In recent years, research institutions worldwide have developed a number of new mobile hydraulic systems. Despite their improved energy efficiency, these systems have yet to gain market acceptance due to their related increase in component costs and decrease in robustness. At the Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls in Aachen, a new system for mobile machines, named STEAM (Steigerung der Energieeffizienz in der Arbeitshydraulik mobiler Arbeitsmaschinen), is being developed using inexpensive off-the-shelf components. The aim is to improve the total system efficiency by considering all the subsystems in the machine. This is done by integrating the internal combustion engine (ICE) into the hydraulic design process. By using a constant pressure system in combination with a low-cost fixed displacement pump the hydraulic system is designed to ensure the ICE experiences a constantly high load in a region of high efficiency, so-called point operation. To decrease the hydraulic losses incurred when supplying the linear actuators with flow, an additional intermediate pressure rail with independent metering edges is used. This enables various energy efficient discrete operating modes, including energy regeneration and recuperation.

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