The Norrhydro NorrDigi uses digital control to improve performance of hydraulic cylinders.

Norrhydro Improves Hydraulic System Efficiency Through Digital Control

March 29, 2023
The NorrDigi hydraulic system uses digital control to improve the speed, force and efficiency of hydraulic cylinders.

Norrhydro’s NorrDigi features a digital control system to optimize the movements of hydraulic cylinders. The appropriate force and speed are applied to provide the performance needed without consuming an unnecessary amount of energy.

Key features of NorrDigi include:

  • energy stored in accumulators
  • four-chamber hydraulic cylinder design
  • data gathering capabilities to aid maintenance
  • electronic control provides improved productivity and efficiency

Digital Control Optimizes Performance

The NorrDigi system is comprised of variable flow four-chamber hydraulic cylinders and digitally controlled valves. Sixteen different movements are possible with the cylinders which use high- and low-pressure lines. The cylinders and hydraulic motors are on a common pressure and return line to the system's piston accumulators. 

By utilizing digital control, not only can force and speed be more precise but also energy consumption reduced. Traditional hydraulic cylinders use throttled flows to control cylinder movements which Norrhydro explained in its press release announcing the NorrDigi's presence at IFPE 2023 consumes energy, generates heat and requires cooling. Because the NorrDigi system stores energy in the piston accumulators which directly drive the hydraulic cylinders, less energy is used which can help to improve the overall efficiency of a machine. 

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In addition, energy can be regenerated back into the accumulators during idle movements, further benefitting efficiency. 

Norrhydro explained that while the use of four-chamber hydraulic cylinders is not a new concept, its digital control of the cylinders is unique. Complex algorithms developed by the company enable the digital controls to provide fast response times at a fraction of the force required by traditional hydraulic actuation systems. 

A Range of Potential Benefits

With the improved performance possible via digital control, machines can operate in a more productive and efficient manner. This helps keep projects moving at an appropriate pace while reducing the amount of energy, and thus fuel, necessary to complete them which is becoming increasingly critical as fuel costs continue to fluctuate.  

And when machines operate more efficiently, their emissions are reduced as well. 

Norrhydro noted its system also enables the potential to downsize hydraulic components or even eliminate those no longer necessary which can bring further cost and efficiency savings. 

Preventative maintenance capabilities are possible as well. With the hydraulic cylinders' digital control comes the ability to collect data on system performance and any potential maintenance needs before they become an issue. 

Norrhydro developed the NorrDigi system in collaboration with the University of Tampere and Volvo Construction Equipment. The company foresees it benefitting a range of heavy equipment applications from excavators to mining machinery to material handling vehicles and more. 

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

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