Next-gen drive

We visit the Avant fac­tory to check out the new Op­tidrive sys­tem

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

Avant has de­vel­oped a new and ef­fi­cient drive sys­tem in its load­ers that re­duces power loss in the units by around 10 per cent, sav­ing fuel in the process.

The new Op­tidrive sys­tem uses fewer hy­draulic hoses and fit­tings than the old sys­tem, in­creas­ing oil flow and sub­se­quent cool­ing of the drive sys­tem.

Op­tidrive is also used on the all-elec­tric e5 model, which helps makes more ef­fi­cient use of the bat­tery power.

Tra­di­tion­ally, the drive sys­tem used in Avant load­ers con­sists of a vari­able dis­place­ment hy­draulic pump, four hy­draulic drive mo­tors and some valves which are con­nected to­gether with hy­draulic hoses and fit­tings.

This sys­tem, where the drive power is con­veyed from en­gine (elec­tric mo­tor on Avant e se­ries) to the wheels us­ing hy­draulic oil, is of­ten re­ferred to as drive cir­cuit.

In­stead of me­chan­i­cal axles Avant uses a de­sign where there are four sep­a­rate hy­draulic drive mo­tors, one on each wheel of the loader.

Avant was the first man­u­fac­turer to de­sign and utilise such a sys­tem in a com­pact loader. This sys­tem has proven to be very ef­fec­tive, of­fer­ing lots of push­ing power and yet en­abling a very com­pact de­sign to the loader while main­tain­ing an ex­tremely low cen­tre of grav­ity, which is an im­por­tant part of the sta­bil­ity of Avant load­ers.

Through re­search and de­vel­op­ment, Avant has now im­proved this sys­tem with an in­no­va­tive way of re­think­ing. When hy­draulic oil flows at high flow rate in the drive cir­cuit, in hy­draulic hoses, fit­tings, mo­tors and valves, the re­sis­tance in th­ese com­po­nents heats up the hy­draulic oil.

The more hoses and fit­tings there are the quicker the oil heats up, which means all that un­nec­es­sary heat gen­er­ated in the sys­tem uses a part of the en­gine out­put in vain. This also re­sults in higher fuel con­sump­tion, and less en­gine power is avail­able.

With the new Op­tidrive sys­tem, the amount of hy­draulic hoses and fit­tings has been rad­i­cally re­duced and op­ti­mised.

Op­tidrive re­duces the power loss in the sys­tem by up to 1.5kW, which is roughly 10 per cent of the to­tal power used in drive cir­cuit. This means lower fuel con­sump­tion, less heat in the hy­draulic sys­tem and more power for the ac­tual job.

All of the four hy­draulic drive mo­tors in the drive cir­cuit use flush­ing oil to cool the mo­tors down when the loader is work­ing.

On Op­tidrive the amount of flush­ing oil in the drive mo­tors is five times big­ger com­pared to the old sys­tem, pro­vid­ing a far bet­ter cool­ing of the drive cir­cuit.

De­pend­ing on the Avant model, the Op­tidrive elim­i­nates at least three hoses from the sys­tem with­out los­ing any of the fea­tures on the loader.

This is achieved through an in­tel­li­gent new de­sign with the valves (drive re­lease valve, park­ing brake valve, dual-speed valve) mounted to­gether on one hy­draulic block.

Op­tidrive fea­tures around 30 fewer fit­tings com­pared to the old drive cir­cuit.

There are also sig­nif­i­cantly fewer 90-de­gree-an­gle fit­tings and T-junc­tion fit­tings which are less op­ti­mal for hy­draulic flow.

In or­der to get the best pos­si­ble grip on all load and ter­rain sit­u­a­tions, the park­ing brake on the Op­tidrive is sit­u­ated in the rear wheels of the loader.

Rear weights, load on the boom, up­hill, down­hill, and so on, there­fore have a smaller ef­fect on the loader’s rear wheels and thus the loader stays more se­curely on place when the park­ing brake is en­gaged.

Op­tidrive also has an ef­fect on the weight and bal­ance of the en­gine and pump assem­bly on the loader. The al­tered weight dis­tri­bu­tion also led to the de­vel­op­ment of new en­gine mounts (vi­bra­tion dampers) that are op­ti­mised to the new load and bal­ance of the assem­bly.

Op­tidrive re­duces the power loss in the sys­tem by up to 1.5kW, which is roughly 10 per cent of the to­tal power used in the drive cir­cuit

The Ot­pidrive-equipped Avant e5 elec­tric mini-loader

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