The Future for Excavators
Bauma always kicks-off with the issuing of several awards for innovation and 2016 was no exception.
Among finalists representing
hydraulics technology were the STEAM Hybrid Excavator built by RWTH Aachen University in the research sector, pipe-laying equipment from Harald Gollwitzer Spezialtiefbau GmbH in the construction process/work category and a wheeled excavator from Mecalac in the design category.
University and industry groups give engineers the opportunity to look outside the box when it comes to engineering design. This freedom to explore new ways of doing things lays behind all innovations that have taken place over the years.
For industry, supporting University driven research and development is a cost effective way to find solutions for the future - solutions that are then available to all manufacturers to further enhance products and to facilitate production.
In the last issue of Contractors World International we featured the ‘Concept Cab’ - a universal cab for the future. This time we look at developments in hybrid technology as manufacturers face ever increasing demands to produce equipment with minimal emissions.
The impetus behind the STEAM excavator, according to Aachen officials, is that fluctuating fuel prices, more stringent emissions regulations and increasing environmental awareness is spurring interest in highly efficient mobile machines, especially in the premium segment.
However, most of today’s machines have a total efficiency of less than 10%, meaning that only a fraction of the energy in fuel is actually converted into mechanical power. Low efficiency is mainly caused by inefficient operation of the engine and throttling losses across hydraulic valves.