Assessing Five Key Areas of Modern Hydraulic Power Units

Any manufacturing facility that uses hydraulics powered by conventional fixed-speed hydraulic power units (HPUs) has engineers and personnel who know all too well how large, noisy, and inefficient older HPUs can be. In the past, such features were simply an accepted part of the manufacturing environment. But now, advances in engineering and design have led to new variable-speed power units that are smaller, quieter, and more efficient, intended for use in a wide variety of applications, and can directly replace traditional hydraulic systems.

Like other types of variable-speed, electrically driven equipment, variable-speed HPUs are significantly more energy-efficient than their fixed-speed counterparts. In addition, with built-in sensors, diagnostics, and cloud capabilities, they can be easily connected to an IoT environment to deliver valuable productivity and predictive maintenance data. Altogether, these benefits make modern hydraulic power units an attractive alternative to traditional units for energy efficiency, reduced cooling requirements, lower noise levels and increased reliability.

For engineers that specify new equipment or are charged with updating or replacing older HPUs, variable-speed systems provide more efficient options to consider before choosing where to invest.

When replacing or retrofitting an HPU, manufacturing engineers are advised to consider some key metrics that differentiate modern hydraulic system design from conventional systems: size, noise, energy efficiency, connectivity, and total cost of ownership.

1. Size: The overall size of an HPU is determined largely by the size of its hydraulic fluid reservoir. For traditional HPUs, the generally accepted rule is to size the reservoir a minimum of three to five times the maximum pump flow, to allow for degassing (time enough for the oil to sit in the reservoir and air bubbles to rise to the surface). For example, to achieve a max flow of 150 L using this old rule requires an approximately 600-L reservoir, which occupies a considerable amount of space within the unit’s footprint.

Read more: Assessing Five Key Areas of Modern Hydraulic Power Units

Volvo Launches L200H High Lift Loader, Boosts Productivity

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE), which marketed its first high-lift wheel loader in 1974, has launched the L200H High Lift in North America, featuring a 27 percent increase in lifting capacity and a 13 percent larger grapple than the L180H model it replaces.

This, combined with a stronger base unit, means the L200H High Lift can handle more material per hour, the company says.

A new loading unit features a reinforced lift arm system, crossbeam, and rotator unit. This increases the machine’s maximum lifting capacity from 19,401 pounds on the L180H High Lift to 24,600 pounds. Volvo-designed grapples come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit site requirements. To accommodate this extra capacity and ensure the stability of the loader, larger 875-type low-profile L4 tires come standard.

With the ability to stack to almost 23 feet high—60 percent higher than a conventional wheel loader, according to the company—the Volvo High Lift arm design makes the most of yard storage capacity. The L200H High Lift also features 360-degree rotation and the ability to tilt. The new, stronger rotator unit is maintenance-free and features an integrated dampening system that also improves stability.

The machine allows travel over rough terrains at speed, can work comfortably on uneven ground, and exerts minimal stress on paved surfaces due to its four wide tires and articulated steering.

A new external axle oil cooling system reduces the temperature of the axles, which in turn increases their lifetime, as well as that of the brakes. It also includes an oil filter that keeps the axle oil clean for longer, the company says, increasing the oil change interval to 4,000 hours (or 18 months).

Gear shifting has been optimized to suit the new increased workloads, resulting in fast acceleration and smooth operation, Volvo says. Proven technologies such as OptiShift, which integrates the Reverse-By-Braking function and torque converter with lock-up, are meant to further support fuel efficiency.

The L200H High Lift is the first high-lift variant to be compatible with Load Assist, Volvo’s suite of apps that is accessed from the in-cab Co-Pilot display and designed to enhance productivity and profitability.

The On-Board Weighing app provides real-time insights into the grapple’s payload to help eliminate overloading, underloading, reweighing, and wait times. The Operator Coaching Advanced app helps operators use the loader to its full potential by providing real-time information and guidance.

Load Assist also includes a tire pressure monitoring system, which provides the ability to check the pressure and temperature of air-inflated and hydro-inflated tires from the cab.

