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This Week in Power & Motion: Electrification and Automation Technologies in Focus at CES 2024

Jan. 12, 2024
A range of technologies relevant to the fluid power and electric motion control industry were unveiled at CES 2024, including several focused on electrification and automation.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electric motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

This week we are focusing on news and product launches from CES which has become one of the largest technology shows in the world. Originally started as a consumer electronics event, it has moved well beyond that to now include a range of technology solutions for various industries and applications. 

As such, there are now more companies in or related to the fluid power and electric motion control sectors exhibiting at CES each year, and the 2024 show is no different. OEMs from the construction and agricultural industry — two of the largest customer markets for hydraulics and pneumatics — in particular have made exhibiting at the event part of their annual tradeshow rotation due to the many technological advancements taking place within these industries. There are also many relevant companies from the manufacturing space as well as numerous component suppliers of interest at the event, making it an important one for our industry to continue monitoring. 

Following are highlights of the most applicable technology launches from CES 2024 to the fluid power and electric motion control markets. For even more news from the show, visit Electronic Design and Microwaves & RF, affiliate publications to Power & Motion, whose editors are at the event and gathering information on the range of products and services on exhibit. Check out the sidebar to the right for even more coverage from other affiliate brands. 

Schaeffler Showcases Advanced Motion Technologies

Schaeffler once again exhibited at CES, focusing its display on electrification, battery and mechatronics solutions for the various markets it serves including automotive, industrial and aerospace.

"CES serves as a unique platform to engage with the industry and showcase our latest technologies that drive, energize and generate motion," said Marc McGrath, Chief Executive Officer of Schaeffler Americas, in the company's press release announcing its presence at the show. 

For electrification applications, Schaeffler exhibited electic axles designed to reduce the weight of electric vehicles while also helping to extend their range; electric motors with advanced cooling; and an e-drive system with improved power density, safety and air-cooling. 

Related to electrification were the company's various battery solutions on display which included a battery management system with intelligent algorithms to ensure optimal temperature control of batteries and its new all solid-state batteries with improved energy storage and density.

Among its mechatronics technologies on display were its Ride Hide Actuator which utilizes advanced actuator technologies to optimize powertrain performance for a range of driving scenarios, helping improve driver comfort. Also on display was the RT1-T Precision Strain Wave Gear Unit with Integrated Sensor for cobot, humanoid robot and medical-surgical robotics. Schaeffler said in its press release this technology benefits robotics applications where high-performance sensing of force and torque is increasingly critical for complex and sensitive manipulation tasks such as automated assembly of intricate mechanical systems.

In addition, the company showed its CASM-series electromechanical actuator designed for use in agricultural and construction equipment. It is designed to provide an alternative to hydraulic cylinders in these applications and was shown on an excavator arm in the company's exhibit to demonstrate how it could be utilized. 

Watch our interview below with Tom Diedrichs, Product Manager Actuators at Ewellix, a Schaeffler company, to learn more about the rising use of electric actuators in place of hydraulics.

dSPACE Presents Simulation Tools for Electric and Autonomous Vehicles

During CES 2024, dSPACE exhibited its various tools to aid with the development, simulation and validation of electric vehicles and autonomous driving. 

Among these were the company's modular system design for testing battery management systems which can be used for various vehicle types as well as energy storage systems for power grids. Also on display was dSPACE's power hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) systems capable of testing various control and power electronics used in electric vehicles. 

To aid development of autonomous vehicles, dSPACE showed its SIMPHERA web-based cloud solution for simulation and validation which helps to create the necessary functions for automated driving early in the design process. 

The company also once again partnered with the Indy Autonomous Challenge (IAC) during the show to demonstrate how its technologies are being used by college students to develop autonomous racing vehicles. During CES, student-designed vehicles will be raced against one another at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. dSPACE is the official software-in-the-loop technology sponsor of the IAC, providing the student teams with hardware and software tools to test and validate their race car designs.

