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Technical Overview

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Mobile Hydraulics: Modular Load-Sensing Valves Speed


Design, Enable Flexibility
Its no secret that OEMs want hydraulic controls that make mobile equipment
easier to design and build and flexible enough to be applied to a range of
applications. Modular Rexroth load-sensing valves are growing in popularity as an
alternative to traditional monoblocks because of the flexibility they bring to the
control of hydraulic systems. And new generations of directional-control valves
incorporate both flow and pressure control into modular sandwich-style units.

While it has been possible to control various equipment functions by either flow
or pressure, doing so has meant added complexity and cost through additional
external plumbing. By incorporating both flow control and pressure control into
the same valve, design is simplified, flexibility is increased and reliability is
enhanced since there are fewer components and reduced plumbing.

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The Rexroth M4 series of valves (Figure 1) exemplifies this new generation. The

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M4 is a pressure-compensated directional control valve for medium- and high-

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pressure applications ranging from forestry and agricultural equipment to


construction equipment. It offers both adjustable mechanical flow limiters and
load-sensing pressure limiters on each port. This ensures that the proper flow is

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5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

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Technical Overview

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delivered to each function independent of the overall loads on the hydraulic


systems. In a crane, for example, functions include outriggers for leveling and
stabilizing the device, boom extensions and retractions, boom rotation, and so
forth. For each function, the motor or pump speed and cylinder positioning can
be precisely controlled over a wide range of conditionssimply and without
complex design challenges of adding external components.

The M4 is available in three sizes, M4-12, -15 and -22, to accommodate different
flow requirements. Since pressure and flow requirements will differ not only
across different types of equipment, but within a single piece of equipment, being
able to stack different valves sizes together adds flexibility to the design. M4-12
and M4-15 valves are easily combined, as are M4-15 and M4-22 valves. Figure 2
summarizes the three versions, all of which are available as open-center control
for fixed-displacement pumps and closed-center control for variabledisplacement pumps.
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Mobile Hydraulics

The M4 valves use a sandwich-plate modular design allowing the size 12 and 15

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Wooster, OH 44691

(up to 10 valve elements) to be ganged into a single sealed unit. The M4-22
valves can have up to eight sections. Valves can be flexibly combined to meet the
specific needs of the application. Each valve has the option to be operated
manually, hydraulically or electrically in either an on/off or proportional manner.
Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications
5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Telephone (330) 263-3434


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Technical Overview

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Mechanical override actuation by hand lever of each valve section can be added
to electrical or hydraulic actuation in two ways:

Engaged lever: the lever moves with every movement of the control
spool. Operators use this feature as a visual feedback for safety.

Disengaged lever: the lever remains in the neutral position when the
valves are operated electrically or hydraulically. The advantage is that
the resulting reduced friction also lowers hysteresis for faster reaction
times. Low hysteresis also makes it possible to achieve high accuracy
without the use of position feedback on the spoolagain simplifying
design and reducing complexity.

Each service port can be individually adjusted through pressure-limiting valves to


maintain constant flow under varying loads. Maximum flow can be mechanically
adjusted by stroke limiters. Each load port can be equipped with a companion
measuring port to provide real-time evaluation of flow and pressures. To further

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protect the system the M4 offers another option that allows for system and

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component protection. The M4 offers a shock/anti-cavitation option per work


port. This option will protect the end device from pressure spikes. Overall, the
load-sensing valves can be programmed to achieve very sensitive, precise control
over a wide range of loads and conditions.
Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications
5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Telephone (330) 263-3434


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Technical Overview

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Electronic control coupled with the valves simplifies and adds flexibility
Intelligent electrohydraulic controls are clearly the future of hydraulic systems.
They bring finer control, allow faster development, and can significantly simplify
the structure of hydraulic systems by eliminating complex wiring with a
streamlined bus architecture. The processing power of inexpensive
microprocessors not only provides high levels of intelligence for better control
but also to enable better safety, easier operation, and sophisticated diagnostics.
And, combined with electronic hardware, development software is more
powerful and easier to use which speeds up design and implementation.

The use of electronics can be applied to load-sensing valves in two main ways:
external controller or on-board electronics.