The L200H High Lift comes with a choice of seats. A specially designed multifunction lever ensures precise control of the hydraulics, and operators can personalize settings from their smartphones.

To reduce operator fatigue and improve productivity, the optional Comfort Drive Control gives operators the opportunity to steer the machine using a lever instead of the steering wheel—boosting effectiveness in fast-paced truck unloading.

And because operators must be constantly aware of what’s happening around their machines, a new optional front-view camera provides additional visibility at the front of the machine and on top of the stack, with the view displayed on a dedicated in-cab monitor.

Read more: Volvo Launches L200H High Lift Loader, Boosts Productivity

John Deere Expands G-tier Wheel Loader Offerings in North America

After a successful introduction into the Canadian market in 2021, John Deere expands its G-tier wheel loader offerings to the United States with the 644 G-tier wheel loader, continuing the transition to Performance Tiering .

As part of the John Deere Performance Tiering Strategy, customers can benefit from tailored offerings that provide more performance, comfort and economical options. The expansion of this line up also includes the new 544 G-tier wheel loader now available in Canada.

The 544 G-tier provides customers working in a variety of applications with a no-frills, versatile, and reliable solution backed by John Deere and its dealer network.

“Not every customer is looking for the most technology in a machine. By introducing the 544 G-tier in Canada and expanding the availability of the 644 G-tier into the United States, we are providing our customers with options to help meet their diverse needs,” said Luke Gribble, solutions marketing manager, John Deere.

“The G-tier models support customers looking for reliability, without the added extras that they would find in a P-tier or X-tier machine, and that fit their investment levels as well. With the G-tier models, customers are getting the versatility and ruggedness in a machine, without any compromises.”

Now available in the United States, the 644 G-tier leverages industry-proven components and is equipped with a cab design that promotes ease of operation. With the 644 G-tier machines, John Deere delivers a solution ideal for customers in the governmental, rental, site development and asphalt industries, according to the manufacturer.

The 644 G-tier Wheel Loaders boast a reliable John Deere 6.8L engine and feature John Deere Teammate axles. Customers can customize the machine through a variety of base-level packages, including options related to locking differentials, ride control, seats, radio and rear chassis work-lights.

Making its debut in the Canadian market, the 544 G-tier is designed to provide a more economical solution in the 3-yard loader size class that does not sacrifice the performance and quality customers expect from a John Deere machine. The 544 G-tier controls were designed with operators of all skillsets and productivity in mind, offering a simplified setup and overall functionality.

Promoting ease of operation, the in-cab controls include adjustable boom-height kickout, return to carry and return to dig, which can be easily activated from inside the cab, speeding production times during repetitive applications. In addition, the 544 G-tier is an ideal machine for those looking for a capable machine for rental, agriculture, governmental and snow removal applications.

Further expanding machine capability, the 544 G-tier can be equipped with optional features to help tackle even the most challenging applications. Optional features include a hydraulic reversing fan, axle coolers and front locking differentials, helping to keep it at peak performance.

Backed by the network of John Deere dealers, the 544 G-tier machines are easy to service, helping to keep the job site running smoothly, the manufacturer said.

The optional third and fourth function hydraulics allow additional attachments to be equipped on the machine, amplifying job versatility. On the 544 G-tier, John Deere customers can choose between pin-on bucket options as well as a Hi-Vis/ISO or JRB style couplers, which are compatible with K -Series, L-series and Performance Tiering buckets and attachments. Customers needing extra reach on the job can add high-lift linkage to gain an additional 14 in. of hinge-pin height over standard linkage.

Read more: John Deere Expands G-tier Wheel Loader Offerings in North America


Bobcat has added two new rotary cutters and three redesigned mulchers to its lineup of land-clearing attachments.

The newly redesigned line of drum mulcher attachments are built with a high-strength, steel-body construction for increased durability. There are three models available in 50-, 61-, and 72-inch cutting widths, and they’re compatible for use with Bobcat’s 700 and 800 Series compact track and skid-steer loaders.

