100% Employee Owned, Founded 1954

855.889.0092

100% Employee Owned, Founded 1954

855.889.0092

100% Employee Owned, Founded 1954

855.889.0092

Alternatives to Axles: Hydraulic Direct Wheel Drive Motors

David Saunders | June 12th, 2018

As a mobile machine OEM, you generally build equipment that moves under its own power. It could have rubber tires, rail wheels, or tracks. It could be powered by electric motors, hydraulic motors, a mechanical transmission, or a combination of these.

A commonly applied form of mechanical energy transmission is the automotive style drive axle. While this is generally a very reliable and trouble free technology, it can come with long lead times (depending on specifics) and high cost compared to other solutions. It also requires a generally taller and larger frame to accommodate it. You might ask, “how can I upgrade from my mechanical drive system?”

We offer an exciting alternative to a typical hydraulic or mechanical transmission that offers benefits in cost, performance, dimensions, and weight in most cases. This alternative is the hydraulic direct wheel drive solution.

Hydraulic Direct Wheel Drive

Designing a frame to accept a hydraulic direct wheel drive system will greatly increase the available space for other system components. We have seen the larger outer dimensions of Tier 4 engines prompt redesign efforts with a goal of maximizing available space in/on the frame. Since the drive motors can mount to the sides of a frame rather than underneath it, the mechanical design efficiency is improved, additional space becomes available, and machine weight is reduced. Lower machine weight results in increased performance given the same available power. Weight can also be a factor in shipping considerations when a machine is close to requiring an “overweight” permit.

Advanced Electronic Features Such as “Overspeed Protection” are Available with a Fully Integrated Wheel Drive System (Source: Poclain Hydraulics)

Using a direct hydraulic wheel drive system also offers easy implementation of advanced control features. Electronic horsepower limiting can be used to optimize performance for a machine that may have different engines or configurations. Traction control modules can automatically prevent wheel slippage based on sensor feedback. Engine overspeed prevention and anti-stall logic can be used to protect sensitive and costly Tier 4 engines. In many cases, depending on overall system requirements, there is a significant cost saving even with advanced features included.

When designing a hydraulic wheel drive solution, there are, of course, some unique concerns to be considered. Bearing capacity and wheel centerline offset need to be carefully analyzed and optimized for best component life. When using traction control, there may need to be either additional flow dividers or pumps to split flow in the same way that axles inherently performed the same task. Also, since there are additional hydraulic components, there will be more heat generated and retained in the hydraulic oil, so additional cooling capacity may be needed depending on the system.

Poclain MHP Motors (Source: Poclain Hydraulics)

We view implementing a hydraulic direct drive solution as a means to revitalize existing equipment (such as for Tier 4 compliance) or to ensure the most efficient design for a new machine. The savings in space and weight are augmented by the ability to use advanced control features. We hope you will consider this exciting technology for your next design project. Contact the experts at Cross Company for a design review and assistance!

Cross Group - Mobile Systems Integration

Mobile Technology Demonstration at ICUEE 2019

Wade Wessler| August 29, 2019 We would like to introduce ourselves at the upcoming ICUEE 2019 Show in Louisville, KY, October 1-3, 2019 (Booth #1054). Here are some things that you will see on our Cross Company technology truck: Emerging technologies Cross Company mobile IoT telematics solution Vehicle electrification – flywheel mounted PMAC generator, PMAC

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Cross Group - Mobile Systems Integration

Hydrostatic Pumps: Electronic Control vs Manually Control

Zek Grantham | November 26th, 2018 Times are changing in the mobile hydraulics world with the integration of electronics into hydraulic systems. Many people have felt the effects of Tier 4 and all the additional electronics, wiring harnesses, and displays that have been forced upon them with these regulations. To better understand Tier 4 and the

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Cross Group - Mobile Systems Integration

High-Flow Advanced Control Valves

David Saunders | November 26th, 2018 In Mobile Hydraulics, we most commonly encounter actuator flows from fractions of a gallon per minute (gpm) to around 25 gpm. However, there are applications where much more than that is necessary to result in the speeds and forces required by the task. With smaller flows, there is an array

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