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HYDRAULICS & PNEUMATICS FEATURE MODERN HYDRAULICS TICK THE RIGHT BOXES


Simple, networkable hydraulics can be integrated seamlessly into Industry 4.0 concepts by machine and system manufacturers


Jake Mitchell, product manager for Industrial Hydraulics at Bosch Rexroth UK, examines the potential of intelligent, connected hydraulic systems and explores why modern hydraulics are well-placed to play their part in the smart factory revolution


A


s is the case with any other system within industrial processing, designers


of hydraulic products and systems are continually evolving their technologies to keep pace with modernisation, multiplying the ways hydraulics can serve the most demanding industrial requirements. Established for more than 200 years as


an efficient and convenient way of delivering power to many industrial applications, hydraulic systems remain at the heart of industrial processes across various sectors. The advantages of hydraulic systems


remain clear. The sheer quantity and density of power they can deliver means that in high-demand applications they remain the best option. Highly resistant to impact, vibration and outside influences they offer reliability and longevity, often with a relatively compact footprint and low level of heat. When combined with digital control


technology and open interfaces for intelligent smart controls, hydraulics ticks all the boxes for smart, lean, flexible design and efficient, reliable performance.


HYBRID SOLUTIONS Modern hydraulic systems must deliver efficiency, safety and connectivity, allowing ongoing condition monitoring without compromising on power delivery. This has driven the development of hybrid or electro-hydraulic solutions which combine the power capabilities of hydraulics with the efficiency, safety and connectivity benefits of electronic systems. Amongst the benefits offered by


connectivity is the ability to monitor and control systems to identify issues before





leading players in the sector has made software-based automation a real possibility. This means hydraulic systems in many applications can be controlled with the same tools as electric drives, bringing the benefits of hydraulic systems within the scope of design engineers. Using open standards such as multi- Ethernet interfaces, they can be added to horizontally and vertically networked machine architectures in exactly the same way. Predefined functions within the software are used to control the position, velocity, distance/force, different synchronous cylinders or path-dependent braking and improve performance by dynamically adjusting flow and pressure. Managing these functions in real-time, via the software, allows users to be more efficient when producing small batches and reduces the retooling work for new products. Better still, commissioners of systems do not need to have any specific knowledge of hydraulic systems to gain effective results from these technologies.


SEAMLESS INTEGRATION Simple, networkable hydraulics can be integrated seamlessly into Industry 4.0 concepts by machine and system manufacturers. OEMs and designers can save time and costs across the engineering process by using online configurators which facilitate virtual testing of a variety of configurations. In practice, this reduces the costs for the design, evaluation and commissioning of hydraulic systems and decreases time to market. Hydraulic systems can automatically


they arise. Specialist sensors acquire information on various operating conditions in hydraulic power units such as oil quality, temperature and vibration, as well counting the switching cycles of valves. By feeding this diagnostic data into control systems in real-time, appropriate precautions and preventive maintenance can be implemented proactively and in planned production breaks, reducing overall cost of ownership by minimising downtime and improving performance – in some cases cutting energy consumption by as much as 80 per cent. Research and development by the


Amongst the benefits offered by connectivity is the ability to monitor and control systems to identify issues before they arise


When combined with digital control technology and open interfaces for intelligent smart controls, hydraulics ticks all the boxes for smart, lean, flexible design and efficient, reliable performance


adapt to changing requirements such as velocity and changes in force, autonomously control movements in real- time and fit seamlessly into machine concepts in the form of modules. Like any technological development on


or ahead of the curve, the key is in working with forward-thinking, innovative manufacturers who can offer best-in- class technologies you can rely on. Bosch Rexroth, for example, offers a


range of motion control and motion logic systems that are matched specifically to suit hydraulics; from Integrated Axis Controller (IAC) Multi-Ethernet Valves, which offer simplified automation, to cabinet-mounted Hydraulic Motion Control (HMC) with predefined hydraulic functionalities. By combining hydraulic systems with


digital control technology and open interfaces, designers can now commission and network hydraulic, hybrid and electric drives equally conveniently and unlock the advantages of hydraulics in the smart factory.


Bosch Rexroth www.connected-hydraulics.com


PROCESS & CONTROL | JUNE 2019 25


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