In the branches of industry using heavy equipment, such as: mining, surface field works, drilling, etc., hydraulic oil is used as a working medium in elements of actuating hydraulics. This factor is commonly used despite a number of its unfavourable properties, including: toxicity, cancerognic properties, being harmful for environment, flammability, generating contamination, high disposal costs. In regards to ever higher ecological requirements placed by the EU for lubricants and hydraulic media, prices of these products are constantly increasing. Thus a demand rises for new, more environment-friendly and cheaper solutions.
Among currently available and dynamically developing, alternative technologies, the most attractive seems to be the technology assuming using water as the working medium in hydraulic systems. All disadvantages listed above for oil do not apply to water. Water in this application has however its faults, such as: lack of self-lubricating properties, corrosiveness, higher probability of leakages. These are, however, disadvantages which may be dealt with, using the newest technologies. This has created one of the challenges for the participants of the project.
The superior goal of the project was development of knowledge and technologies necessary for manufacturing of new generation of environment-friendly machines. The innovative character of prepared solutions lied in using water in the hydraulic systems instead of commonly used oil.
The task for consortium members was designing new technologies enabling using water as working medium in already existing elements of industrial hydraulics. The works were mostly related to development of technology for application of special protective coatings (Diamond-like Carbon – DLC, Cellular Nanostructured Coating – CNC) and detailed analysis of construction of hydraulic elements designed for operation using water. Developed solutions were implemented and checked using examples of real, industrial equipment, e.g. a Messersi mini-digger.
SKA Polska worked, among other things, on the matters of analyzing construction of hydraulic elements designed for operation with water. As a result of conducted works, two numerical models simulating valve operation were created: for a slide valve, a popper valve and a model simulating operation of a hydraulic actuator. A CFD analysis (simulation of water flow through the valve) was also performed for the aforementioned valves, on the basis of which modification of channel shapes was suggested in order to reduce flow forces acting on mobile elements of the valve and in order to improve nominal operational characteristics.
One of the most interesting effects of the works performed by SKA Polska within the project was development of a prototype of an innovative valve island „SKA Polska PPD”.
Innowacyjność konstrukcji, oprócz możliwości współpracy z dowolnym typem medium (olej lub woda), polega na możliwości konfiguracji urządzenia do pracy w wybranym trybie rozprowadzania przepływów. Do zmiany trybu pracy urządzenia wystarczy zmiana na poziomie oprogramowania sterownika, bez konieczności modyfikacji wewnętrznej geometrii kanałów przepływowych. Urządzenie zostało zamontowane i przetestowane w warunkach laboratoryjnych oraz eksploatacyjnych (minikoparka, Messersi).
Below you may find a video clip from device testing in laboratory conditions:
The project has been implemented by an international consortium comprising of eight companies and a technical university.