Looking back at 2023, sustainability and eco-friendliness have risen as key influences across various industries, and the hydraulics sector reflects this trend. With environmental concerns regarding energy usage and resource consumption, the hydraulic industry confronts rising demands to embrace sustainable technologies and practices. These initiatives aim to decrease emissions, minimize waste and reduce environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle.
In this blog post, we delve into the significant advancements and trends possibly shaping hydraulic solutions in 2024. These developments are driven by the industry's heightened focus on adopting green initiatives that resonate on a worldwide scale.
Renewable hydraulic fluids
One of the most impactful sustainability initiatives gaining rapid traction is using renewable and biodegradable hydraulic fluids made from plant-based raw materials rather than fossil fuels. Major fluid suppliers, such as Motorex, now offer a range of high-performance, eco-conscious hydraulic fluid options sourced from organic feedstocks like seed oils, corn and other crops that match or exceed the power and efficiency of conventional mineral oils.
Biodegradable hydraulic fluids have been around for a long time, yet still maintain the long service life and stability expected of traditional mineral oils. They have been formulated to preserve outstanding oxidation resistance, thermal durability and hydraulic performance to match conventional products.
Though completely biodegradable, the intended fluid change intervals aim for extended longevity. These innovative oils deliver the required viscosity, thermal properties and hydraulic power capacity needed for reliable equipment functioning over years of use. If any leaks or spillage do unfortunately occur, the non-toxic and renewable base fluids minimize environmental risks relative to traditional hydrocarbon-based formulations.
Conserve fluid and simplify recycling
Recycling hydraulic fluid is the most resource-efficient, waste-reducing and pollution-preventing method to use in lieu of disposal. For safety, label and date the sealed container designated for storing hydraulic fluid and avoid combining different hydraulic fluids within a single container.
It is important to test the used hydraulic fluid against the original or intended fluid's standards to compare its physical and chemical properties, such as viscosity, acidity, water content and contamination level. To remove debris, water or air, it's also crucial to filter the used hydraulic fluid. Lastly, repurpose the recovered hydraulic fluid in a suitable system and conduct routine maintenance and performance checks to ensure it maintains its original viscous properties.
There are several benefits to reusing and disposing of hydraulic fluid in an ecologically responsible manner. Among these advantages are financial savings achieved through recycling, reduced energy and maintenance expenses, and the prevention of hydraulic fluid contamination. It can also assist you in safeguarding the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions and saving natural resources. However, depending on the demands of your hydraulic system applications, fluid should not be recycled too often because it will lose its viscous properties over time.
Transition to hydraulic power electrification
Smart sensor technology has become prevalent in hydraulics to provide integrated platforms for many system applications in the heavy equipment and process industries. For many years OEMs have been leveraging smart sensors to relay programmed information to operate hydraulic motors, pumps and other components to improve system performance while reducing their environmental impact.
In addition, hydraulic system manufacturers have turned towards integrating lithium battery packs to store and deliver sustainable electricity to drive hydraulic pumps and motors while eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
Bosch Rexroth has developed many products with electrical power. One example is MyCro, which allows users to minimize operating costs by using less oil, save weight and space during installation, and enhance control behavior by reducing the amount of air in the oil. The company develops and builds hydraulic power units that range from small series units to project-specific systems with up to 75,000 liters of tank capacity. These smart power systems consistently deliver the required hydraulic force for heavy machinery in a continuous and environmentally friendly manner.
As eco-consciousness continues emerging across industries worldwide, sustainability-focused design principles will doubtlessly persist in reshaping the priorities and capabilities of hydraulic technology. It is important to continue these innovative designs to see a better and greener future for the industry.
Learn more about technological advancements concerning energy efficiency by downloading this BluPrint on smart fluid hydraulics and smart sensors: