Design of Electro-Hydraulic Energy Converters : With Focus on Integrated Designs and Valve Plate Rotation

Abstract: In mobile working machines, there is a trend towards replacing combustion engines by electric machines to reduce their carbon footprint. This provides several advantages and challenges for the hydraulic system. The low efficiency of conventional hydraulic systems is no longer acceptable due to the volume and cost of batteries. Luckily, the advantages offered by electrification can be exploited for increased system efficiency. Electrified pump drives (electro-hydraulic energy converters) enable variable speed control, energy recuperation, power-on-demand, and new system architectures with more flexible control. Currently, electro-hydraulic energy converters are typically made by stacking off-the-shelf components. However, off-the-shelf hydraulic machines are not optimized to be combined with electric machines, and thus there is room for improvement. One of these potentials is the volume at the core of electric machines which does not contribute to torque creation. This volume can be used to tightly integrate a hydraulic machine. This tight integration leads to increased power density and the elimination of some parts (e.g., a pair of bearings). This thesis investigates and discusses the design of electro-hydraulic energy converters. Furthermore, this thesis discusses valve plate rotation for a double pump of floating piston type with two valve plates for the following reasons: Firstly, without the noise of the combustion engine, the noise of the hydraulic machine becomes more audible. Valve plate rotation provides variable pre- and de-compression, and is therefore investigated to reduce fluid-borne noise. Secondly, electric machines can be overloaded for some time. In order to protect them from overheating when maximum pressure is demanded continuously, the torque load can be reduced by reducing the hydraulic machine’s displacement. Conventional swash-plate tilting needs significant leakage to be stable, which reduces the efficiency. Valve plate rotation requires low control power and could therefore increase efficiency, and is thus investigated in this thesis. However, valve plate rotation remains challenging for the following reasons: For low displacement setting ratios, the axial speed of the pistons at commutation is increased, increasing the throttling effect. Also, the hydrostatic forces acting on the valve plate change when rotating the valve plate. 

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