“We have taken our line of loader forestry cutters and completely redesigned them to meet the demands of the growing land management industry,” says Travis Kidder, a senior product specialist at Bobcat. “Along with overall increased durability and uptime, we improved the hydraulic system to operate more efficiently, meaning cooler operating temperatures and improved performance.”

Each loader drum mulcher has heavy-duty carbide teeth that can rip through hard and soft wood up to 8 inches in diameter. When mulching through heavy growth, rear debris chains obstruct debris being thrown toward the back of the attachment.

The reinforced push bar and optional low-profile front gate provide better visibility to the drum and cutting teeth. Redesigned hydraulic block and drive components, and replaceable bolt-on skid shoes have been included for increased convenience and uptime.

The two-speed hydraulic motors provide increased drum torque and quicker speed recovery. Drum breaks can bring the drum rotation to a stop within 20 seconds of deactivating auxiliary hydraulics. The hose clamps and sling protect hydraulic hoses from kinking, contact wear, and entanglement.

A hydraulic pressure gauge on the 50- and 61-inch models helps operators monitor the drum speeds. Also available on those models are optional depth control rings to limit engagement of the cutting teeth for more consistent mulch.

All loader drum mulchers must have the forestry applications kit installed on their loader in order to operate. This includes protection like poly-carbonate windows and door, Level 2 FOPS, fire extinguisher, and several more pieces that help prepare the machine for the harsh conditions seen in forestry mulching.


How to Control Contamination From Hydraulic Hoses

The need for hose replacement is a fairly common occurrence on hydraulic machines. Hydraulic hose fabrication is a big business with plenty of competition and more than a few cowboys running around. So if you own or are responsible for hydraulic equipment, where you source replacement hoses from, and how they’re made, cleaned and stored – prior to installation on your machine, warrants your attention.

The hose fabrication process – or more specifically, the hose cutting process – introduces contamination in the form of metal particles from the hose’s wire reinforcement and the cutting blade itself, and polymer dust from the hose’s outer cover and inner tube.

The amount of contamination which enters the hose during cutting can be reduced by employing techniques such as using a wet cutting blade instead of a dry one, blowing clean air through the hose as it is being cut and/or using a vacuum extraction device. The latter two aren’t very practical when cutting long lengths of hose from a roll or in a mobile hose-van situation.

Therefore, the main focus must be on effectively removing this cutting residue – and any other contamination which might be present in the hose – prior to installation. The most efficient and, therefore, most popular way of doing this is by blowing a foam cleaning projectile through the hose using a special attachment connected to compressed air. If you are not familiar with this equipment, do a search on Google for “hydraulic hose projectile”.

The manufacturers of these cleaning systems claim that hose cleanliness levels as good as ISO 4406 13/10 are achievable. But like most everything else, the results achieved depend on a number of variables, which include using a projectile of the correct diameter for the hose being cleaned, whether the projectile is used dry or wetted with solvent, and the number of shots fired. Generally, the higher the number of shots, the cleaner the hose assembly. Furthermore, if it is a new hose that’s being cleaned, the projectile cleaning should be done before the ends are crimped on.

Read more: How to Control Contamination From Hydraulic Hoses

Tips on Selecting and Replacing Hydraulic Hose Assemblies

Hoses and couplings are critical parts of every hydraulic system. They transfer hydraulic fluid from the pump to machine components such as valves, motors, and actuators which use the fluid pressure and flow to create the machine motion and force needed to do work. The importance of selecting or replacing hydraulic hoses and couplings often gets overlooked…until something goes wrong.

Engineers must consider several factors before choosing hydraulic hose assemblie

Hose and Coupling Basics
Most hoses have three functional layers—the tube, reinforcements, and the cover—assembled in a flexible “laminate design” or “composite structure.” Being flexible lets the hose move, flex, easily route through bulkheads, dampen pressures surges, and withstand vibration (as compared to rigid pipe or tubing).

Hoses are built and tested according to industry specifications such as SAE and EN. Engineers should be familiar with specifications related to equipment the hoses they design will go on. They provide guidelines for dimensions, material properties, and minimum performance characteristics for major types of hose and couplings.

