A series of detailed measurements of various mechanical and hydraulic system states of different excavators was performed. Main purpose of this study was to obtain a reliable information basis for assessing the potentials of hybrid drives, in particular the amount of recoverable energy. Differences concerned the size (tonnage) of the excavators and the hydraulic systems, open center versus load sensing. All machines were tested at the same set of operation scenarios, which are typical for practice, and with different operators. To this end, all test machines have been equipped with pressure, flow rate, temperature, angular and position sensors. These signals (about sixty) and several available from the machines CAN bus were recorded with a standard data acquisition system and electronically stored for later analysis. These raw data were processed to obtain the interesting data, like speeds, power flows, energies. In addition, videos of each test were recorded to facilitate the correct interpretation of the measurements and their correlation with the actual working processes.

Power flows from the combustion engine, different pumps, and at each actuator and energetic losses at the different loss sources were plotted for the different operation scenarios. Total efficiencies of the machines for different scenarios and the energy in and outflow at each actuator were computed. From the latter so called relative and absolute recovery degrees for each actuator and for the total machine in the different operation scenarios were derived. The relative recovery degree is the ratio of the total outflow energy (second and fourth quadrant) and the total inflow energy (first and third quadrant). The absolute recovery degree is the ratio of the total outflow energy of an actuator and the total energy delivered by all pumps in an operation scenario.

In most operation scenarios the total efficiency of consumed mechanical output energy at the hydraulic actuators relative to delivered hydraulic energy is in the range 15% to 25%. Reasonable recovery potentials do have the swing and the boom drive. For small machines, however, the boom drive dominates.

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