Volvo awards electro-hydraulic system for excavators

By Riley SimpsonSeptember 07, 2021

Diagram of the Common Pressure Rail Hybrid system, which won the Volvo Technology Award by combining improved performance with lowered emissions

Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) has been recognized for developing the Common Pressure Rail Hybrid system for excavators, which perform better while reducing CO2 emissions.

The teams that worked on the project won the Volvo Technology Award, and the company said in a release that project would contribute to Volvo’s net-zero value ambitions by 2040.

“This innovation enables Volvo CE to offer its customers a truly unique electro-hydraulic solution, pushing fuel efficiency to new levels,” said Lars Stenqvist, CTO Volvo Group. “It’s demonstrating the passion of our engineers to bring forward customer-oriented solutions and systems that will drive the transformation towards net-zero emissions operations.”

The project started in academia but has grown into a real-world solution currently undergoing customer trials in the field; soon, the company said it expects the electro-hydraulic system to accelerate the introduction of e-mobility across Volvo CE’s larger excavator platform – and for the new technology to be available in the excavator marker in the near future.

On a technical level, the award-winning system enables new ways to reduce energy losses in hydraulics with a new design in which functions are connected to a hydraulic energy storage via a common pressure rail, which houses two or more lines.

The energy storage, consisting of hydraulic accumulators, allows for efficient recovery of kinetic energy and peal power supply.

According to Volvo CE, for cylinder-driven functions, so-called “smart actuators” are used to achieve energy-efficient conversion from hydraulic power to a variable force and speed, and the system also allows for energy recovery and performance improvement of the machine’s rotating loads.

Because of the new electro-hydraulic system’s greatly reduces energy losses and the power contribution from hydraulic accumulators, a smaller power source can be used, which lessens the need for cooling – that higher available power, the release said, leads to cycle times shortening, increased efficiency and cost benefits for customers.

Earning the award were Volvo CE teams from Sweden and South Korea, along with the Finnish company Norrhydro.

“We are really proud of this recognition, which we share with our collaboration partners,” said Kim Heybroek, research engineer for Volvo CE Emerging Technologies and a member of the winning team. “The potential in the innovation has been a strong driver for us in the project, making it an exciting journey to be part of, as we see the significant benefits it will offer for our customers and help build the world we want to live in.”

For more on the future of electric power in construction equipment, read an interview with Melker Jernberg, president of Volvo CE.

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