READ MORE about IAC: Autonomous Racecar Development Helps Train Next Generation of Engineers

Heavy Equipment Manufacturers Continue to Make Presence at CES

The number of OEMs from the mobile equipment industry who exhibit at CES each continues to grow as this sector works toward further technological advancement. These advancements impact current and future design needs for hydraulic and pneumatic components used within the machines as well as bring about potential opportunities for alternatives such as electric actuators, making what they display at shows like CES valuable to monitor. 

Caterpillar Shines Focus on Electrification 

Caterpillar Inc. placed a focus on its electrification solutions for the off-highway equipment industry at CES 2024. At the center of its display was the Cat R1700 XE LHD underground loader, a 16.5-ton payload machine for underground mining — an application where electrification has been especially beneficial due to the health benefits provided and cost savings opportunities. 

The underground loader is equipped with an onboard battery which eliminates the need to exchange batteries as is common with some other electric machines. 

Also on display were the company's various battery, energy storage and alternative fuel options, demonstrating the range of products it offers to help the construction and mining industry move away from the use of diesel. 

Caterpillar exhibited its various digital solutions as well, many of which help customers monitor energy use, whether battery or diesel, and various service needs. Digital technologies like these are becoming more commonplace within the heavy equipment industry to enable machine owners to be more productive and efficient, and improve their maintenance practices.

CNH and HD Hyundai Establishing Joint Research Center

Two major players in the heavy equipment industry are coming together to establish a joint research center in the U.S. — CNH Industrial and HD Hyundai. During CES, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to create the research center in order to bring together each company's expertise in developing construction equipment and develop further advancements for the industry. 

Known as the CE Innovation Lab, the center will explore various innovation opportunities for the construction industry. Specialists from CNH and HD Hyundai will work together to develop new solutions as well as study emerging trends and map out potential new technological opportunities. 

In addition, the companies plan to share some of their technological innovations with one another. HD Hyundai plans to supply CNH with its Advanced Around View Monitoring Plus (AAVM+) 360-degree camera and radar system while CNH will supply HD Hyundai with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technologies through its Hemisphere brand.

The companies expect co-development of technologies as well as co-investment in startups in the future as part of this expanded partnership. 

Doosan Group Highlights Range of Technologies for Various Industries

Several divisions within the Doosan Group showcased their latest technologies at CES 2024, with clean energy and automation being key areas of focus. 

Doosan Bobcat, the company's construction equipment division, highlighted its developments geared toward creating the jobsite of the future through electrification, automation and connectivity. The company displayed its S7X all-electric skid-steer loader which was first unveiled at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 and joins the T7X all-electric compact track loader introduced at CES 2022; both machines were developed in collaboration with Moog Inc. whose electric vehicle system enables a complete replacement of hydraulic components. 

At CES 2024, Bobcat unveiled its newest machine, the AT450X which is an autonomous and electric articulating tractor. The company worked together with ag tech software company Agtonomy to enable the machine to autonomously or remotely carry out various tasks such as mowing, spraying, precision weeding and material transport. Use of artificial intelligence (AI) helps the machine learn and react to its environment to ensure safe maneuvering through various terrain. 

Bobcat also introduced the second generation of its electric and autonomous concept loader known as RogueX first unveiled in 2023 also at CONEXPO. Like the original, RogueX2 is an all-electric and autonomous concept machine capable of producing zero emissions as it is powered by a lithium-ion battery, electric drive system and uses electric actuators in place of hydraulics for lift and tilt functions. This second generation is equipped with wheels instead of tracks which the company said helps to improve battery run time.  

Doosan Robotics introduced new cobot and AI technologies during CES 2024. Use of AI with the cobots improves their ability to move in tandem with humans to create a productive and safe working enviroment. 

At the show the company introduced its recylcing cobot Oscar the Sorter which is able to autonomous learn about products and sort them without human intervention. Otto Matic was another robot introduced at the show which is a depalletizing and palletizing solution capable of handling unstructured and random-sized boxes. It uses deep learning computer vision technology to work autonomously. 

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

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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