Fuel efficiency, return on investment drive tomorrow’s success

  • 08-Jul-2010 09:28 EDT
Terry Dolberg.jpg

Terry Dolberg, Senior Market Manager, SPAL USA

SPAL USA strives to provide advanced airflow solutions that meet customers' demands and help guide them to future growth.

In analyzing today's trends and how they will lead the off-highway industry to a successful tomorrow, we at SPAL believe airflow management is not going to exist as it did before—i.e., simply turning the external fan or internal HVAC blower on and off to maintain the average desired temperature. Instead, OEMs are investing in components and technology that will improve a machine's efficiency over the long term.

There is a paradigm shift among OEMs in which they're focusing not on just engine efficiency but rather on system efficiency. Fuel savings and a return on investment are the two key factors driving this pattern, and many companies are realizing that maintaining machinery over its entire life cycle offers long-term benefits. The off-highway industry recognizes there might be more upfront costs for advanced systems, but the long-term benefits of these components will outweigh the cost.

So how do we arrive at the best fuel efficiency possible? That requires the most efficient technology, which in SPAL's case means our advanced brushless motor technology. This technology delivers a 35% reduction in motor density plus a reduction in moving parts vs. a dc brushed motor, which means more efficient airflow yielding less heat under the hood of off-highway vehicles, construction equipment, tractors, and more.

Dan Zenor, Account Manager for SPAL’s Agricultural and Construction markets, weighs in on this topic: "Combining the brushless electric fan, which allows for more fresh air surface area, with new core technology, can improve cooling efficiency by more than 10%. With E-Fan engine space claim equivalent to traditional cooling, this provides no additional issues with overcooling at low ambient temperatures. The E-Fan also provides a variable ratio with independence to the engine speed."

Utilizing our brushless technology in cooling fans allows for increased efficiency, waterproof construction, a low-inertia inner rotor, and reduced axial dimensions and weight. The brushless technology also has advanced control features that maintain rotation speed, acceleration, and temperature. SPAL incorporates a smart soft-start technology that provides a reduced inrush while still protecting against stalled/stuck fans.

In addition to machine efficiency, operator efficiency is another essential aspect in delivering off-highway machinery's best return on investment. A comfortable and stable cabin for the machine operator means less stress and, as a result, more productivity.

With brushless technology, SPAL takes a proactive approach to controller comfort. Instead of having an operator turn a fan on and off throughout their shift, brushless technology uses a predictive approach to frequently check machine levels to maintain the best cabin temperature. Plus, an electronically controlled brushless blower ensures flexibility and optimized control.

As we move into the future, SPAL continues to improve the brushless line, expanding on its distributed cooling and variable speed control benefits. It is our goal to increase a system's efficiency over the long term.

Today, much of the machinery used in the off-highway industry has a life cycle that spans five to 10 years. Adding advanced components such as brushless technology into fleets today can save owners a significant amount of money in the future, and that is definitely a trend that will lead to future growth.

Terry Dolberg, Senior Market Manager, SPAL USA, wrote this article for SAE Off-Highway Engineering.

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