dust, dried drawing oil, and other debris (i.e. spider webs) before operating a system. 4. Avoid using sequence valves in series to control operations. Erratic performance can be expected due to valve pulsing. Since sequence valves are pressure sensing, plumbing them in parallel will not adversely effect the system performance. 5. The recommended pressure differential setting between all specialty valves is 500 psi. This is to allow enough pressure

maintained at a maximum equal to return line velocity to reduce effect of backpressure.

continued next page...

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for clamp time is established with in the restrictions of the largest device, the addition of a flow control will be required to prevent over driving the smaller devices. 14. To provide smoother laminar fluid flow, use a tubing bender and bend the tubing whenever possible instead of using elbow fittings. 15. Do not use flattened, wrinkled or kinked tubing as this will have a negative effect on flow as well as lead to premature failure of the tubing. 16. Do not run tubing in a straight section from one fitting to another, as this does not leave any place for the flexure or expansion of the tube. Provide an expansion loop or bend in the tubing to compensate for changes in temperature, vibration, and expansion. 17. In system designs always try to use as large a line as feasible from power supply to fixture in order to improve the response time and help reduce the backpressure on single acting devices. 18. Do not run hoses straight from port to port. Allow the hose to loop or bend in order to allow the hose to move or swell when pressurized. 19. Do not exceed the manufactures' minimum bend radius on hoses, as rupture or kinking will likely to occur. 13. When considering required clamp time it is important to keep in mind that some devices have minimum actuation time requirements in order to protect the integrity of individual components. If the system flow requirement

22. Do not use an intensifier after a pressure reducing or a pressure-limiting valve. 23. Use a constant displacement pump on intensified circuits. The use of a variable displacement or a two-stage type pump can attribute to erratic intensifier performance. 24. If using an intensifier in a decoupled system, an accumulator needs to be installed between the intensifier outlet and the rest of the system. 25. Consideration should be given as to the location of the power supply relative to the location of the fixture. Every 5 feet of vertical line run will increase system backpressure on single acting devices by approximately two (2) psi. If using directional control valves mounted on a decoupled pallet to control device actuation it is recommended that a “T” port or return check be in stalled on each valve in the circuit, This check valve will prevent accidental actuation of the system from another valve being switched or from the leaking of another system to tank. must be installed in each line to prevent plunger movement. opposing clamps as this will allow the work piece to “float” between them. If this cannot be avoided, a pilot operated check valve 20. When ever possible use a manifold as a distribution point rather than “T” fittings. This will reduce backpressure and improve system response time. 21. When possible, avoid using equal force

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SAMPLE CIRCUITS The following is a basic coupled circuit layout using double and single acting actuators.

The following is a basic de-coupled circuit layout with both sequenced and non-sequenced operations as well as a reduced pressure circuit.

The following is a basic circuit layout-using valve to control double acting actuators and second valve to control single acting actuators in a coupled circuit.

The following is a circuit layout with oil/oil intensifier with additional pilot operated check valve in a coupled circuit. Optional external pilot operated check valve will enhance the return of single acting actuators as well as improve actuator-positioning time.

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The following circuit layout is showing a regenerative clamp circuit. This type of circuit should be used with caution. It must be used for a coupled circuit, and will typically result in a faster double acting actuator response. It should be noted that due to the nature of fluid flow through this type of system, some valves may not respond well with this type of configuration.

The following circuit is likely to exhibit problems with the return of the single acting devices. Because fluid is forced both in and out of a double acting device, the return flow of fluid being forced through the tank path is likely to cause backpressure on the single acting devices. Work supports and small single acting actuators may be slow to return because of this backpressure.


