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210 Mobile 2006

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Bosch Rexroth AG

If load sensing controls are not operated with a constantly controlled excess pressure – as it is done with conventional solutions – but if one imposes a total volume flow calculated from the demand of the individual consumers, this is referred to as flow matching solutions. With respect to function, they distinguish themselves by means of an improved response behavior as well as an increased robustness with respect to disturbance variables. That is, the working hydraulics is “more agile” and less “sus- ceptible to oscillations”.2006 Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM) Bosch Rexroth AG Function Additional benefits occur in energy utilization

Function

Additional benefits occur in energy utilization since there is no fixed excess pressure of the pump compared to conventional load sensing systems; instead, the excess pressure sets itself dependent upon the op- erating point and in doing so is significantly less in the range of low and medium flow rates.and less “sus- ceptible to oscillations”. Function Energy Bosch Rexroth AG Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Energy

less in the range of low and medium flow rates. Energy Bosch Rexroth AG Electrohydraulic Flow

Bosch Rexroth AG

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Mobile 2006

211

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM) – The next Generation of Load Sensing Controls

Many innovations in the area of drive and control technology for mobile equipment are based on the improvement or new design of the individual components. Concerning this matter, there were a number of interesting ad- vanced developments in recent years. In addition, more holistic reflections of the subsystems, such as the complete working hydraulics, also offer very in- teresting possibilities for the improvement and performance increase of mo- bile equipment. This contribution deals with the result of such a reflection:

Using an innovative combination of available components (variable pump with electrohydraulic load sensing valve) allows for achieving significant improvements with respect to function and operability of the machine and the energy consumption of the working hydraulics. Particularly appealing for machine manufacturers and hydraulics providers alike is the fact that well- established components can be used for this purpose. Hence, the develop- ment work is limited to the functional interaction of the components in the respective application.

Christoph Latour

Lohr (D)

212 Mobile 2006

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Bosch Rexroth AG

1 State of the art of LS controls

A major challenge for mobile equip-

ment is presented by the often high number of hydraulic consumers. The machines frequently feature up to ten operating functions of which three or more functions are often used in synchronous or partially synchronous operations. This invites the search for a suitable architecture for the generat- ing part of the working hydraulics. In many applications, decisions have been made to supply as many con- sumers as possible using one com- mon pump, and not least because of cost reasons. Hence, the control valves used have the demanding task of compensating for the different disturbance variables and changes in command variables of the different consumers in such a way that operat- ing the machine does not lead to any disturbances or interactions or cause them to be noticed by the operator. For this reason, the control valves are fitted with pressure compensa- tors that perform a flow rate control or flow distribution in conjunction with the control cross-sections of the main valve spool. In this context, two designs are generally distinguishes as

shown in Figure 1: one with upstream pressure compensator (LS) and one with downstream pressure compensa- tor (flow sharing (LUDV): load pres- sure-independent flow distribution).

In both control technology solutions LS and LUDV, the pump is operated

in a hydraulic-mechanical (HM) pres-

sure closed loop control in which a supply pressure increased by the fixed

excess pressure Δp is generated de- pendent upon the respective highest

HM-LS HM-LUDV p p p p L1 L2 L1 L2 Δp P Δp P
HM-LS
HM-LUDV
p
p
p
p
L1
L2
L1
L2
Δp P
Δp P

Fig. 1: HM-LS and HM-LUDV circuit diagram.

load pressure. Since the supply pres- sure adjusts itself constantly to the highest load pressure, the HM-LS and HM-LUDV controls are considered to be energy-saving compared to open center (OC) controls, in which partial flow rates flow off to the tank.

In addition, the HM-LS/HM-LUDV controls have since gained a techni- cal state-of-the-art that even very demanding applications with high requirements for the controllability of complex, combined movements – such as those of a wheeled excava- tor – can be operated with one pump with an entirely positive evaluation.

Bosch Rexroth AG

2. Further development to- wards EFM

Despite its good technical state, po- tentials for further improvements of the transmission properties, operabil- ity and also energy utilization of the HM-LS and HM-LUDV controls are still possible.

In the end, the concept or the funda- mental idea of EFM is the result of the question: How do the control valves for the working hydraulics of a work- ing machine have to be supplied to provide a consumer flow rate that is

sufficiently fast,

with a high degree of stability,

without appreciable interaction of the consumers among each other

and with optimal energy utilization?

2.1 Energy utilization level For HM-LS and HM-LUDV solu- tions, the pump controls a supply pressure increased by the fixed excess pressure Δp dependent upon the respective highest load pressure. For this purpose, the fixed excess pressure is selected or set at the pump so that the oil can still be transported from the pump to the valve across the sum of all flow resistances under the most unfavorable conditions (cold oil or max. flow rate). However, in certain operating ranges of the machine, this predetermined excess pressure is too high and, strictly viewed, leads to un- necessary losses of energy. Figure 2 illustrates these connections in sche- matic form.

