Self-contained electro-hydraulic cylinders have the potential to replace both conventional hydraulic systems and the electro-mechanical counterparts enhancing energy efficiency, plug-and-play installation, and reduced maintenance. Current commercial solutions of this technology are limited and typically tailor-made, whereas the research emphasis is primarily on cost efficiency and power applications below five [kW]. Therefore, there is the need of developing more flexible systems adaptable to multiple applications. This research paper offers a contribution in this regard. It presents an electro-hydraulic self-contained single-rod cylinder with passive load-holding capability, sealed tank, capable of recovering energy, and scalable up to about eighty [kW]. The system implementation on a single-boom crane confirms its feasibility: The position tracking error remains well within ±2 [mm], oscillations are limited, and the overall energy efficiency is about 60 [%] during actuation. Concerning the passive load-holding devices, it is shown that both vented and non-vented pilot-operated check valves achieve the desired functioning and can hold the actuator position without consuming energy. Additional observations about the size and the arrangement of the load-holding valves are also provided. In conclusion, this paper demonstrates that the proposed self-contained cylinder can be successfully extended to several practical applications, especially to those characterized by overrunning external loads and the need of securing the actuator position.
Padovani, D., Ketelsen, S., Hagen, D., & Schmidt, L. (2019). A Self-Contained Electro-Hydraulic Cylinder with Passive Load-Holding Capability. Energies, 12(2), . https://doi.org/10.3390/en12020292