Traditionally, off-road mobile machines such as excavators and wheel loaders are primarily powered by hydraulics and throttling valves are used to control their work circuits. In recent years, two general trends are towards more energy efficient systems and electrification. With electrification, both efficiency and control performance can be improved by the elimination of throttling losses and the use of high-bandwidth inverter control. Electrification is generally accomplished with Electro-hydraulic actuators (EHA) but they are limited to lower powered systems due to the high cost of electric machines capable of high power or high torque. This paper presents preliminary results of a new system architecture for off-road vehicles to improve efficiency and control performance. The architecture combines hydraulic power and electric power in such a way that the majority of power is provided hydraulically while electric drives are used to modulate this power. The hybrid hydraulic-electric architecture (HHEA) and its rationale are described. In addition, a case study is presented to illustrate its operation, its potential for energy saving, and its benefits of component downsizing. The case study indicates that compared to a baseline load sensing system, the HHEA has the potential to reduce energy consumption by more than 50%. Furthermore, the torque capability of the electrical components need only be ∼ 28% of what is required for the direct application of EHA.

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