We produce fluid power solutions

Future prospects - efficiency and integration

“We create a strong value-added for customers through intelligent system solutions.“ Erich Hofer, CEO ARGO-HYTOS Group

Autonomous tractors in the cornfield: smart agriculture also requires innovative hydraulic concepts.

The key technologies for a successful future are becoming increasingly apparent, especially in the hydraulics industry: if you want to be a strong competitor on the market, you need to save resources and interconnect technologies.

“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” The need for energy transition was already recognized by the U.S. inventor and electrical engineer Thomas Alva Edison, born in 1847. We have known for a long time that saving energy and sustainability would become decisive cost and success factors. Skyrocketing energy prices and the relentless presence of climate change have made it clear to us once again how important it is to utilize resources effectively, also in the hydraulics industry.

Energy efficiency and decentralization

The ARGO-HYTOS Group recognized these trends early on. We analyze continuously the main causes for energy loss in hydraulics:

  • Losses during energy conversion in pumps, motors and cylinders
  • Losses in pipes, hoses and control blocks (HIC)
  • Losses in valves and through inefficient control architecture
  • Requirements of auxiliary units, for example, control and feed circuits or filtration

In addition to the continuous energy consumption optimization of all systems, decentralization is an important strategy to increase efficiency. The power here is distributed electrically instead of hydraulically using valve technology and a complex piping system; decentralized motor-pump units close to the actuators generate and distribute the hydraulic energy. The units can be optimally designed for a specific drive task. Losses due to pumps running idle and energy losses in lines and additional valves are avoided as far as possible. In this process, the control intelligence is often shifted from the central unit to the periphery.

The local control of the decentralized unit takes over control processes as well as monitoring processes while the central control merely supplies the next position of the drive as a control command. This reduces the complexity of the systems and simplifies commissioning.

From a component supplier to a system solution provider

The decentralized approach also brings new opportunities for suppliers like ARGO-HYTOS: OEMs are increasingly demanding ready-configured electrohydraulic systems with local intelligence in contrast to the past where individual components and hydraulic subsystems were requested. These electrohydraulic systems can be easily integrated into the customer’s products with no need to reinvent the wheel.

This allows also smaller manufacturers to partake in the market and launch, for example, commercial vehicles for agriculture or road construction without immense development effort. A good example brings an articulated dump truck with hydro-pneumatic suspension. It was possible to significantly reduce development time and effort by working together with ARGO-HYTOS application experts and using ready-made modules from the modular hydro-pneumatic suspension system. The design of cylinder sizes, pre-charging of the diaphragm accumulators or pipe diameters was carried out by ARGO-HYTOS based on machine data such as weight, loading conditions and speed. The software was configured and uploaded to the controller based on the proposed layout, and the control blocks and other accessories were selected. An initial functional test was carried out at the load test rig at ARGO-HYTOS. Before the system was even installed in the machine, all basic settings and functionalities had been tested and checked. Consequently, implementation was quick and easy.

Synergy with electronics

The hydraulics industry is experiencing an exponential demand for electronics and sensor technology. For example, sprayers require spray nozzles that adapt according to application where the amount of crop protection liquid or fertilizer needs to be adjusted to avoid overuse and to protect the environment.

Hydraulic systems are increasingly monitoring themselves with modern sensory and intelligent evaluation software and electronics, which saves a lot of effort and resources. In the past, frequent fluid laboratory analyses and regular filter and fluid change intervals were a precautionary necessity. Nowadays, particle counters continuously provide very precise data on the degree of contamination of a hydraulic fluid. This means that change intervals can be tailored to requirements and maintenance can be triggered automatically via cloud platforms when really necessary.

Decentralized logistics

Not just in the field of engineering are the trends pointing to decentralization but also in production and logistics. For a long time, it was not uncommon for the necessary components to be produced at one location and then shipped to the customer sites. Although this strategy allowed for higher volumes to be produced, it was also accompanied with risks due to disruptions in the supply chains while also causing increased transport costs. Reasonable and reliable transport costs are becoming more and more a challenge due to ever higher energy prices and political developments. Therefore, ARGO-HYTOS attaches great importance to a local-for-local approach where production takes place at the customer’s site whenever possible. Similarly, supplier parts are manufactured in the immediate vicinity of the production site and are thus readily available – with a strong focus on sustainability. This enables us to reduce inefficient logistics expenses and CO2 emissions sustainably. Shorter supply chains allow us to respond more quickly to changing requirements, which leads to higher flexibility.

Embarking on the future together

The future of the hydraulics industry is as complex as the technology itself. And the recent past has shown that nothing is more difficult than predicting the future. But one thing is for sure: it will be digital, integrative, energy-saving and, above all, sustainable. It is important for us to act responsibly in our daily work and reduce our CO2 footprint. The best example of this approach is our company-wide cLEAN campaign with which we are continuing to set the highest standards in terms of qualification and a streamlined production as well as administration.

But no matter where the journey takes us, the ARGO-HYTOS Group is well positioned – thanks to its pioneering technologies and innovations, user-oriented system solutions and smart applications. This successful development is based on a flexible, motivated and high-performance team. The takeover of the Voith Group underpins this path. The globally active, broadly positioned technology group stands by ARGO-HYTOS as a new, financially strong partner. The family-run group provides the basis for synergies, further growth and sustainable value creation – in a business environment that is becoming increasingly challenging, not least due to dynamic political developments and their economic impact.



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