Hence, an improved approach is de- sirable in which the pressure losses from the pump to the valve result in- dependent of the operating point and

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Mobile 2006

213

Pressure p/p max

1

0,5

0

Q Q P P 1 Q Q Q Q L1 L2 L1 L2 P v-p
Q
Q
P
P
1
Q
Q
Q
Q
L1
L2
L1
L2
P
v-p
Losses
Losses
Consumer 2
0,5
Consumer 2
WV1
WV2
WV1
WV2
0
0
0,5
1
0
0,5
1
Flow Q/Q Pmax
Flow Q/Q Pmax
p
L2
Δp P
p
L1
Pressure p/p max
p
L2
Δp P
p L1

Fig. 2: Diagram of excess pressure of the pump in HM-LS/HM-LUDV solutions (left) and required excess pressure in partial flow rate/partial load range (right).

do not have to be provided in form of a predetermined value.

2.2 Dynamic stability The LS pump is operated in a pressure closed loop control with the com- mand variable “highest load pressure” which can change significantly. That is, every change of the highest load pressure is reported to the pump via the LS line and it must change the flow rate in the connected hydraulic capacity in such a way that the fixed excess pressure is created again. Due to the high dispersion of the param- eters for this pressure control loop (such as different oil temperatures or natural frequencies/damping levels of the operating equipment) and a fixed setting of the control param- eters at the pump, which must map a compromise for all operating condi- tions, there are operating areas in the vicinity of the stability limit of this closed loop control. Furthermore, the pressure compensators of the control valve are directly interacting with the pressure controller of the pump via the LS line for the HM-LUDV solu- tions, which can also increase the

oscillation tendency of the working hydraulics under certain operating conditions. Figure 3 shows the func- tion elements of an HM-LUDV con- trol that are at the center of this type of reflection.

This reflection results in the conclu- sion that an oil supply according to the principle of the impressed flow rate would be advantageous. The only question remaining is based on which information the flow rate demand can be determined.

HMHM--LUDVLUDV p p L1 L2 p L1 p L2 Δp P Δp P
HMHM--LUDVLUDV
p
p
L1
L2
p L1
p L2
Δp P
Δp P

Fig. 3: Hydraulic circuitry of manometric balances and pressure controllers of the pump for HM-LUDV.

214 Mobile 2006

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

2.3 Response behavior Certain machines exhibit some mo- tion processes for which the require- ments of the response behavior, i.e. the response of the machine or the working hydraulics to the change of the setpoints at the joystick, are extremely high. Based on principle, these high requirements can frequent- ly be met by HM-LS and HM-LUDV solutions, but not always. Reflecting upon the time sequence of the indi- vidual processes after actuating the joystick shows that the pump can only respond after the valve spool has

already been displaced to a certain extent and a load signal has been sent to the LS line. In a simplified way, the sequence of processes up to the response of the pump can be repre- sented as follows (see also Fig. 4):

Joystick generates pilot pressure.

Valve is activated/displaced.

Highest load pressure is sent to the LS line.

Pump displaces/generates flow.

Pressure build-up in the hydraulic capacity between pump and valve.

The goal of an improvement in this area must be to have at least a part of the sequential processes run in paral- lel. In this context, it is advisable to control or activate the control valve and the pump synchronously in case of a setpoint change.

HMHM--LUDVLUDV 1 p p L1 L2 3 p L1 p L2 Δp P 2 5
HMHM--LUDVLUDV
1
p
p
L1
L2
3
p L1
p L2
Δp P
2
5
4
Δp P

Fig. 4: Simplified time sequence until the response of the pump for HM-LUDV.

2.4 The idea of EFM If one were to replace the pressure- controlled pump in HM-LS/HM- LUDV solutions (as shown in Fig. 5) with a purely swivel angle-adjusted pump and controls it electrically in such a way that the flow rate re-

quested via the setpoint specification is provided approximately at the same time as the valve opening, it allows for achieving the following improve- ments:

The modulated flow rate causes the pressure losses between pump and valve to be set independent of the operating point, and in certain areas lower than the predetermined excess pressure for the HM-LS/HM-LUDV solutions. This results in improve- ments for the degree of energy uti- lization.

The pump is no longer operated as pressure controller, but as an elec- tro-proportional variable pump in an open control loop. Hence, the pump does no longer respond to load pressure changes and operates

Bosch Rexroth AG

p p L2 L1 ECU with EFM - Control p L1 p L2 Δp P
p
p
L2
L1
ECU with
EFM - Control
p L1
p L2
Δp P

Fig. 5: EFM-LUDV concept/circuit diagram.

independently, without interaction with the pressure compensators. This principle provides the oil sup- ply with an improved robustness of the control technology.

The pump is controlled almost synchronously with the valve. The effect of timing elements between the setpoint changes at the joystick and the report of the LS signal for the pump are eliminated so that an improved response behavior can be expected.

