Digital Displacement® can speed the way to an electrified future

With more than 620,000 visitors, this year’s Bauma exhibition was the largest ever – bringing together construction equipment manufacturers and customers from around the world.

For Artemis major shareholder Danfoss Power Solutions it was a chance to showcase Digital Displacement® technologies to an industry-focused audience – and explain how it can help speed the way towards an electrified future.

As always, the big industry driver is improved productivity per dollar invested, which Digital Displacement pumps address head on – but Danfoss were also keen to explain the wider system benefits and potential new architectures that Digital Displacement technology can bring.

This is particularly true for applications with heavy hydraulic duty cycles such as wheel loaders, excavators and forestry machines.

In an industry workshop, Danfoss engineers were able to talk through a simple ‘plug and play’ scenario where Danfoss engineers compared a conventional diesel-powered excavator with an identical excavator equipped with a straight-swap Digital Displacement pump.

Results showed a 15.3 percent improvement in trenching distance in an hour and 13.4 percent less fuel consumed per meter of trench, making a digitally-enabled demonstrator 16.7 percent more productive than the current market leader.

However, according to Danfoss, what the audience grasped really well was that this was just the start – and that by placing a computer-controlled multi-outlet pump at the heart of a machine, whole new architectures could be achieved.

This would deliver future machines which offer more control and longer duty cycles with smaller engines and less energy consumed – whether that energy comes from diesel or battery.

Integrated digital electric

At the same time a big theme at Bauma was the drive towards electrification – and in this market segment improved system efficiency becomes crucial.

Danfoss has already made a major step into this sector with the acquisition of Editron. Yet a major concern voiced at Bauma continues to be the length of duty cycle for battery vehicles – the off-road equivalent of ‘range anxiety’. And in this the value of system efficiency is critical.

To address this, Artemis and Danfoss both believe the next big step will be to integrate Digital Displacement technology alongside electric power drives.

If, by fully-utilising the system-wide architectures enabled by Digital Displacement, we can reduce overall energy consumption this can lead to smaller batteries or longer duty cycles – which could be revolutionary for the off-road sector.

Today a 17-tonne wheel loader equipped with Danfoss’s Editron powertrain and a Digital Displacement® pump can deliver a 30 percent extended work cycle. So if we compare two electric off-highway machines, the one with Digital Displacement can run longer, or can use a smaller battery than one without. This could translate into a €27,000 saving on the battery, and a significant reduction in annual running cost.

In the long term we believe that a combination of electric drives and Digital Displacement technology will revolutionize the off-road sector, and Danfoss’s experience at Bauma confirmed a very strong industry interest in this view.