Volvo Construction Equipment’s teams in Sweden and South Korea have been quietly working with Norrhydro to develop an electrohydraulic system that is expected to reduce energy losses and improve the fuel efficiency of excavators.

Adding hydraulic power to the hydraulic accumulator (located at the rear of the excavator) increases performance and decreases fuel consumption.

All the working functions of the excavator are connected to the hydraulic accumulator through a common pressure rail and two or more pressure lines, similar to the common rail fuel system. Traditional systems typically lose kinetic energy and peak power. With these accumulators, the loss can be restored. In cylinder-driven work, “smart actuators” convert hydraulic power into variable force and speed. This system also improves the performance and efficiency of the machine’s swing function.

Due to all of this energy efficiency, smaller engines and cooling systems can perform the same job as larger ones, resulting in more work being done with less fuel and generating less greenhouse gases. Additionally, as the available power increases, cycle times can be shortened, for example when loading a truck, which improves overall work efficiency and reduces contractor costs.

At present, Volvo is conducting customer trials on site. Volvo Construction Equipment aims to accelerate the introduction of this system on its large excavator platform, and it will be launched soon. With this new electro-hydraulic system, Volvo is on its way to achieving net-zero emissions through its electric car strategy.