As the wheel loader is the stalwart of the construction site, equipment manufacturers know that technological advances are important in their customers' buying decisions. Add in the stringent government regulations regarding carbon emissions and the result has been more efficient environmentally-friendly equipment. These efforts are key to increasing profits and occur through the design of components, the addition of maintenance improvements, or the integration of data insights.
One area for future innovations is the use of more hybrid technology. The integration of hybrid components for wheel loaders can positively impact the environment as well as improve fuel savings, reduced maintenance, lower repair/rebuild costs , and, in some instances, increased productivity. The goals for end-customers vary. For some, zero-emissions are key; for others, it might be burning less fuel or increasing power density. We know that customers won’t sacrifice quality, reliability, or durability to achieve these objectives. That’s why our electrification strategy begins and ends with our customer needs. Working with design engineers to solve complex problems requires not a single solution but a versatile approach to helping match the right product to the application. This article discusses some of the components and technology that Parker brings to the table for wheel loader applications.
Whether it is an all-electric or hybrid wheel loader, the motor design has a direct impact on the maintenance and reliability of the components. Parker’s Global Vehicle Motor (GVM) advanced electric motor is intended to be used in electric and hybrid electric vehicle traction, electro-hydraulic pumps (EHP), and auxiliary applications. High power density, compact design combined with the highest efficiencies in the market provides the key. The introduction of electric solutions allows the efficient recovery and storage of energy that would previously be wasted. Parker offers a wide range of motors with up to over 400kW of power. With a variety of sizes, lengths, and voltages up to 650V, each application can be uniquely engineered to maximize a machine’s performance.
The design of the GVM means that it can be used as a motor or a generator. This feature facilitates efficient system energy recovery whether from smart system design or braking solutions. This can provide a means of reducing expensive battery costs, extend the range between charges reduce overall machine operating costs.
As machinery moves more toward electrification, sensors become increasingly important to improve efficiency. Our UTS mobile sensors eliminate the need for redundant sensors lowering your total spend on electronic controls systems. For OEMs and their customers, this means one single part can perform the many functions that formerly required many individual products. This can reduce inventory requirements, simplify installation and replacement, as well as reduce related labor costs. Further contributing to less operator fatigue and higher productivity are steer-by-wire solutions. Our steer-by-wire system consists of an input device, SIL2-class control units, display , and a hydraulic directional control valve. It has on-board diagnostics and component redundancy in the event of a single component failure.
The incorporation of electric components requires different plumbing. Equipment with the new Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) engines require after treatment, and DEF fluid requires heated hoses. Designed for heating and conveying DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) throughout the SCR system on wheel loaders, our SCR hoses are specifically engineered for equipment that requires Tier IV and EPA 10 compliance.
In addition to product selection, maintenance still plays a crucial role in reducing the lifecycle costs of owning and operating a wheel loader. Harsh working conditions, poor maintenance, and abusive operation can reduce the life of the machine by half. Often, it’s the simple details that lead to premature component failure and increased lifecycle costs. Managing equipment or machinery maintenance can be a challenge for even the most capable and well-resourced organization. However, maintenance schedules can be streamlined with the utilization of an assist management system such as the Parker Tracking System (PTS). This innovative system provides fast and accurate product information, speeding replacement regardless of where or when the original component was created. Because tagged products can be replaced sight unseen, PTS eliminates the need to wait for removal before new parts can be acquired. For instance, a customer can scan the barcode on Parker’s hydraulic GlobalCore hose and immediately find out the part number, size, rating, and length of hose; end fitting sizes, and configurations; and where and when the assembly was made. Documentation of the original bill of materials ensures hose assembly replacement to exact OEM specifications and compliance with applicable industry and safety standards. This information can immediately be communicated to the nearest Parker distributor, reducing unplanned downtime to a minimum.
Machine use is equally as important as maintenance. With the evolution of IoT, construction companies can measure and run reports regarding fuel consumption, productivity, machine utilization and health, and more. Our Mobile IoT solution can help businesses lower costs and energy consumption by providing data that can reduce emissions for off-road equipment. Users can customize and adjust parameters, monitor their heavy equipment’s location, component health status including real-time signals. Our solution enables organizations to create quantifiable and real-time dashboard statistics about the performance or utilization of their industrial equipment. These insights have the potential of helping users avoid unplanned downtime events through continuous monitoring with the use of alarms or analytical models.
As we look to the future of wheel loaders there is no doubt that technology will play a major role in improving efficiencies and sustainability. The thought of replacing the traditional mechanical transmission with a generator, inverter, and motor will increase in popularity. It won’t be uncommon for new powertrains to utilize switch reluctance technology, which will result in up to a 25 percent overall improvement in efficiency and up to 49 percent in high production tough digging applications. Wheel loaders are becoming more fuel-efficient, automated, and connected and Parker's experience in the industry helps us to deliver the right solution.
The Parker Global Mobile Systems team of application engineering experts is available to assist our customers in designing and implementing new systems to meet your application needs. Contact us for more information, or if you'd like to receive more relevant hydraulics, pneumatics, and electromechanical product and technology updates for wheel loaders in your inbox, subscribe here.