As the “muscle” of mobile machinery, hydraulics is one of the key sectors represented at Agritechnica’s Systems & Components. Hydraulic circuits have been fundamental to human life for more than 2,500 years and in the past 400 years have been applied, quickly becoming one of the most technological and evolving fields, to mobile applications.
Hydraulics is one of the key systems in ensuring that all movements run smoothly, relying on the most basic principles of fluid dynamics. Pascal’s law from 1648 states that a change in pressure at any point in an enclosed fluid at rest is transmitted undiminished to all points in the fluid. Based on this law, hydraulics were used in the end of the eighteenth century to patent the first hydraulic press.
To speak of “hydraulics” today, we need to look to one of the leading hydraulics manufacturers, Bosch Rexroth, to better understand the market and the future. This company’s rich history goes back to 1795 when Georg Ludwig Rexroth put a water-powered hammer mill into operation in Elsavatal (Spessart). Today, Bosch Rexroth has more than 29,500 employees around the world working on a cross-industry approach of mobile applications.
Dieter Fetting, Vice President Sales and Industry Sector Management Agricultural and Forestry Machinery, Bosch Rexroth AG, was able to tell us where Bosch Rexroth sees the direction of the industry.
What are the market trends? What does the market require?
We currently see three major trends shaping the hydraulics market. First, we must meet new exhaust emissions targets. OEMs have to implement a whole host of measures to adapt to these requirements. The second challenge is the development of finding customized solutions for the various target markets and customer requirements. Finally, connectivity has become a very important topic in our sector, from connected actuators to sensors for digital assistance within the vehicles. These are necessary to prepare machines for the Internet of Things and incorporating applications like predictive maintenance and precision farming.
The key for mastering these three challenges lies in the electrification of agricultural and forestry machines. This will affect all market segments, from high-end vehicles to value solutions for emerging markets.
What are your products that reflect these trends?
Bosch Rexroth offers a broad portfolio of fully electrohydraulic components and modules. Former solely hardware based functions have been shifted into software, making it much easier for OEMs to integrate automatic functions and to adapt their vehicles to meet various market needs.
One example is the Electrohydraulic Hitch Control EHC-8 for tractors without a cabin. It satisfies the specific requirements of emerging economies, in particular with respect to robustness and demanding environmental conditions. The solution encompasses all necessary hydraulic and electronic components, including pre-programmed software.
Another example is the new, modular SB24/SB34 valve family from Rexroth. As a consistent modular system of sandwich valves it opens up new design possibilities for auxiliary- / directional- and hitch control valves in mid- and high-end tractor sectors. Electronic controlled pumps and motors for open and closed loop systems simplify the design and shift the variance into software, making it easy to adjust vehicles to certain requirements just by changing parameters.
What are you presenting at Systems & Components that best represents the market trends?
Based on the market, Bosch Rexroth will present the next generation of electrified hydraulic systems. They contribute to increased energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption as well as exhaust emissions. Electrohydraulics is the base for coming developments like driving assistance, automated processes and condition monitoring for predictive instead of preventive maintenance of vehicles.
This year’s theme of S&C is “Connectivity – Stay with us, stay connected!” How do your products and research reflect this theme?
Vehicle uptime, during its lifetime, largely depends on the right component design and timely maintenance and service. From an engineering perspective, the basis for replacing guesswork with real prediction is a precise knowledge of both the vehicle and its components, load cycles and wear conditions. Elaborate direct and indirect load cycle monitoring, trend, deviation and structural borne sound analysis and their correlation to component fatigue data are today’s tools for precise and instantaneous insights far beyond the basic tracking of machine hours.
Achieving this deep engineering view on wear becomes much easier with an IoT solution. Since the historically necessary manual (more or less) data logging and multi-step data analysis can not only be automated and thus performed at minimum cost, it can also be extended to correlations of more than usual data sets. Moreover, it can be comprehensively applied to entire fleets of machines rather than a single “wired” vehicle.
Engineering procedures and their algorithms for connectivity supported analytics to predict mechanic (axles, gears), hydraulic (pumps, valves) and engine components, health index and residual lifetime are all highlighted in these new systems. Besides the lifetime prediction for vehicles in operation that fleet managers will admire, these comprehensively pre-treated smart data sets also deliver much better real world specs for next generation vehicles to R&D departments.