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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Award-winning innovation from Volvo CE

Volvo

Groundbreaking electro-hydraulic system for excavators wins Volvo Technology Award

THE novel common pressure rail hybrid system applied to Volvo excavators, resulting in radical improvements in energy-efficiency, has received the Volvo Technology Award 2021.

Said to break new ground for hydraulic efficiency in excavators, the common pressure rail hybrid system by Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) is yet another innovation improving performance while reducing CO2 emissions in line with Volvo Group’s net-zero value ambitions by 2040.

The Volvo CE team from Sweden and South Korea worked closely with Finnish company Norrhydro in the research project, leveraging an idea initially born out of academic collaborations.

Today, the innovation has matured into a real-world solution with ongoing customer trials in the field and is expected to accelerate the introduction of e-mobility across Volvo CE’s larger excavator platform. The company expects the new technology to be available in the excavator market in the near future.

‘This innovation enables Volvo CE to offer their customers a truly unique electro-hydraulic solution, pushing fuel efficiency to new levels,’ said Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer at Volvo Group. ‘It’s demonstrating the passion of our engineers to bring forward customer-oriented solutions and systems that will drive the transformation towards net-zero emissions operations.’

The innovation allows new ways to reduce energy losses in hydraulics. In the new system architecture, all the machine’s work functions are connected to hydraulic energy storage via a common pressure rail consisting of two or more pressure lines.

The energy storage, which consists of hydraulic accumulators, allows energy-efficient recovery of kinetic energy and peak power supply. For cylinder-driven functions, so-called ‘smart actuators’ are used to achieve energy-efficient conversion from hydraulic power to variable force and speed.

Thanks to greatly reduced energy losses and the power contribution from the hydraulic accumulators, a smaller power source can be used and the need for cooling is reduced. With a higher available power, cycle times can be shortened, eg when loading a truck, contributing to both efficiency increases and cost benefits for the customer.

‘We are really proud of this recognition, which we share with our collaboration partners,’ said Kim Heybroek, Volvo CE emerging technologies research engineer and a member of the winning team.

‘The potential in the innovation has been a strong driver for us in the project, making it an exciting journey to be part of, as we see the significant benefits it will offer for our customers in helping to build the world we want to live in.’

The Volvo Technology Award is a mark of recognition for outstanding technical advances that contribute to the enhancement of the Volvo Group’s high-tech competitiveness and technological expertise.

Previous recipients have included world-famous innovations such as the City Filter, used to purify truck and bus exhausts, Volvo’s side airbags (SIPS) and the Electric Site emission-free quarry research project.

The winners of the Volvo Technology Award 2021 are: Kim Heybroek, Sangki Bae, Junwoo Kim, Byeongmo Ko, Donghun Oh, Wonkil Choe, Wontaek Oh and Namgyu Kim.

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