The tube conveys the fluid and is commonly made of rubber compounds and plastic. It’s critical that the tube resist fluids it carries and is exposed to; permeation by chemicals; and both high and low temperatures.

Reinforcements include natural and synthetic fibers, wires and cables, and monofilament. They help hoses withstand internal and external pressures.

Covers, which are commonly made of rubber, plastics, and textiles, protect reinforcements from the environment. They resist abrasion, chemicals, weathering, and ozone.

Read more: Tips on Selecting and Replacing Hydraulic Hose Assemblies

Industry Provides Insight on Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles

Electrification is impacting every mobile vehicle industry—from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks and transit buses to construction equipment and agricultural machinery. As such, manufacturers are developing and integrating a variety of new technologies such as electric motors and battery systems while also determining how best to utilize them in tandem with existing components such as hydraulics. To help design teams better understand how various technologies are coming together to enable vehicle electrification, Power & Motion, in partnership with Machine Design, has put together a series of educational sessions under the topic Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles. Each session highlights a key topic or subject related to electrification and the various components and systems which enable it. Sessions are available for viewing starting July 28.

Registration is free, and prizes can be won by active session visitors that aggregate the most points!

Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles is part of Power & Motion’s Engineering Academy, a collection of educational sessions on various industry topics such as robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) put together in conjunction with colleagues at Machine Design, Electronic Design and Microwaves & RF. Some of the most recent events include:

Robotics by Design
Power Systems Design
Chiplets – Electronic Design Automation
The Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles event includes panel discussions and technical presentations with various industry experts who are able to provide their perspectives on working with electric vehicles and the components and systems which help power them.

Read more: Industry Provides Insight on Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles

Pushing the boundaries of fluid power

Everyone has different ideas on which component is most crucial to helping industrial equipment run. Some argue that bearings matter the most, as they hold everything together, while others claim that belts are the backbone of keeping things in motion. Needless to say, every element plays a role, and one missing or damaged part could mean catastrophe for operators.

Hydraulic hoses are a critical piece of equipment for many industrial sites, and experience some of the toughest conditions inside fluid power machinery. Typically, they consist of multiple reinforced layers of braided tubing, designed to transport water and oil emulsions between key components.

The MegaSys portfolio of industrial-grade hydraulic hosing from Gates boasts complete, universally applicable fluid power solutions. Included in this range is the MXT, MXG 4K, and MXG 5K hoses. According to Arshad Ashroff, product manager for Fluid Power at Gates Australia, each of these units supersedes expectations in terms of durability and power capacity.

“These products incorporate fairly new technology that is unique to Gates and patent pending in the US currently,” Ashroff said. “They can be used on a diverse range of hydraulic applications across manufacturing, construction, agriculture, mining, and any other sort of heavy equipment industry.”

Ashroff has a background in mechanical engineering, and started working with Gates four years ago as a product specialist. Having recently taken on the role as product manager, he utilises many years of industry experience to deliver expert advice on hosing and other equipment.

“When it comes to the MXT, the key benefits are flexibility and lightweight design. They are 40 per cent more flexible, and 30 per cent more lightweight than standard, comparable hoses on the market. They are also tested to 600,000 cycles, which is an incredibly impressive impulse criteria,” Ashroff said.

“The MXG 4K and 5K are different because they meet a one million impulse rating, and the 5K includes the new Xpiral woven technology that was invented by Gates. Essentially it uses lighter weight steel for the reinforcement, allowing for the same high-standard performance, again with added flexibility.”

Rob Michelson, national product manager at Motion Australia, explains that the MegaSys full spectrum solution follows through on reliably smart design, and has impressive capacity for volume and speed transfer.

“The focus on flexibility and more lightweight materials directly addresses customer needs, and for that reason the MXT range is widely popular in every sector that we service,” he said. “These features just make them much easier to handle, while still outperforming the industry baseline.”

Ashroff points out that a lot of the premium elements of the hosing products come down to Gates’ commitment to continual improvement and model upgrades. Building on decades of experience supplying to customers worldwide, they utilise feedback and incorporate it at the initial concept or improvement phase.

