Efforts to overcome the inherent loss of energy due to throttling in valve driven hydraulic systems are many, and various approaches have been proposed by research communities as well as the industry. Recently, a so-called speed-variable differential pump was proposed for direct drive of hydraulic differential cylinders. The main idea was here to utilize an electric rotary drive, with the shaft interconnected to two antiparallel fixed displacement gear pumps, to actuate a differential cylinder. With the design carried out such that the area ratio of the cylinder matches the displacement ratio of the two gear pumps, the throttling losses are confined to cross port leakage in the cylinder and leakage of the pumps. However, it turns out that the volumetric pump losses and the pressure dynamics of the cylinder and connecting pipes may cause pressure increase- or decrease in the cylinder chambers, which may seriously influence the dynamics and hence the performance during operation. This paper presents an analysis of these properties, and a redesign of the hydraulic system concept is proposed. Here the area- and displacement ratios are deliberately mismatched, causing inherent pressure build-up or cavitation in the return chamber, depending on the direction of motion. In order to avoid cavitation, a third gear pump is introduced, which provides a flow in the relevant cylinder chamber in one direction of motion, while operating in idle mode in the opposite motion direction. Together with two 2/2 way proportional valves, this design allows to control the lower chamber pressure levels, throttling excess compression flow to tank. The resulting design introduces additional losses due to throttling of excess compression flow, but also improves the dynamic properties of the system significantly. The proposed features are verified by comparison with the original pump concept and a conventional valve concept. Furthermore, significant improvement in energy efficiency is demonstrated under certain load conditions.

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