Lightweight construction is considered an important trend and driver as OEMs strive to make off-road machinery more efficient and productive. It’s also becoming more significant in many stationary applications. In mobile equipment, for example, weight savings can increase operating speeds, allow for larger attachments and booms, and raise payloads. And, of course, it often reduces emissions and fuel consumption.
Liebherr Component Technologies AG, based in Bulle, Switzerland, has developed a line of hybrid hydraulic cylinders said to offer significant weight saving that results in higher efficiency and effectiveness in numerous applications.
The hybrid cylinders are classic components made of steel in a carbon-fiber reinforced (CRP) wrapping. Many years of experience in the development and production of hydraulic cylinders and expertise in the field of fiber composites have led to this successful combination. If weight plays a crucial role in a given application, hybrid cylinders are the right choice, according to the Components group specialists. Here, straightforward interchangeability of existing Liebherr hydraulic cylinders is possible. When specifically designing a hybrid component to save weight, the positive characteristics of fiber composites, such as stiffness, strength and density become advantages.
With suitable design expertise, all of the company’s hydraulic cylinders can be wrapped with CRP. In some application areas, solutions are even possible without an extensive development effort. The hybrid cylinder variant is integrated as a standard in the 380 bar (5,511 psi) series and is available as a separate option.
The company has reportedly already achieved noteworthy results, for example in field test trials in the mining sector.
Liebherr is now ready to transfer this knowledge to other mobile and industrial applications and further expand the scope of products. The ultimate goal is not only a hybrid cylinder but a full-fledged CRP one. Although there are still a number of steps to be taken before this can be achieved, engineers are working on merging concepts between steel and fiber composite parts, for example, and testing the results. The implementation of CRP conversions in conjunction with steel components are applicable to other products in the portfolio, for example, piston accumulators.
Liebherr also recently introduced an online-based configurator that lets engineers individually configure all hydraulic cylinder series via the company’s website. Depending on the application and requirements, the configurator offers numerous variations among the 380 bar series for mobile applications (including hybrid cylinders), the ISO 6022 series for industrial, and the 260 bar series as a link between mobile and stationary applications.
The configuration tool provides a versatile selection of easily combinable and modular options for a wide range of applications. It’s designed to support engineers, technicians, buyers and product managers who are specifically looking for a product and need a quick answer. “When it comes to selecting and assembling the right product, the configurator offers assistance through stored logic and targeted user guidance,” explains Jan Winter, a product manager at Liebherr Components.
A corresponding 3D simulation provides the user with an up-to-date visual representation of the result. Should the requirement lie outside the range of the standard series, potential options are stored in order to permit a special inquiry.
In addition to a clear data sheet, 3D models of individually configured cylinders can be downloaded immediately and permit design engineers to install the hydraulic cylinder directly in the customer’s digital application.
The configurator is currently available in two languages, English and German; other languages will be added in the future. And if a customer requests a quote for a created configuration, this is easily possible via the tool. An offer with the corresponding price is made within one working day of the request.
The Components group continues to expand its product portfolio in the hydraulics sector. In addition to hydraulic cylinders, Liebherr has recently offered piston accumulators as a standardized series. This paves the way for the integration of these products into the online configurator, according to the company.