Small hydraulic valves are usually actuated by electromechanical transducers such as solenoids or voice coils. Normally, the necessary actuation forces grow with increasing size of the valve. Therefore, the application of direct electromechanical actuators is nowadays limited to valves of nominal size 10 or smaller. Larger valves are usually pilot operated, which is characterized by high power density and large achievable forces. However, these systems are inefficient due to the principle-related drain oil and further system specific losses in the pilot circuit.

As shown in previous research, electromechanical actuation systems can be implemented on large sized directional control valves as a viable alternative to pilot operated valves [1–3]. In this contribution, the energy saving potential of alternative electromechanical actuation systems is analyzed. Therefore a comparison of the overall energetic output in common hydraulic pilot circuits and electromechanical actuation based on a prototype of a designed electromechanical actuation system [3] is carried out at a positive overlapped 4-way, 3-state dircetional control valve. Beyond the pure actuator, the study also addresses the complexity of the entire hydraulic system. The influence of the system design and the control approach are taken into account to depict the entire system.

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