The Art of Making Smart Drives
April 9, 2018
At the “Smart Power Transmission and Fluid Power Solutions” showcase at HANNOVER MESSE 2018 (Hall 23), demonstrations by power transmission and fluid power experts from Aventics, Bosch Rexroth, Schaeffler, Bucher Hydraulik, Linde Hydraulics, Moog and Argo Hytos will illustrate smart solutions that hinge not only on Industry 4.0 technologies, but also on tweaking existing systems on an ongoing basis. How this can look in the real world was sketched out as follows by Peter-Michael Synek, Deputy General Manager of Germany’s VDMA Fluid Power Association, which is co-organizing the showcase with Deutsche Messe. Synek: “Today’s manufacturers of hydraulic and pneumatic components and systems are in many cases realizing decentralized drive solutions by integrating intelligent digital technology that enables hydraulic motors and pumps to communicate with valves and cylinders and exchange data with higher-level control systems. Proportional hydraulic and servo-pneumatic systems are prime examples of this.”
The message here is that digital intelligence is being used to keep tried-and-trusted building blocks of industrial technology competitive. For instance, builders and users of automated machinery systems value the high versatility and simple structure of pneumatic drive systems. And in mobile drive applications and high-performance processing machines, hydraulic systems offer the benefits of high power density, ruggedness, overload protection and space-saving dimensions. But now, increasingly the trend is to combine these strengths with electronics and IT to add new functionality and characteristics, such as improved energy efficiency, increased uptime, faster initial setup, and maintenance that is more tailored to actual needs.
Bucher Hydraulics will be demonstrating this new paradigm with a novel drive that combines the benefits of electric drive technology with those of hydraulic technology. Bucher’s “electrified” hydraulic drive supports 4-quadrant operation, is energy efficient, can recover the braking energy generated during load lowering and speed reduction, and can be implemented as a decentralized subsystem that lends itself to “plug & run” operation. The drive is designed for applications in stationary machines and industrial trucks.
Linde Hydraulics will likewise be presenting an example of intelligent fluid power technology designed for industrial trucks. Dubbed “Shift in Motion”, the system enables automated, smooth gear shifts on the move, but without the expense of synchronized gearing. This enhances driver comfort as well as reducing fuel consumption and noise emissions. In another excellent example of added intelligence through electronics and IT, the gearbox variable displacement pump, servomotor and actuator are controlled by a Linde iCon drive controller.
Bosch Rexroth will be showcasing its CytroPac hydraulic power unit. Comprising a motor, pump sensors and an in-built frequency converter that functions as a local controller, it is a very compact, all-in-one module. Designed for easy installation in machine tools, CytroPac comes fully wired, ready to “plug & run”, making initial setup very fast. Its variable-speed drive delivers only the output actually required, thereby reducing energy consumption by up to 80 percent. Thanks to its built-in decentralized intelligence, the unit continuously monitors all of its own operating states, including pressure, temperature and contamination, and sends the data to the machine controller for use in preventive maintenance.
The CytroPac unit delivers a maximum hydraulic power of 4 kW and a maximum flow of 35 l/min. It communicates with the machine controller via multiple industry-standard real-time network interfaces (Sercos, Profinet, EtherCAT) and has an acoustically insulated housing for low-noise operation.
The “Smart Power Transmission and Fluid Power Solutions” showcase will also feature pneumatic technology in the form of the “Smart Pneumatics Monitor” (SPM) by Aventics . Designed as a central module for networked pneumatics, the SPM gathers data from smart pneumatic valves in order to monitor the “health status” of entire machines. It monitors various operating states, analyzes and processes the resulting data and makes it available to users for condition-based maintenance purposes. For users, this automated solution delivers the twin benefits of cost savings and increased machine availability.
These are just a few of the exhibits and demonstration units at the “Smart Power Transmission and Fluid Power Solutions” showcase. In their totality, they will give IAMD visitors a concentrated look at the many benefits of highly integrated, intelligent drive systems. These benefits apply right across the board to all forms of drive technology, whether electric, mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic. The exhibits and demonstrations will show that the key to creating best-in-class drive solutions lies combining tried-and-proven drive technologies with the intelligence of control and feedback systems, sensors, diagnostic equipment and IT. The results are Industry 4.0-style integrated, self-regulating drive systems that integrate perfectly into the digitization strategies of machinery manufacturers and operators. At IAMD, prime examples of these systems will of course not be confined to this special showcase; they will also be very much in evidence at numerous individual stands featuring leading manufacturers of drive components and systems.