Exploring a novel energy-recovering architecture for hydraulic actuation

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Pena, Oscar Rafael
Leamy, Michael J.
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This thesis begins through the introduction of a novel hydraulic actuation architecture and proceeds with the development of said architecture with respect to its control, sizing, and efficiency. Hydraulic actuation is used in several important industries today. It is commonly sought after due to its high power density. Like in most power transfer technologies, hydraulic actuation is often the target of efforts at improving its efficiency. Chapter 2 of this thesis introduces a novel hydraulic actuation architecture that shows promising efficiency advantages over contemporary architectures. Specifically, the introduced architecture achieves controlled actuation without relying on the use of throttling; an ubiquitous practice used to achieve controlled motion within fluid power which dissipates large amount of energy. The merits of the introduced architecture are identified, in the context of the hydraulic elevator, against a traditional throttle-based architecture and further validated against a state-of-the-art electrohydraulic architecture. The varying effect of sizing and control on the resulting efficiency necessitated the development of strategies which allow for an informed determination of both. To this end, Chapter 3 of this thesis employs Dynamic Programming (DP) in a backward-looking simulation of the system to inform both sizing and control of the architecture and move beyond the heuristic approach used in Chapter 2. DP-Informed Monte Carlo simulations allow for an optimal sizing region to be determined. Subsequently, DP-Informed rule-based control of the system is developed and implemented in a forward-looking simulation. The resulting system is compared to initial heuristic attempts at sizing and control and shown to have a considerable improvement. Finally, the architecture is further explored in the context of a hydraulic forklift. Dynamic Programming and Monte Carlo simulations are again employed to develop forward-looking simulation of the architecture. The resulting system is determined to be moderately optimal. Suggested future work involves the creation of a prototype and attempts at commercialization. It is expected that the introduced hydraulic architecture is applicable in many industries.
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