Master cylinder!

Master cylinder!

HS Penta launched an innovative new cylinder at the IAA. CHARLEEN CLARKE caught up with Ivan Giorgi, the company’s sales director, as he jetted in from Italy – and asked him about the company, the new product, its benefits for operators, and the company’s success in South Africa.

First the new cylinder. It’s called the HF Series, and it’s a new front-end cylinder with a whole bunch of advantages for operators. One of its most significant features is its solid design. As Giorgi explains: “It’s not welded; it is machined from solid hot rolled seamless tubes. This sets the HF Series apart from its competitors – because it means superior product integrity. The HF Series really does equate to maximum strength and reliability; this is one of our strongest selling points.”

These high-performance cylinders are also extremely lightweight and offer the added advantage of no leaks. “This is thanks to the machining quality and also the seal design. This is a really important feature; leaks get you chased off sites,” explains Giorgi.

Furthermore, contamination is minimised with the new HF Series. “They have new wipers, which mean that the cylinders are waterproof and also contamination proof. This translates into greater efficiencies and much better cleaning,” says Giorgi.

Also on display at the IAA was a range of cylinders for side tipping applications for the mining industry from Panni, a sister company within the group. “Penta was the first company to introduce hydraulic brakes in this application. We were one of the first to introduce side tipping cylinders as well. Now they have been improved – we have also made them tougher and smaller,” Giorgi notes.

Kermath Retief and Fabrizio Dalmonte, of HS Penta’s South African and Italian offices respectively.The hydraulic brakes are extremely effective. “With these brakes, you have a smooth tipping action right until the end; the moment the tip goes over the centre of gravity, the brake stops it from running away or accumulating too much velocity. In the past, companies tried to use over-centre valves to try to control this tipping action, but it was not as effective,” explains Giorgi.

The HF Series is coming to South Africa shortly, although its official launch will only take place at next year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS). Speaking of South Africa, Giorgi says he’s delighted with the performance of the range in the local marketplace.

The company has two South African facilities – in Johannesburg and Pretoria – providing the full range of equipment to local customers, from cylinders to hydraulic equipment (pumps, power take-offs, hoses, fitting, controls, tanks and valves). In 2009, Penta merged with Interpump Hydraulics International, which saw the product range expand exponentially. “We have been very successful in South Africa; we have seen a large increase in sales each and every year,” says Giorgi.

The increased product range has helped; so too have the exceptional people who run the local branch. “We actually decided to open the South African branch because of the people. Kermath Retief and Johan Buys are individuals we can trust – and that’s important when we’re sitting 11 hours away [by air]. It is not easy to find the right people; people like them …” he tells FOCUS.

Of course, while the company’s people are good, the same can be said of its products. “Since Penta was formed 30 years ago, it has developed a reputation for producing very good cylinders. As a result, we now sell to about 100 countries worldwide, and have supplied over 5 000 single acting hydraulic cylinders to customers around the globe,” says Giorgi.

While it appears as though everything is just dandy, the business is not without its challenges. “The biggest we face is people taking cylinders for granted. They forget about them; the hydraulic system is always the most neglected part of a truck. When a customer buys a new truck, a huge amount of education is needed – otherwise the hydraulic system is forgotten and ignored,” he berates.

Watch this space for informative and educational future articles on cylinders …

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