Reduced consumption, increased efficiency
The off-road machinery of today is still highly reliant on the technology of yesterday, with the majority of vehicles still dependent on standard axial piston pumps which offer only around 30 percent efficiency from ‘engine to bucket’.
Many of these vehicles operate in remote locations where diesel power is the only feasible option, whilst others operate in urban environments where emissions can present significant challenges.
The heavy daily power consumption of off-road vehicles means there is no easy route to fully decarbonise the sector. Off-road machinery represents 55 per cent of the global hydraulic market, with around 250,000 excavators manufactured each year.
We have just completed field tests of a 16 tonne excavator fitted with a Digital Displacement® pump in place of the standard axial-piston analogue pump. The Digital Displacement pump was installed as a direct replacement, without making significant changes to the overall system. Expert operators have noted the feeling of greater power and productivity which results.
This project, supported by Scottish Enterprise, has shown exceptional results.
Benchmarking to a conventional 16 tonne excavator, fuel consumption on a standard work cycle was reduced between 16 and 21 percent, whilst at the same time, productivity (cycles per hour) was increased by 11-12 percent.
We have already begun our next phase, in which we will take advantage of more of the unique features of our technology to further reduce energy losses in the proportional valves. We expect this to lead a total of 30% fuel consumption benefit.
Ultimately, we aim to make a ‘fully digital’ excavator, replacing the whole system with our Digital Displacement technology. In this configuration, we estimate fuel consumption will be reduced by more than 50 percent, allowing significant engine size reduction. We are already working behind the scenes on the core technology we need to achieve this.