Saving the Environment - Part 1: Fuel Efficiency

Both crane manufacturers and rental companies are working towards minimizing the carbon footprint of the whole industry on the environment. In this three-part article, we explain different efforts being made to decrease the adverse impact.

Part 2 | Part 3

Improving Fuel Efficiency

Reducing fuel consumption during crane operation is one way that manufacturers are actively reducing the impact their products have on the environment. Liebherr introduced several technologies to decrease fuel consumption during crane operations, as Wolfgang Beringer, spokesman at Liebherr-Werk Ehingen, explains, “Several years ago we introduced new transmissions with a high number of gears and a dry clutch instead of a torque converter. The result of this is a 10 to 15% fuel saving when driving on the road. At Bauma we also presented the Eco-mode for crane operation which results in a fuel saving of up to 10%.”

The Eco-mode works by reducing the engine speed to a required, predefined level. “With this feature a reduction of diesel consumption can be achieved without any impact on operational output,” adds Tobias Froehlich at Liebherr-Werk Nenzing.

Fuel reduction technology from Tadano includes the Fuel Monitoring System, which displays fuel consumption; the Eco Mode, which reduces fuel use by controlling engine acceleration; and finally Positive Control, which uses less fuel by controlling the hydraulic pump and motor for greater fuel efficiency and lower noise.

Hiab has also met the fuel-saver demand by introducing the Multilift XR18. The crane saves fuel because the hooklift can be lowered almost without using the hydraulic pump. “Compared to a hooklift without these features, emissions and fuel consumption during operation for the Hiab Multilift XR18S on a 3-axle truck is cut by approximately 30% for an average operator,” explains Lotta Clausen, communications director Hiab.

Auto idle stop (AIS) functions are another way to help save fuel consumption. Crane models from manufacturer Kobelco are installed with an AIS system, which detects when the crane is idling and automatically shuts off the engine to avoid wasting fuel. The Grove GMK6400 has a similar function called the Fuel Saver Option, which is a system that reduces fuel consumption during idling. The system works by reducing Engine speed while the machine is at rest and eventually disconnects the pumps completely, shutting the engine down to save fuel. The feature won Manitowoc the Innovation Manufacturer award from the European Association of Abnormal Road Transport and Mobile Cranes (ESTA) at this year's Bauma exhibition.

Instead of an AIS function, Unic cranes have a throttle control for the power output, so the minimum amount of energy is used. “When the machine is idling, the engine quickly returns to running at its lowest possible speed to conserve energy,” explains a GGR Group spokesperson. In addition to these systems, smaller crane models also have reusable washable filters to help reduce their impact on the environment.


Author: Laura Hatton, KHL Group

Source: KHL Group

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