A new generation of pneumo-hydraulic cylinders

A new generation of pneumo-hydraulic cylinders. The Italian company Alfamatic releases on the market the upgraded versions of its historical product in the AP and AX models, betting on new materials, design and components to make them suitable for facing extreme stresses, even not giving up the historical reliability.  A detailed description from the voice of Eugenio Colombo, Sales manager of Alfamatic.

After representing for over 40 years a bestseller product due to the over 40,000 units sold, the pnemo-hydraulic cylinders produced by Alfamatic come on the market in a fully redesigned version, fruit of a committing research and development activity lasted three years. The Italian company’s target was taking care of any possible ameliorative aspect, from the design to the choice of materials and components, to provide its customers with suitable power groups for assuring excellent performances in terms of resistance and long duration, finding applicative fields in several sectors, starting from the automotive industry, for motor assembling lines, in the surface metal working and in driving processes.

A new generation of pneumo-hydraulic cylinders: pressing in two phases

Novelties concern specifically two product ranges. The first (AP) for in-line versions, the second (AX) in parallel, which cover a range included between 700 and 42,000 kg, with thrust forces from 7 to 420 kN. The AP series is represented by equipment consisting of a pneumatic cylinder and a built-in pneumo-hydraulic pressure multiplier, through which it is possible to obtain the pressing stroke in two distinct phases. The first, for approach, is rapid and at low pressure, but when a resistance occurs at any point of the stroke, the working stroke automatically comes into action, with which, thanks to the pressure multiplier, there is an increase in force. This technical principle is valid also for the cylinders of the AX series that, due to the compact design, can be used in environments with smaller footprints.

Eugenio Colombo, Sales manager of Alfamatic

The use of steel

The technical intervention of more relevance concerns the material that makes up heads, with alloyed steel chosen instead of aluminium to favour a performance improvement in terms of stiffness, resistance and duration. The solution will not affect another cutting-edge that has always characterized these products, the quality-price ratio, since the higher costs of the material and those for anti-oxidation machining and treatments will be compensated by the improvements achieved in product design phase and by the optimization of internal flows, which refine the functions in both pneumatic and hydraulic phase. Steel bodies, redesigned with a 5% length reduction, grant in fact up to ten-time higher resistance than the previous aluminium versions, providing heads with utmost reliability and safety in a point particularly subjected to stresses caused by the hydraulic pressure of the jacket.

AX: compact unit, with parallel cylinder structure, of AX series

Response to the market

«The final result of these years of hard work that has engaged the company, starting from our R&D sector – states Eugenio Colombo, Sales manager of Alfamatic – makes us extremely satisfied. We are speaking of a product that historically represents us, along the years it has made up around 70% of our business and today we offer it with all possible aspects improved. Everything will assure the possibility of offering customers a line of products that, even remaining faithful to the operation logics that have always characterized it, are actually fully upgraded to work at best in more and more demanding applications, which need increasingly fast work cycles, constant productions and more stressing environments for machines. We have succeeded in keeping intact the features of reliability that have characterized our cylinders along the years, adapting them to new requirements due to an accurate selection of what the technological evolution makes available for manufacturers today, from the choice of materials to the slightest detail concerning seals and gaskets».

Growth prospects

Alfamatic proposes the new cylinders both as single product and as component of its pneumo-hydraulic presses of OP series, manufactured in several versions: with column gooseneck structure, with 2-4 columns, with opposite units and electromechanical rotary table (from 2 to 30 stations), which will benefit from the upgrade made to cylinders in terms of both performances and of reduction of the machine’s maintenance requirements.

Mechanical adjustment: the accessory, which can be installed on the AX series, allows the regulation of the stroke end stop, as both PMS and as PMI

Besides pneumo-hydraulic presses, since 2014 the company has designed and produced also electric presses and control systems, which pursue the direction of intercepting new requirements of customers and of reference markets, starting from the automotive industry, where the need of refined precise systems for assembling lines is more and more evident. The insertion of the new range of pneumo-hydraulic cylinders is functional to growth plans of Alfamatic, whose reputation has allowed the company to gain important market shares along the years, especially in production niches that need high performances combined with quality and precision. «The results of last years – Eugenio Colombo ends -are confirming the validity of our business philosophy and of our way of operating on the market as partner that, besides relying on a visibility ranking in the field of pneumo-hydraulic presses, can offer a broad catalogue of standard solutions including the range of power units. In recent years, this has been joined by the success in the field of electric presses, which represents for us a constantly rising sector with a broad potential. All these factors allow us to look at more and more positive prospects for our reference markets, which include both the Italian and the international one, with specific focus on China, Brazil, India and United States».