Air is a compressible gaseous medium, and as a gas, will expand to completely fill the size of its enclosure. Hydraulic fluid, on the other hand, is a liquid, which has a definite volume and as a liquid, is basically non-compressible. In a hydraulic system, force is achieved by applying pressure to an actuator. Since air is compressible, the first thing that must happen when pressurizing a system is to compress the entrapped air. (Air trapped in a system can cause devices to actuate with a jerky, or spongy motion, as well as add to the length of time required to build the system to the desired operating pressure.) As long as there is enough

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displacement volume available from your power supply, the system will eventually compress the air in a system and build hydraulic pressure. However, if powering your system with a non-reciprocating power source such as a single shot air / oil booster, it may not have enough useable oil volume to replace the void caused by compressing the air. To bleed the air from a hydraulic system, connect to the power supply and fill with hydraulic fluid at as low a pressure as practical. While under pressure, loosen (crack) a fitting at the furthest point from the power supply and allow the foamy air to escape (as air is lighter than the liquid, it will tend to “migrate” to the highest point in the system, which is the next most common point to start bleeding from the system). Repeat the bleeding procedure at each device working your way back to the power supply, or lowest point in the system. Once you have bleed the system of air, more hydraulic fluid may need to be added to your power supply to compensate for the oil that has been lost during the filling of the system as well as bleeding procedure. To fill, and bleed the air from a system utilizing a screw pump, install a "T" fitting in the screw pump’s pressure outlet port (on block style pumps, the alternate side port may be used instead of installing an additional fitting). With the unused port of the "T" fitting unplugged, totally advance the screw pump piston (rotate hex clockwise) to push the air out of the screw pump pressure chamber. While retracting the screw pump piston (rotate hex counter clockwise), pour oil into the open port of the "T" fitting to fill the screw pump pressure chamber (alternately, connect any hand, air or electric pump to deliver fluid to the system).

Plug the open port of the "T" fitting and loosen (do not remove) the fitting connection at the device in the system that is furthest from the screw pump. Advance the screw pump piston, compressing the oil in the system and driving the air out at the loose device fitting. (If using alternate pump to pre-fill system, bleed air from the device fitting until fluid shows no signs of air bubbles escaping from the loosened fitting). Tighten the device fitting and repeat the process as necessary to purge the maximum amount of air as possible (bleeding the air from the system is complete when clear fluid is expelled at the loose fitting.

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for use in environments were it is exposed to minute contaminates such as cast iron grit, or aluminum fines. The escaping air will assist in precluding the ingress of foreign material between the plunger and compression sleeve. The plunger will not retract as long as the air pressure is maintained, which could move the work-piece out of position when the hydraulic pressure is removed. An internal return spring will retract the plunger for clearance to load and unload the work-piece after the hydraulic locking pressure and the extend air pressure have been removed. The plunger is locked in place by applying hydraulic pressure to the internal compression sleeve through a separate hydraulic port, after the plunger has contacted the work-piece.

Work supports are supplementary support devices to be used in conjunction with rigid support and / or locating points in a fixture. They also supports reduce the effects of vibration and deflection, helping to maintain work-piece accuracy during machining operations. The work support also helps compensate automatically for minor part variations during loading and imposed deflections during clamping and machining operations. Work supports use a hydraulically compressed sleeve to lock the plunger in place once it has engaged the work-piece. On the Fluid Advance and Spring Advance work supports, the spring force on the plunger determines the contact force on the work-piece. In the case of the air advanced work support, adjusting the air inlet pressure on the plunger determines the contact force exerted against the work piece. TYPE AND FUNCTION (See catalog for specific work support dimensional, locating, and mounting data.) Air Advance Work Support This type of work support uses air pressure to advance the plunger to contact the work-piece. This allows the contact force of the plunger to be adjusted by means of an air regulator. By leaving the air pressure applied at all times, the plunger will function as if it were lifted by an air spring. As there is no internal seal to prevent the air from escaping the unit, you may observe air escaping from around the plunger. Because of this, air advance work supports are well suited

