A Novel Multi-Pump System for Hydraulic Actuation in Electric Mobile Machinery
Keywords:Electrification, digitalization, multi-pump system, control optimization
An observable trend nowadays is the change in the prime movers of mobile heavy machinery to electric alternatives to achieve more eco-friendly equipment. These solutions often require large and heavy batteries with limited capacity, making the research of more efficient components and the development of different system architectures an important topic of study. Hydraulic actuation is still a relevant application for these vehicles because of its reliability, controllability, and high power density. The electrification and digitalization of mobile machinery allow for innovative designs and control strategies to be implemented that take advantage of electro-hydraulic systems and their characteristics. Similar research has shown that a higher number of degrees of freedom allow for the system to operate with higher total efficiency. This paper introduces a novel actuation architecture that combines multiple fixed displacement hydraulic pumps and on/off directional valves to control the position and force of two hydraulic actuators for the working functions of a mobile machine. Each pump is powered by a variable speed electric drive so that each one can be operated independently, and together with the set of directional valves, allows the selection of different combinations of pumps and flow sharing between the actuators’ chambers to achieve the desired flow and pressure on each cylinder. The multi-pump system favours the use of smaller pumps, and the possibility of combining their flows reduces the need to operate the components at lower efficiency points such as partial displacement. At the same time, controlling the pumps’ flow through the variable-speed electric motors means that throttling valves are not needed. The development of this architecture will allow for its use in mathematical models to analyse its behaviour and efficiency and to obtain insights regarding points of improvement in the system architecture.
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