Dana Develops Hybrid Power Train for Telehandlers

Dana Develops Hybrid Power Train for Telehandlers

Dana Holding Corporation is now field testing its Spicer PowerBoost hydraulic hybrid power system on telehandlers.

After field testing the Spicer PowerBoost system for more than 1,000 hours on a 17.5-ton front-end loader, Dana is now in its third month of field testing the hybrid power train on a telehandler powered by an 111-hp engine.

Integrated through series or parallel hybrid configurations, the system fits into existing vehicle designs with minimal adaption and works with all types of transmission architecture, according to Dana.

Spicer PowerBoost captures kinetic energy that would normally be wasted throughout the drivetrain and working hydraulics, and then uses the stored energy to help power the vehicle. Its efficiency can reduce fuel consumption by 20 to 40%, compared to conventional drivetrains, depending on the application and duty cycle.

The technology can also reduce total ownership and operating costs by increasing productivity, reducing maintenance, and allowing use of a smaller engine.

“Since introducing the Spicer PowerBoost system at Bauma last year, we have confirmed the benefit gains through extensive field testing in real-world operating environments,” said Aziz Aghili, president of Dana Off-Highway Driveline Technologies. “Our results to date show great promise for adapting our Spicer PowerBoost concepts to numerous construction and material-handling applications.”

Dana also featured the technology in its display at the co-located ConExpo and International Fluid Power Exposition trade shows in Las Vegas this March.

PowerBoost's advanced energy-management system evaluates the levels of power needed in an entire vehicle, predicts operating demands, and determines the most efficient means of operation.

When the telehandler's engine is running at lower power or the machine is braking, a hydraulic accumulator captures and stores hydrostatic energy from the power train. Then when the machine needs extra power to accelerate from a full stop, lift a load, drive a bucket into a pile, or do other demanding work, the energy-management system uses the stored energy to help improve performance, increase productivity, and reduce fuel consumption.

The Spicer PowerBoost system can also minimize engine idling by shutting off the diesel engine and using energy stored in the accumulator to perform relatively low-effort functions, such as inching, light work, and low-speed travel.

Dana is also developing hydraulic start-and-stop functionality for use with electronically controlled powertrains.

Dana says that Spicer PowerBoost solutions are ideal for applications that demand  frequent, intense bursts of acceleration, deceleration, lifting, and lowering. Initial targets are construction equipment, material-handling machines, and on-highway vocational vehicles.

Since Spicer PowerBoost technology provides the additional power needed for energy-consuming activities, such as driving into a pile or lifting a load, it may let machinery manufacturers equip a wide range of vehicles with smaller engines throughout the 74- to 335-hp range.

That can prove especially beneficial for applications that currently require an engine at or slightly above the US EPA’s 75-hp Tier 4 emission threshold. The system's efficiency may let manufacturers use a smaller engine that does not require exhaust after-treatment systems that are costly, need added space, and raise the power train's operating temperature.

Depending on setup and control strategy, Spicer PowerBoost solutions can also help improve  productivity by shortening cycle times, reducing the number of fuel stops, and extending brake-maintenance intervals.

Dana says that over the past four years, engineers in Belgium, Italy, and the United States have spent more than 20,000 man-hours conducting extensive simulations and tests while equipping demonstration vehicles with the system to determine feasibility, develop advanced features, and quantify benefits. Dana has applied for 16 patents related to the development activities.


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