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Spring Advance Work Support This type of work support uses an internal spring to advance the plunger to contact the work-piece. The spring keeps the plunger extended when the work support is not loaded. Spring advanced work supports are often used when the extended plunger will not interfere with the work-piece positioning during loading and unloading. As spring force is always present on the plunger the work-piece could move when hydraulic pressure is removed. The plunger is locked in place by applying hydraulic pressure to the internal compression sleeve thru a separate hydraulic port after the work-piece compresses the plunger.

prevents the compression sleeve from engaging before the spring lifts the hydraulic piston that extends the plunger. The use of a power supply with too high a flow rate may cause the compression sleeve to engage the plunger before it can be lifted into position. Excessive flow rates may also accelerate the plunger so fast that it bounces off the work-piece and the compression sleeve engages before it can recontact the piece-part. The unit uses a separate spring to return the piston, and plunger after the hydraulic pressure is removed. This type of support works well when the plunger must be retracted to clear the work-piece for loading and unloading. The plunger is locked in place by applying hydraulic pressure to the internal compression sleeve after the spring has lifted the plunger to contact the work-piece.

Fluid Advance Work Support This type of work support uses hydraulic pressure to advance an internal hydraulic piston that pushes against a spring, which in turn advances the plunger to contact the work-piece. This piston always travels full stroke regardless of the hydraulic pressure. An internal restriction

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SIZING THE WORK SUPPORT In order to find the size of work support needed, you must first determine the total load the work support must withstand. This load is based the following factors: The amount of anticipated force being exerted on the work support due to the operation being performed against it. The amount of force being applied over the work support by the clamp reacting on the piece-part. The force exerted by the operation being performed combined with the clamp force being applied must not exceed the rated capacity of the work support. As the operational forces are anticipated , some margin of safety should be incorporated by the designer. Additionally, if the work support is subjected to severe vibrations or “hammering” such as those generated from an interrupted cut, an additional safety factor needs to be incorporated. Using the following work support selection chart, find the anticipated capacity for your application in the left hand column. Follow across the chart to the right until your application load intersects the anticipated hydraulic operating pressure of the system. Choose the size of work support needed from the curve that intersects this point or from the nearest curve above the required point.

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Never “strike” or “rap” the end of the plunger to see if it is locked in place. A 16 penny nail protruding from a board will support many times more than the weight of a hammer, and all of the force you can push with the hammer. However, the shock load generated by striking the nail with the hammer will drive the nail into the board. The work support will function similarly to that of the nail. Typically, the work support should be installed so that when the plunger engages a nominal work-piece, it is at one half of the total stroke. This positioning will allow the stroke of the work support to compensate for reasonable variations from one work-piece to the next. The metal components on the work support are corrosion resistant. The maximum functional system backpressure a fluid advanced work support can readily overcome is 10 psi. If the backpressure during the return, or unclamp cycle is greater than this, the work support will be slow to retract, or possibly not retract at all.

Referring to the following chart, if the system pressure is intended to operate at 2500 PSI, the work support will resist approximately #297 of force. The clamp shown in the chart will produce approximately #207 of clamp force at the same hydraulic pressure. This will result in approximately #90# of support force to resist the operation being preformed on the work-piece. If more support resistance is required, the system pressure must be increased, the size of the work support must be increased, or the size of the clamp must be decreased. If a larger clamp must be used for any reason, the hydraulic pressure supplied to the clamp must be reduced to limit the clamp force accordingly.

Fluid / Coolant Compatibility Work supports are furnished with AU

compound seals as standard. This compound provides excellent service in a wide variety of coolant applications. However, before using work supports in synthetic or water-based coolants contact your coolant manufacture or supplier for seal compatibility recommendations. Fluorocarbon seals are available as an option, but have a significantly shorter life than standard seals. When the fixture is taken out of service, it is important that the work supports be cleaned of coolant residue before storage. Failure to clean

Caution: If the hydraulic system pressure is inadequate for anticipated load, the work support will not provide the desired support capacity, and will have a reduced service life. GENERAL INFORMATION

Never use a work support to move a load. It is not a cylinder, and therefore will not perform the same function as cylinder.

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