Current hydraulic systems rely on 20th century designs that are outdated and inefficient. At Domin, we have developed a range of market-leading servo valves using some of the most advanced technologies currently available such as additive manufacturing, modern onboard electronics, brushless DC motors and magnetic position sensing.
Discover how these technologies are a core part of our revolutionary hydraulic products, which are enabling globally important industries, like aerospace, automotive, and industrial manufacturing to roll out transformative change.
Additive Manufacturing in Servo Valves
Servo valves are sophisticated devices used for precise control of fluid flow and pressure in hydraulic systems. They are typically made using traditional manufacturing methods such as machining, casting, or forging. These methods allow for tight tolerances, smooth surface finishes, and the use of specialised materials suitable for hydraulic applications.
However, additive manufacturing provides advantages such as design freedom, part consolidation, and efficient manufacturing processes.
Applications of additive manufacturing in our servo valves include:
Complex internal geometry: Additive manufacturing enables the creation of intricate internal passages, channels, and fluid flow paths that are challenging or impossible to achieve using traditional manufacturing techniques. This enhances the performance and efficiency of servo valves by optimising fluid dynamics and reducing pressure losses.
Lightweight design: Additive manufacturing is used to create lightweight structures by optimising material distribution and removing unnecessary material. This reduces the overall weight of the servo valve, resulting in improved energy efficiency, which we explored in this blog.
Customisation and tailored solutions: Additive manufacturing allows us to tailor servo valves to specific applications or system requirements. The flexibility of 3D printing technology enables the incorporation of design modifications, such as varying valve sizes, shapes, and flow characteristics for bespoke purposes.
Servo Valves with Modern Onboard Electronics
The use of modern electronics also plays an important role in optimising the performance, efficiency, and reliability of servo valves. Key features include:
Digital PID control: Digital PID control allows for precise and variable control of the fluid flow and pressure in servo valves.
Digital signal processing (DSP): Digital signal processing technology is used in onboard electronics to analyse and process signals from sensors to create closed-loop control. DSP algorithms enable real-time monitoring, filtering, and adjustment of control signals, improving the overall performance and stability of the servo valve.
Communication interfaces: This gives us the option to incorporate CAN (Controller Area Network) interface to enable seamless integration with other electronic systems, controllers, and supervisory systems. By doing this, we will be able to facilitate data exchange, remote monitoring, and diagnostics.
Fault monitoring and diagnostic capabilities: We can monitor various parameters, such as temperature, current draw, motor faults, and voltage, to detect faults or anomalies. Advanced diagnostic algorithms and built-in self-diagnostic features enable real-time fault detection and has the potential to deliver notification and preventive maintenance too.
Configurability and programmability: We can provide configurability and programmability options, allowing system integrators to customise the behaviour, response, and control parameters of the servo valves. This flexibility enhances adaptability to different applications and specific requirements.
Power management: This helps optimise energy efficiency and protect the hydraulic system from power fluctuations or surges. These features include voltage regulation and transient protection.
Brushless DC Motor Technology used in Servo Valves
A brushless DC motor is an electric motor that operates using direct current (DC) and features a design without traditional brushes and commutators, which are commonly found in brushed DC motors. Instead of brushes and commutators, brushless DC motors use electronic controllers and permanent magnets to create rotational motion.
The technology is generally not used in hydraulics components, with manufacturers preferring to use cheaper options like solenoids or limited angle torque motors, however, we find brushless DC motors are well suited to dynamic high-precision applications and offer a number of significant advantages, including;
Efficiency and adaptability: Brushless DC motors deliver uninterrupted rotational movement with meticulous control over both speed and position, unlike solenoids that become less efficient with prolonged use. This makes brushless DC motors great where smooth and consistent motion is required, such as in electric vehicles and industrial automation.
Highly durable: Brushless DC motors have a longer lifespan due to their brushless design, eliminating brush-wear and minimising maintenance requirements.
Magnetic Position Sensing
Magnetic position sensors measure the position or movement of the rotor using magnetic fields and has many advantages including:
Non-Contact Measurement: Magnetic position sensors operate without physical contact between the sensing element and the spool, ensuring non-intrusive and non-wearing measurement. This non-contact nature eliminates mechanical wear and tear, minimising maintenance requirements and extending the sensor’s lifespan. It also reduces the risk of sensor malfunction due to debris, contaminants, or vibrations present in the hydraulic system.
High Accuracy and Resolution: Magnetic position sensors offer high accuracy and resolution, enabling precise positioning control. These sensors use magnetic fields to detect the position of a magnet or a magnetic target. The magnetic field’s strength and distribution provide precise position feedback. This high level of accuracy ensures that the actuator moves precisely according to the control system’s commands.
Excellent Linearity: Magnetic position sensors exhibit excellent linearity in their measurement response. Linearity refers to how closely the sensor’s output corresponds to the actual position of the target. With high linearity, the sensor’s output is proportional and consistent with the target’s position, ensuring precise and predictable control over the hydraulic actuator. This attribute is particularly important for achieving accurate and repeatable positioning in servo valve systems.
Fast Response Time: Magnetic position sensors offer fast response times, enabling real-time position feedback. The sensor’s ability to quickly detect and report changes in the target’s position allows the control system to respond rapidly, adjusting the hydraulic actuator accordingly. This fast response time contributes to dynamic control, rapid system movements, and high-speed applications, enhancing the overall system performance and productivity.
Long-Term Stability: Magnetic position sensors offer excellent long-term stability, maintaining their accuracy and reliability over extended periods of operation. The magnetic measurement principle is inherently stable, providing consistent position feedback.
Using Our Cutting-Edge Technology
At Domin, we are using these cutting-edge technologies in our servo valves; each one of these cutting-edge technologies has enabled us to create valves that are smaller, more lightweight, more efficient, and higher performing than any others on the market. To find out more about our servo valve range, contact our Sales team.
Want to learn more? Check out our article on How Weight Affects Hydraulic Performance, Cost and Energy Savings.