One of the most important features of a good hydraulic cylinder company is their ability to cope with unexpected events, so as to provide durable and reliable products. This ability can be achieved in many different ways, and one of these is by setting up a test room. But what is a test room? How can it help hydraulic cylinder companies enhance the quality of their products?
In order to answer these questions, we interviewed one of the most experienced members of our staff, director of the technical support department—Stefano Rogora.
Most of our readers already have an overall idea of what a test room is. But why is it so important for a cylinder-making company?
There are different kind of hydraulic cylinders, and their applications also vary. This means different working conditions, different pressures, different temperatures, and so on. Not all cylinders can withstand high pressures and temperatures, but how can we know how much a cylinder is able withstand? It’s of vital importance then to recreate many different scenarios and to put our cylinders to the test. In order to do so, a well-staged test room is needed. In this way, we can test the reliability of our cylinders, especially over extremely numerous cycles.
When did Vega first set up a test room, and how did you benefit from it?
Vega set up its test room in 2008. Back then, it was already used to test the durability of its cylinders by causing the rod to go back and forth many thousands of times. Usually, cylinder tests involved one million of cycles, that is, one million strokes forward and one million strokes backward. The maximum working pressure was around 300 bars. An electric panel allowed to invert electrovalves either by using the cylinder sensors or—if the cylinder had no sensors—by setting a timer. Thanks to these features, Vega could test its cylinders millions of times with no need of manual activation. Many new, reliable cylinders could then be produced, such as V215 and CZ500. Yet, this test room also had its issues.
What kind of problems did it have? Were these issues so severe?
Unfortunately, yes. Our previous test room had many limits of pressure and delivery. For example, it was not possible to test big, long-stroke cylinders, since it would take forever to make such tests. Moreover, previous security systems were not enough to make overnight tests without surveillance. It was also impossible to test two cylinders—same model but different bores—at the same time. The test room was also very noisy, so soundproofing works had to be made before being able to test our cylinders. Finally, it was not possible to recreate different working scenarios, with different temperatures and pressures.
And it is easy to see why you needed a new test room. What sort of changes have been made? How long have you been working on it? What is new, and what are its pros?
Many changes had to be made, so we decided to set up a brand-new test room. One major feature is the enhanced security system—remote controlling and monitoring, fire-proof systems, safety equipment in case of fire and other mishaps, and large temperature-controlling and oil-cooling systems. Thanks to all these features, we can now make very long tests, even 24/7, in complete safety. Moreover, the temperature-controlling system also allows to simulate several different working conditions, even extreme ones. Brand-new tools and machines also allows for more severe tests. For example, it is now possible to reach an extreme pressure of 500 bar, and a delivery of 70 l/s. We can also test more cylinders at the same time, and tests with different fluids—such as water and glycol— can also be made.
Quite a hard work! But surely it is worthy all the endeavor. Seeing all the pros of this enhanced test room, what are your plans for the future? What can we expect from Vega?
Our main plan for the future is to keep on improving, so as to provide the most durable, affordable and reliable cylinders on the market. We are sure our new test room will greatly benefit both us and our customers. For example, testing times are now cut in half, and Vega is able to develop and deliver new products much more quickly. Tests are more severe, and cylinders more durable. Moreover, it is now possible to make temperature tests and more precise dynamic tests, coming much closer to the real conditions of mold applications as never before. Therefore, you can expect from Vega more reliable cylinders, ever more durable and affordable—all you need to push your business ever forward!