A major shift towards electro-hydraulic pumping units is transforming the mobile hydraulics industry. One of the main factors contributing to the shift is to try and lower fuel consumption and emissions of mobile equipment. In the face of government-mandated emissions regulations, electro-hydraulic solutions offer a distinct advantage.
Traditional Hydraulic System Problems
In traditional hydraulic systems, the diesel engine is directly coupled to the hydraulic pump. In the worst cases, the pump runs at 100 percent pressure and flow for all hydraulic functions but the machine may only see average use of 20 percent of the power available.
A hydraulic manifold disseminates hydraulic oil throughout a circuit. Valves within the manifold regulate the flow of the pressurized oil. The oil is directed through hoses to a work device. Such a system can be easily customized. For example, B & R Manifolds is a company that currently supplies a wide array of pneumatic and hydraulic manifolds to the industry. They can be customized according to the needs of a specific application.
Benefits Of Electro-Hydraulic Systems
Companies are looking at electro-hydraulic solutions where the hydraulic pump is decoupled from the internal combustion engine. Sometimes this element can be eliminated altogether.
A key feature that makes electro-hydraulic systems more efficient is the power-on-demand aspect. To put it simply, the motor pump unit only spins when flow and pressure are needed for work functions. No energy is used when work isn’t needed. This is vastly preferable to keeping an engine and pump idling. It also means that the lifespan of components increases, especially seals and bearings.
Control Amount And Direction Of Hydraulic Flow
Another advantage of an electro-hydraulic motor pump unit is being able to control the amount and direction of hydraulic flow. This is made possible by controlling the speed and direction of the electric motor. In industrial hydraulics, controllers and stepper motors utilize this concept in injection molding machines.
This has great potential in mobile equipment, as it means removal of directional and proportional valves to the hydraulic circuit. These valves are not efficient. They are also expensive, create heat, and make troubleshooting and maintenance difficult.
More Compact And Lightweight
Greater efficiency and control aren’t the only benefits of electro-hydraulics. As these units do not have to be driven by a diesel or gas engine, the space and weight usually occupied can be replaced with a more compact, lighter package driven by high-energy battery packs. An integrated electro-hydraulic package offers even more benefit. It contains the electric motor, controller, and hydraulic pump in one compact unit.
Simple Trouble-Shooting And Repair
Every work function is paired to a single electro-hydraulic unit. As each circuit is isolated, troubleshooting and repair are more sight-forward.
Comparable Cost To Install
Electro-hydraulic motor pump units used to be considered too expensive and return on investment didn’t justify the initial cost. Now that more companies are developing and installing these solutions, the cost is dropping. At this point, integrated electro-hydraulics solutions are comparable in price to traditional hydraulic solutions.