Bosch Rexroth AG

3 EFM in practice

Besides the theoretical, conceptual reflections, it is also important to ex- amine and evaluate the actual behav- ior of the EFM solutions in different applications. Some important and telling results from the applications tractor and wheeled excavator are summarized below.

3.1 EFM-LS in the tractor To evaluate the degree of energy utilization, the municipal project “Mowing a shoulder” was used as an example (Fig. 6). This task is special because a motorized consumer con- tinuously requires relatively high flow rates at medium pressure level for driving the mower and this process is interrupted by obstacles at relatively regular intervals. For this purpose, the motorized drive is stopped and the entire mower is lifted. If we look at the comparison of the degree of energy utilization after one hour of work between HM-LS and EFM-LS (as shown in Fig. 7), it results in an advantage of approximately five per- cent for the EFM-LS. These energy advantages depend very heavily on the operating points. But the following can be stated in general: The lower the medium required hydraulic power (p times Q), the greater are the relative energy advantages of the EFM.

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Mobile 2006

215

1 Cycle 1 2 3 4 5 6 100 down % 50 up 0 Time
1 Cycle
1
2
3
4
5
6
100
down
%
50
up
0
Time
RPM Cutting Head
Lifting Cylinder

Fig. 6: Tractor test cycle: Mowing a shoulder.

HM-LS:

Δp P =25 bar

Constant Pressure Margin

EFM:

Δp EDW =11 bar

Variable Pressure Margin

2 kWh 1.5 1.55 -24% 1.18 1 0.5 HM-LS EFM 0 1 Energy losses (after
2
kWh
1.5
1.55
-24%
1.18
1
0.5
HM-LS
EFM
0
1
Energy losses
(after 1h of work)
Energy efficiency
(after 1h of work)

100

%

80

60

40

20

0

+5% 83 78 HM-LS EFM 1
+5%
83
78
HM-LS
EFM
1

Fig. 7: Comparison: Degree of energy utilization of HM-LS and EFM-LS.

216 Mobile 2006

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Bosch Rexroth AG

In another comparison, the dynamic behavior of the EFM-LS was exam- ined with respect to HM-LS using the work example “Loading a trailer with a front loader”. The corresponding cycle and the measurement results of the most important hydraulic and mechanical variables are summarized in Figures 8 and 9. It is clearly rec- ognizable that the swivel angle of the pump, the generated load pressure and also the hoist speed of the front loader show a significantly smoother time behavior without overshoots or without superimposed vibrations for the EFM-LS compared to the signifi- cantly rougher behavior for the HM- LS. In addition, the comparison of the measures excess pressures shows again the energy advantages of the EFM- LS except for the phase of the work cycle in which the pump is completely swiveled out or the system experiences an undersupply.

1 Cycle 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 100 0 (in) % % (horizontal)
1 Cycle
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
100
0 (in)
%
%
(horizontal)
50
50
100 (out)
Bottom
0
Time
Lifting height
Bucket angle

Fig. 8: Tractor test cycle: Loading a trailer.

Bucket angle Fig. 8: Tractor test cycle: Loading a trailer. Fig. 9: Comparison: Behavior of hydraulic
Bucket angle Fig. 8: Tractor test cycle: Loading a trailer. Fig. 9: Comparison: Behavior of hydraulic

Fig. 9: Comparison: Behavior of hydraulic and mechanical measured variables HM-LS and EFM-LS.

Bosch Rexroth AG

Electrohydraulic Flow Matching (EFM)

Mobile 2006

217

1 2 3 Pilot pressure build-up Pump pressure build-up Setpoint quantity reached
1 2 3
1
2
3

Pilot pressure build-up

Pump pressure build-up

Setpoint quantity reached

Fig. 10: Comparison using the wheeled excavator: Response behavior HM-LUDV and EFM-LUDV for the function “Lift jib”.

3.2 EFM-LUDV in the wheeled excavator To be able to evaluate the response behavior of the EFM-LUDV, the func- tion “Lift boom” was examined using a wheeled excavator. As the left part of Figure 10 shows, using the HM- LUDV takes approximately 130 ms until a visible response at the pump pressure can be detected after actuat- ing the joystick. The reasons are the principle-based time delays described above for the generation of the load pressure signal for the pump. For the EFM-LUDV (right part of the figure), the actuation of the pump can be set in such a way that a time delay of only approximately 30 ms lies between valve and pump actuation, which cor- responds to an improvement of the response behavior of approximately 100 ms. This very significant reduc-

tion leads to a noticeable improve- ment in the operation of the machine, which is described by some operators as a “very agile machine”.

principle and to verify in the applica- tions that it creates a solution which is robust against the variation of operat- ing parameters.

4 Conclusion

The current results achieved with EFM solutions are very encouraging. The working hydraulics is simplified with respect to its principle, the ro- bustness with respect to disturbance variables, the response to command variables and the energy utilization are improved while using proven or series-tested components.

The additional focus of the work con- sists of adjusting the interaction of the valves and the pump in all relevant quasi-static and dynamic operating ranges to such an extent from the