Palfinger hydraulic equipment for electric trucks
By Alex Dahm25 May 2022
Palfinger, ZF and Mercedes-Benz Trucks have developed a system to allow hydraulic cranes and other products to be installed on electric trucks.
Power transmission specialist ZF Friedrichshafen and manufacturer Mercedes-Benz Trucks are working with Palfinger to develop a module – compatible with all commercial vehicles – to electrically power Palfinger’s entire product range.
Ordinarily the hydraulic pumps for loader cranes are powered by a mechanical power take off (PTO) from the transmission at the back of the truck’s diesel engine.
Electrifying the power take off
The aim of this latest development is to efficiently electrify PTOs to operate the hydraulic equipment. Mercedes-Benz Trucks set up the eWorX all-in-one solution developed by ZF to run a Palfinger skiploader in one of its eActros electric trucks.
Andreas Hille, Palfinger senior vice president global product line management and engineering, explained, “The majority of truck manufacturers rely on high voltages between 400 and 800 Volts, which can also be used to power the mounted equipment. This calls for specific know-how in working with high-voltage systems and the requisite equipment.”
Five years ago Palfinger embarked on the programme. “Together with ZF and Mercedes-Benz Trucks, we offer our customers a solution that is easy to install, operates reliably and combines all the advantages of electrification,” Hille said.
What are the benefits?
Primarily, it eliminates carbon dioxide emission and operation is much quieter.
Power is provided for the crane from the electric truck’s traction battery. The ZF eWorX electric PTO system converts the electricity into mechanical energy and handles communication between the crane and the truck. It is described by ZF as an all-in-one solution to efficiently electrify the PTO regardless of the architecture used for the drive. At the heart of ZF’s eWorX is the modular eCubE linking the truck’s traction battery and the electric ePTO. The eCubE consists of power electronics, a control unit and software specific to the application. Communication is via CAN bus.
“Operating the Palfinger equipment works the same as on conventional trucks: The energy for operating the hydraulic pump is provided by a mechanical power take-off. It’s like plug and play,” Hille explains further, “Since no separate energy storage is needed, accessing the vehicle’s traction battery means a reduction in weight. But above all, ZF eWorX can be used on all electric trucks with a DC interface.”
The first product is a Palfinger skip loader on a Mercedes-Benz eActros truck with the ZF eWorX system. Crane installations will follow later, the manufacturer said.