At IFPE this week, several major manufacturers canceled their presence due to the risks associated with COVID-19. Eaton Corp. was one of the first to notify media they were no longer attending the event.
An IFPE without an Eaton or any of the other large fluid power companies means the public was not provided the chance to learn what these innovators were planning to showcase at the event, so Eaton representatives took time to give me a virtual walkthrough of what their booth would have entailed. Fluid Power World will also follow-up this virtual tour of the booth demonstrations with a deeper look at the various product releases in the coming weeks.
Our tour guides include:
- Brent Schenk, Global Product Manager – Medium-Pressure Closed-Circuit Piston Products
- Kenny Befus, Global Product Manager – Steering
- Matt DeBruine, Global Product Management Leader – Drives and System Solutions
Right at the entry to the Eaton booth was going to be a display of the new X3 closed-circuit piston pumps and motors. According to Schenk, the X3 will originally be launched with 41 and 49 cc displacements. The motor is a cartridge motor, which is already in production. A standard flange mount design will be coming later this year, Schenk said.
The X3 will be targeted for use in midsize vehicles — those with less than a hundred horsepower. These would include smaller sprayers, aerial work platforms, etc.
“It’s a brand-new line of servo pumps and variable motors that features the same rotating group that was in our reliable servo line,” Schenk said.
Quite a bit of the pump has been redesigned, particularly the packaging. “The package sizes come considerably smaller than anything we’ve offered in the pressure range,” Schenk said. “Pressure range is 350 bar operating pressure and 380 bar peak. And then for those pressure ranges, the package sizes are very competitive. A big focus of this product line was the package size.”
Evolution of machine architecture
Next up in the booth would have been an overview of the evolution of machine architectures. “So our first stop in our journey would be looking at a telehandler and on that telehandler we would really focus on some of our electrohydraulic solutions, — our suite of electronic controls, the HFX, SFX and VFX,” DeBruine said. “It will bring you through a look at our Series 2 pump and our motor configurations for propel of a telehandler and it would look at some of the new technologies we have in regards to our cartridge valve portfolio and how it can be used to control boom bounce on telehandlers. A video of this technology in use can be seen at eaton.com/powertosolve.
“And then last but certainly not least on this demo is probably our most sophisticated product — our CMA valve, which is an independent metering valve,” DeBruine said. “This sectional valve can be used for multiple functions on a machine, an intelligent product that’s measuring pressures and temperatures in real time and making decisions to improve machine efficiency and performance.
Moving into an electrified world
“As you move from there throughout the booth, we looked at a mini excavator with a keen focus on what we would call blended power. What we are approaching in this area is really the evolution of machine design as we go from machines that were driven by diesel engines, to machines that in the future, are going to be run by hybrid engines such as a motor generator and a diesel engine, but then also battery powered machines,” DeBruine continued. “So, we still have a keen focus on electrohydraulics and how they’re used in an application. As we see the market evolving, this is a machine that is very well suited to be transformed into an electrified world rather quickly.”
Here, Eaton was going to showcase its suite of 220 pumps with electronic displacement control. With these pumps you can essentially send CAN messages to a pump and have it make decisions based on control algorithms. In this same area would have been Eaton’s well-known swing motors and track motors as well as some of the e-mobility products.
“So we were going to talk about the whole world of hydraulics kind of reinventing itself and leveraging electronics. And so how do you manage that electrical power more efficiently and effectively across the machine,” DeBruine continued. “And there was a look at the ever-changing machine architecture landscape and how we as an organization are well suited to satisfy OEM’s needs in this space.”
“I would argue that electrification is absolutely at the forefront of our minds,” DeBruine said. “We do believe that certain applications are more suited for electrification due to battery size and battery capacity. It’s not to say that the focus will go from diesel and hydraulics to batteries and wires. We will still see hydraulics as an integral part of the machine and we’ll still be providing hydraulic power to the machine.”
In this regard, Eaton is entertaining multiple projects to extend battery life and to create more value to the OEMs and the end users.
Upon leaving the mini excavator demo, visitors would have had an opportunity to participate in an immersive steer-by-wire experience. This demo was essentially like sitting in a wheel loader or tractor’s cab, said Befus. The demo unit features a steering wheel and joystick controls on both arms, allowing the user to navigate between different formats of steering.
Here, Eaton’s new SBX valve could be used for electrohydraulic steering or users could use steer-by-wire for complete control of the electronics, said Befus.
The company just launched its SBX advanced steering valve, a fail-operational steer-by-wire valve for off-highway machinery.
“The joysticks and rear axles are all completely functional, allowing you to do all-wheel or crab steering,” Befus said. “It is a pretty cool, comprehensive demo providing great educational value.”
The demo vehicle is being returned to Eaton’s Eden Prairie campus and will eventually be available for demo use there in the near future.
Finally, the last piece of the puzzle would have been Eaton’s fluid conveyance products as well as a look at the options Eaton offers for its premium and standard-tier products.
Visit www.eaton.com for more details on these new technologies and stay tuned for more details from Fluid Power World as the official product releases become available.