IFPE 2020 was nearly two months away but because manufacturers use the event as a springboard for their many innovations throughout the year, new developments constantly follow the show.
One company highlighting its recent technological innovations is Bosch Rexroth, which did not exhibit at the show due to its own COVID-19 travel restrictions. Despite not attending, Bosch Rexroth said the show would have been its opportunity to highlight how it is promoting digital transformation.
Terry Hershberger, Director Sales Product Management Mobile Hydraulics, said this process of digital transformation means “action and moving and changing, and that’s what we’re doing as a company and that’s what the industry is doing.” In a recent conversation, Hershberger walked me through a virtual tour of the Bosch Rexroth booth and how these changes manifest themselves in its new technologies.
The transformation begins with its compact directional valve lines, as the company combined its 40 lpm valves with new valves — the RM10, RM15, and a new valve called the EDG. “When we start to look at machinery requirements that need high flow and low flow and something in between on the pressure measurements as well, this is where we see compact hydraulics is continuing to expand and build up. I’ll call it a Lego-block building approach, with what we’re doing on the compact directional valves.
The EDG series was designed for small hydraulic implemented systems in mobile elevated working platforms, truck-mounted cranes, compact construction, agricultural and municipal vehicles. Two versions are rated for 350 bar (5,000 psi) and 40lpm (10.5 gpm) with internally optimized low pressure drop.
Rexroth was also highlighting a new compact gearbox unit, which was designed more for the agricultural market, particularly in San Joaquin Valley in California where there’s a multiple number of specialty machines. Whether it is used with a hydraulic or electric motor, changing ratios is easily down with its modular design, said Hershberger.
For heavy-duty applications, Rexroth has released its new MCR-T radial piston motor in frame size 8 for compact tracked loaders. It uses a rotary group design, which offers up to 55% increase in maximum torque, enhanced durability and a 20% increase in flow capability compared with the existing and dimensionally similar frame size 6.
MCR-T radial piston motors are designed for continuous high rotational speeds, in the toughest track drive applications, so that compact tracked loaders can also cover longer distances. Via the control valve integrated in the motor, the operator can shift smoothly between travel speeds with the soft-shift mode operating in both directions of travel.
“This was designed for use in heavy duty applications where there’s a lot of axial load, so having that extra varying capability from a larger motor down into the smaller frame-size motor just provides for a lot more opportunity, durability, and duty-cycle wear,” Hershberger said.
Up next in this area would have been Bosch Rexroth’s new Quad Drive system, which provides speed as well as anti-slip control in a parallel circuit.
Resurgence in gear products
Hershberger said a big display would have been dedicated to its gear products, which are making a little bit of a comeback, due to fact electric drives are becoming so popular now. “We actually can have a variable pump now with a gear pump instead, so we’re looking at this high-pressure, low-weight and more compact applications where we weren’t able to fit before.
“The other side of that is, we continue our development with our helical gear sets, and as well, the low noise. And really when we talk about low-noise and noisy environments from the gear pump, we talk about pulsations in the system, so there’s amplitude we have to deal with. And so, we’re attacking that. We would have had what’s basically a noise profile on the booth to be able to show that.”
After highlighting its product developments at IFPE, Bosch Rexroth’s booth would then have focused on some machine-specific application kiosks, with a look at mobile elevating work platforms or boom lifts. Here, they would have shown their decentralized boom control, and how its new lines, like the EDG, cylinders and gear pumps are integrated into these machines for functionally safe control. Other technologies, including object detection and collision avoidance sensing systems were to be a key focus here.
Here too, Hershberger said Rexroth’s new E-motion valve would have been reviewed, as the discussed how they can integrate and do a lot of things with electronic flow management and precise control.
Like many others, for off-highway solutions, Bosch Rexroth would have highlighted its electronified systems. “Part of the digital transformation is moving to electrohydraulics pretty much on all applications; yes, we have the traditional ones, but more and more people are wanting to know what the machine is doing, reporting that back, and integrating conductivity on the machine,” he said. “And so what we wanted to showcase there is again off-the-shelf solutions that we have in the portfolio from what we call software solutions.”
In this area, electronic load-sensing was to have been a focus. “Electronic load sense can really benefit us in two ways. One, it’s energy efficiency. Then it offers better reaction times, function control in a much smoother way and energy savings from fuel standpoint,” Hershberger said.
Here too was Rexroth’s EFM or electronic flow management software, which is based around the functionality of the machine.
Torque control would have been a major theme, too, said Hershberger, because here you’re talking about now replacing the hydraulic motor with an electric motor. “The reason we did electronified solutions is that it really doesn’t matter then whether we are driving with an electric motor or hydraulic motor, it’s a matter of knowing what the torque is needed at the wheel, because the know-how of how need drag the machine is the same,” Hershberger said.
This is where the company’s new and exciting valve line would have come into play. The RM10 and RM15 load sensing valve platform offers flow rates of 90 and 150 lpm respectively. The product is based around an easy to configure, flexible assembly technique that allows for the quick, off-the-shelf configuration. Unlike many competitive designs, this valve lines does not require a transition between it and the current M4-12 portfolio.
IoT and security
In addition to functional safety and IoT sensing technologies, Bosch Rexroth wanted to highlight its solutions from a mobile standpoint. The company is known for industrial IoT, so it took a look at its series 40 controllers and pressure transducers and temperature sensors, for connectivity options.
Here Bosch’s infrastructure and its cloud management services, including data security, would have been a hot topic, said Hershberger. “It’s important to be able to manage that data on the machine, but also manage how much is getting put into the cloud,” he said. “Because if I’m pushing data all the time to the cloud, we could have a problem. It’s just overloading the system with data — you have to pay for data just like your cell phone plan. So how much data do I really want to send? The device management side that’s important is this is that we call it.
“We wanted to add something from the hydraulics data that’s on the machine pressures or flows or whatever is out there, so you’re only putting the data to the bus that you need and then to the cloud that you need.
Hershberger added that this device management is a scalable system and in that off-the-shelf way, and customize designs to use only those that are needed. “So we only have an essential package or a compact package, whatever is there to build up on this, but it’s a good comprehensive solution,” he said.