Chances are, when your engineering teams took stock at the end of 2009, the situation was somewhat depressing. The economic downturn left in its wake reduced team sizes, canceled or delayed design projects, and an R&D budget for the new year that perhaps feels all but nonexistent.
While dealing with the unpleasant results of the last year, engineering teams also undoubtedly looked toward the future—most specifically, at new regulations that are in place or on the near horizon. New EU functional safety standards, the advent of Tier 4 in the U.S. and Stage IV in Europe, and the continuing end-user demands of a better operator experience are all compelling events that must be addressed. On top of (or perhaps in spite of) these new regulations, customers demand these machines more quickly than ever, and OEM senior management teams require machines that differentiate themselves in the market.
Even through these tough times, Sauer-Danfoss has been working as part of our customers' development teams to take on these big challenges. Despite the downturn, our test lab and research work has continued. We’ve taken a vehicle-by-vehicle approach to expand our applications and vehicle systems knowledge, tackling these new regulations while maintaining efficiency and total vehicle performance. Our goal is to deliver system solutions and flexible products that greatly reduce the engineering effort required by our customers to meet these challenges. We are doing this by designing products that simplify system integration, validating standard system design solutions in our test labs, and developing standardized control software solutions that allow engineers to improve both systems performance and operator experience.
One example is our new OSPE (Orbital Steering Product-Electric) steering control. This control introduces a range of innovative features that not only improve vehicle performance and operator comfort but also facilitate compliance with the safety demands of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The OSPE simplifies the hydraulic system architecture, saves space, and allows OEMs to rapidly develop and customize electronic machine control. A high level of integration minimizes the need for additional components and provides OEMs with a complete package, designed, developed, and tested for optimal performance. This is just one example of the investment Sauer-Danfoss is making to provide solutions that comply with the revised safety legislation and new standards, such as ISO 25119.
Likewise, over the next five years, lower emissions Tier 4 and Stage IV engines will have a significant impact on all future generations of off-highway machines. By our estimates, between 10,000 and 15,000 different machines will need to be redesigned. To meet the required emissions regulations, a number of engine characteristics will be affected. For starters, engine application operating speeds and speed bands will be reduced. Engine power levels and torque will change. Along with all this, there will be greater system heat rejection.
Sauer-Danfoss has dedicated resources that have identified and analyzed the technologies that may be employed to solve the power utilization, heat rejection, and installation space challenges. We are performing lab tests, conducting dynamic simulations, evaluating proof-of-concept systems, and validating and documenting how best to produce more efficient, productive machines. We have sponsored over 40 engine emissions seminars globally. These seminars assist the design engineer in identifying practical solutions to the emissions challenges.
On top of complying with new regulations, engineering teams are also being tasked to take mobile machine control to the next level but all within limited development time. Sauer-Danfoss' PLUS+1 is a complete development environment for machine control solutions. Within our PLUS+1 technology platform, we’ve captured many of our control experiences in subsystem application solutions, providing a head start for OEMs faced with these challenges. PLUS+1 and the GUIDE software development environment then allows programmers to modify these applications in an intuitive environment to provide the differentiating features required to set solutions apart from the market. Starting with proven Sauer-Danfoss applications reduces risk and shortens development time. Our goal is to provide a toolbox of solutions that can ensure our customer’s success.
Marc Weston, Chief Marketing Officer, Sauer-Danfoss, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.