Danfoss helps Dieci raise the bar on efficiency

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  • When Italian manufacturer Dieci challenged Danfoss Power Solutions to help improve the efficiency and power of its telehandlers seven years ago, it marked the beginning of an innovative partnership that continues today.

    “We made the decision to work with Danfoss Power Solutions because while other competitors were proposing solutions, Danfoss was proposing solutions with innovation,” said Enrico Ognibene, technical manager for Dieci. “Innovation, along with quality and safety, are our priorities at Dieci, and Danfoss understood and shared that approach with us.”

    Partnering for innovation
    Danfoss began the project by installing industry-leading H1 pumps and H1 motors on the Dieci Agriplus VS range of telehandlers in order to improve an inefficient fluid power system. The machines responded well to this 2009 adjustment — as did customers — and Dieci and Danfoss engineers decided to keep working together to identify more innovations that would make the improvements even more impactful.

    “After learning about Dieci’s overall efficiency goals and working together on the machines, our Danfoss engineers were able to suggest further solutions that could help meet and in some cases, even exceed the Dieci team’s goals,” said Ivan Sibani, team leader of system application engineering for Danfoss Power Solutions.

    As a result, in 2012 Danfoss Power Solutions was asked to help fully upgrade the next Dieci telehandler model. In addition to utilizing efficient hydraulic H1 pumps and H1 motors, Dieci and Danfoss engineers began to implement the new Danfoss Best Point Control (BPC) software solution on both the Dedalus VS and Agrifarmer VS range of telehandlers, which launched globally late last year.

    “Applying Best Point Control to our Agrifarmer telehandlers was a challenge because we had to prove to our customers that the new solution would not only work as well as previous models, but would actually offer greater operational performance and efficiency,” Enrico Ognibene said.

    Increasing machine efficiency
    Best Point Control is able to increase machine efficiency levels by detecting the needed power for current operating conditions and automatically adjusting the engine speed to meet optimum efficiency points.

    With Best Point Control, there is no longer a need to rely on operator skill level to get the most out of a machine and to achieve performance goals. The operator still controls the movement of the vehicle, but the software manages engine speed and hydrostatic ratio. This is in contrast to traditional hydrostatic transmissions, which require the operator to use a foot pedal to control engine speed.

    Danfoss and Dieci engineers completed more than 1,000 hours of testing together with Best Point Control, focusing on machine behavior and safety, and found fuel savings of 40 percent in some operating points and average fuel savings of up to 18 percent.

    To help communicate and demonstrate these results to customers, Danfoss and Dieci worked together to develop an efficiency summit at the Dieci customer facility in Italy. At the summit, more than 50 potential and existing end users had the opportunity to see the improvements in action.

    “It was important for customers to see and feel the difference for themselves,” Enrico Ognibene said. “We utilized two machines, which were exactly the same — except one was equipped with Best Point Control and the other was not. After seeing the results, customers were much more likely to adopt the software and were able to see how it could save them money through reduced fuel consumption. It was clear the benefits outweighed the cost.”

    Nicola Musciagna, system application engineer OEM EU for Danfoss Power Solutions, also spent time in the field with end users, gathering important feedback to inform the implementation of best point control in the Dieci machines.

    “It was very helpful to talk with end users about their needs,” said Musciagna, who spent time shadowing a farmer on the job. “The greatest challenge we faced was the driving concept because Best Point Control was new for telehandlers, and we realized our initial thinking wasn’t aligned with the end user feelings. By gathering feedback, we were able to modify our software and help create the best driving machine possible.”

    Application areas and benefits
    In addition to the telehandler, Best Point Control is designed for multiple single-path application types such as a wheel loader, large forklift, reach stacker, forestry machine and dumper, among others.

    The modular software approach supports an efficient human machine interface (HMI) integration (drive pedals, joysticks, mode switches, etc.), as well as an integration of various gearbox solutions.

    End users ultimately see a variety of benefits with Best Point Control, including: 

    • Significant fuel savings depending on the application type, duty cycle and system configuration; BPC delivers fuel savings at almost every operating point, including transport driving, acceleration, deceleration and work tasks.
    • Increased driver comfort and productivity; in microseconds, BPC determines the lowest possible engine speed to accomplish any task and takes the burden of controlling engine speed off operators, therefore reducing fatigue and increasing focus on tasks and steering.
    • Less disruption to the work area by keeping engine work at the appropriate level for every task and reducing overall noise and emissions; lower engine noise is easier on the operator and also critical when working on sites that have noise restrictions, such as residential areas.
    • Reduced development time and time-to-market thanks to the plug-and-perform integration of Best Point Control into existing work flows because it is compliant with the Danfoss Power Solutions PLUS+1® programming environment.

    Later this year, the recent global release of Best Point Control will be followed by the launch of the Danfoss PLUS+1 Propel Application Library (PAL), a collection of easy-to-use, pre-tested and qualified software function blocks. PAL allows  customers - and Danfoss distributors to provide their customers - with solutions that decrease development and system integration times.

     

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