External controllers, such as Rexroths RC family, use 16-bit controllers for


open- and closed-looped applications with the possibility of handling analog and

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Mobile Hydraulics

digital signals at both input and output ports. Solenoid outputs use pulse-width

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modulation to achieve proportional control with high accuracy and low


hysteresis. A key feature of any mobile controller is rugged reliabilitybeing
able to withstand vibration, temperature extremes, water and dirt, and
electromagnetic interference.
Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications
5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Telephone (330) 263-3434


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Sophisticated development and diagnostic software typically provides Windowsbased graphical interface and uses high-level block-oriented programming based
on IEC 61131-3 programming standards. Because the software offers modules
for most standard functions and applications, development can proceed swiftly.
Typical modules operate at one of three levels:

Hardware level: timers, FLASH download

Standard routines: ramps, curves, PID control

Application: drive program with load-limiting control

Cut complexity by taking the bus


A drawback to electronic control is the complexity of the wiring system if pointto-point wire-harness connections are used. However, most electronically
controlled hydraulics applications are moving toward CANbus, an open
architecture that uses only four wires to connect devices in a serial daisy chain.
As shown in Figure 3, CANbus significantly simplifies the communication

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architecture by allowing communication over a single bus.

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Distributing intelligence
Electronic control can be built into the valve to achieve several advantages by
bringing control closer to the action:
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5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Technical Overview

Faster response, lower hysteresis for greater precision

Even simpler wiring

Off-load chores from central controller

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On-board electronics in the valve does not replace the central controller. But it
does provide an option for a smaller version that can still be customized to the
application. It supplements it by knowing how to execute commands from the
CANbus and provides feedback for use in the system. The ganged valve units are
connected externally and act as a single unit in the CANbus daisy chain, further
simplifying the wiring.

Application example
Figure 4 shows a typical application of M4 valvesin this case, a truck-mounted
loading crane. A single Rexroth variable displacement pump supplies the sixsection valve used to control the various functions of the crane:

Main arm

Articulated arm

Telescopic cylinder

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1700 Old Mansfield Road
Wooster, OH 44691

Open gripper

Close/lower gripper

Slewing gear

Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications


5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Telephone (330) 263-3434


Fax (330) 202-3734

Technical Overview

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For maximum machine productivity, multiple functions will operate


simultaneously as the operator moves a load. The loads placed on each function
can vary depending on materials being moved and the nature of movement.
Using a Rexroth variable displacement pump has many benefits over a fixed
displacement pump. With a fixed displacement pump you will always get the
same flow from the pump; if no functions are operated you will have to dump
that oil to the tank, which is an inefficient waste of energy. With a Rexroth
variable displacement load-sensing pump, you reduce this inefficiency by having
the pump provide only the flow required by the operations at the valve. The
pump will de-stroke and go to low-pressure standby until it gets a signal showing
that one of the functions is to be operated. This makes the system more efficient.

For safety reasons, the static controls used to stabilize the truck rely on a different
set of valves. A key requirement of the crane is that the functions must be able to
occur simultaneously and with precise control. The valves must be able to handle
changing load and flow requirements.

Bosch Rexroth Corporation


Mobile Hydraulics
1700 Old Mansfield Road
Wooster, OH 44691

Conclusion
The growing popularity and acceptance of modular load-sensing valves brings
new levels of both sophistication and simplicity to hydraulic controls. The
sophistication comes from the finer control and energy efficiency of the devices.
Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications
5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Telephone (330) 263-3434


Fax (330) 202-3734

Technical Overview

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The simplicity is achieved by simpler overall design with less piping, fewer
components and less control wiring. With the addition of on-board electronics
and a bus-based control architecture, engineering, commissioning, and
troubleshooting/maintenance are significantly simplified. Whats more, the
ability to add advanced capabilities that promote easier and safer operation
ensures that modular load-sensing valves have a bright future.
IMAGES:

Figure 1. M4-12 load-sensing valves (BRM004_M4_LoadSensing_valve_H.jpg)

Flow (gpm)

M4-12

M4-15

M4-22

35

53

105

Pressure, Pump Side (psi)

5000

Pressure, Actuator Side (psi)

6100

Bosch Rexroth Corporation


Mobile Hydraulics
1700 Old Mansfield Road
Wooster, OH 44691
Telephone (330) 263-3434

Actuation

Electrical
Hydraulic
Manual

Figure 2. M4 load-sensing valve family

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5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

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Technical Overview

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Figure 3. CANbus simplifies wiring while providing the advantages of advanced


electronic control. (CAN with M4-12.jpg)

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Mobile Hydraulics

Figure 4. M4-12 application diagram of load-sensing valves in a truck-mounted


crane. (M4-12 application diagram.jpg )(TruckCrane.jpg)

1700 Old Mansfield Road


Wooster, OH 44691
Telephone (330) 263-3434
Fax (330) 202-3734

Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications


5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com

Technical Overview

www.boschrexroth-us.com

(LKW-Aufbauten forest crane.jpg)

(M4 cross section sn_m4-12_de.jpg)

Bosch Rexroth Corporation


Mobile Hydraulics
1700 Old Mansfield Road
Wooster, OH 44691
Telephone (330) 263-3434
Fax (330) 202-3734

Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Corporate Communications


5150 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates, IL 60192, www.boschrexroth-us.com