“We invest a lot of time and resources into research and development, which is demonstrated by our standard of product,” Ashroff said. “We recently innovated on a coupling solution – the Gates MegaCrimp – which is directly compatible with this family of hoses. They are a leak-proof seal that incorporates concentric crimping, and have been known to surpass one million impulse cycles.”

Read more: Pushing the boundaries of fluid power

Doosan DX225LC-7 Crawler Excavator

Doosan offers the DX225LC-7 crawler excavator for construction and industrial projects. The DX225LC-7 is the first Doosan excavator of this size to feature Doosan’s innovative D-ECOPOWER virtual bleed off (VBO) technology, providing operators with 7% lower fuel consumption per hour than the previous Stage IV model, as well as smoother controls.

Heavier Counterweight for Work with Tiltrotators
In the DX225LC-7, the new features include a 14% heavier 4.9-ton standard counterweight for working with heavier attachments, such as tiltrotators. The heavier counterweight contributes to higher lifting and digging capacities compared to the previous generation model.

The DX225LC-7 also incorporates as standard a new lifting eye that forms part of the casting for the push link for the bucket attachment at the end of the arm. The new lifting eye has a maximum capacity of 5 tons and has a special bush insert to prevent deformation of the lifting hole.

With the new counterweight, the DX225LC-7 introduces a new smart hydraulic system that offers an improvement of around 30% in attachment work, compared to previous excavator models.

Tiltrotator Mode
There is a new tiltrotator mode on the control panel in the DX225LC-7, which can be selected to ensure optimized hydraulic flow and helps maximize the accuracy of tiltrotator work by eliminating back pressure.

Fine Swing Function
Another standard new feature is the fine swing function which minimizes the shaking that a lifted object undergoes at the start or stop of a swing movement with the excavator, to increase the safety of nearby workers and to prevent damage caused by the object falling from the excavator.

Read more: Doosan DX225LC-7 Crawler Excavator

XCMG builds on first XE7000 700 t hydraulic excavator with upgraded & optimised second unit

Leading Chinese construction and mining equipment group XCMG has announced that it has now completed manufacturing of a second XE7000 hydraulic excavator which recently rolled off the production line having had comprehensive upgrades and optimisation over the first unit.

The second 700 t hydraulic excavator it says has fully absorbed the nearly 13,000 hours of real mine experience of the first one in the Heidaigou open-pit coal mine in Inner Mongolia, which is part of the Zhungeer Complex along with Haerwusu and owned by China’s largest coal miner China Energy Corporation (CHN Energy). XCMG says the new XE7000 has a backhoe design with a larger bucket capacity and higher operating efficiency to fully meet the needs of mining customers.

It says numerous upgrades have greatly improved the operating comfort, safety and maintenance convenience of the whole machine. The platform layout is more user-friendly, and all maintenance areas can be reached through non-slip walkways, making the operation safer and the maintenance more convenient. The heat dissipation conditions of the engine compartment have been improved, the service life of the components has been increased, and overheating is no longer an obstacle to continuous work. The management of the lubrication system is more intelligent, which can complete the differentiated management of the grease category at the lubrication point, and achieve the best match of reliability and economy.

In 2018, the first 700 t super-large hydraulic excavator independently developed in China rolled off the production line. It has power equivalent to nearly 30 cars, and its bucket can shovel 60 t of material, which is close to a capacity of the train box. XCMG says China has now become the 4th country in the world with the R&D and manufacturing capacity of hydraulic excavators above 700 t – after Japan (Hitachi), Germany (Komatsu Mining Germany) and France (Liebherr).

In 2019, XE7000 was put into operation at Heidaigou, one of the largest open-pit coal mines in Asia. The average working time per day is more than 18 hours, the digging and loading equates more than 1,500 cubic metres per hour, and the availability is more than 90%.

The mine project manager said: “The work efficiency of ‘700 tons’ is very high, it is more flexible than an electric shovel, and the manipulator is also very sensitive. In addition, XCMG’s service has never let us down. The service personnel are stationed in the mine all the year round.”

Read more: XCMG builds on first XE7000 700 t hydraulic excavator with upgraded & optimised second unit


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