Hydraulics, a key aspect of fluid power, are widely used in the automotive industry for a range of systems that can include active suspension, brakes, and power steering. Hydraulic systems provide a lightweight, safe, and high power-to-weight ratio and with the integration of digital systems, hydraulics are set to find many uses in smart vehicle control and automation.
This article will discuss how hydraulics are generally used in the automotive industry, while also highlighting how Domin hydraulic systems can provide world-class performance improvements and energy savings.
Uses of Hydraulic Systems in the Automotive Industry
Hydraulics are used in several applications in the automotive industry due to their long and well-developed history in the control of safety-critical systems such as brakes and power steering, and their prospects for continued evolution as electronic controls of hydraulic systems become ever more sophisticated. Listed below are some of the most common automotive applications of hydraulic systems:
Hydraulics are used to improve the comfort, safety, and control of a vehicle’s suspension. These systems are often referred to as active suspension and work by individually controlling the vertical displacement of a vehicle’s wheels. The position of the wheel is adjusted by an electronic control system that maintains vehicle stability despite uneven road conditions. Sensors are often incorporated to monitor the road conditions at each tyre in real-time.
Hydraulic systems are still the foundation of brake-by-wire systems, in which the brake and the brake pedal are no longer physically coupled. Instead of foot pressure on the brake directly transmitting fluidic force to the brake pads on the wheels, that foot pressure is converted to an electrical signal by a sensor. The brake pedal sensor signal input is used by the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) to determine how much brake pressure is needed to attain the desired amount of vehicle braking, and the ECU sends signals to the hydraulic actuators to increase system pressure and clamp down on the brakes.
Power steering makes use of fluid power to assist in turning a vehicle or in maintaining a stable, straight path. This makes it easier to control the vehicle, especially at lower speeds. Power steering significantly improves driver comfort, safety, and overall vehicle control. In most cases, self-contained EHAs (Electro Hydrostatic Actuators) are used for power steering. This style of actuator offers a lightweight and efficient solution due to weight and flow optimisation made possible with additive manufacturing.
Benefits of Domin Hydraulics
Domin offers a range of hydraulic systems, from active suspension to brake-by-wire, that effectively harness fluid power and aim to usher in the age of digital motion control. Implemented within the automotive industry, Domin’s range of products provides several market-leading benefits, including:
Energy Efficiency: Domin’s hydraulic systems are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. Domin uses unique techniques and technologies, such as additive manufacturing and smart control algorithms, to increase the overall electric vehicle range by up to 10%.
Increased Safety: With more accurate control over vehicle dynamics using improved suspension and braking systems, overall vehicle safety is significantly enhanced. For example, electronically controlled anti-skid behaviour can be implemented that reduces stopping distances in emergencies.
Better Performance: Domin systems allow for a significant improvement in vehicle performance through adjustable suspension springs and damping rates that can be switched as quickly as 3 milliseconds. This allows for rapid adaptation to driving conditions through independent four-corner actuation. Domin’s high-bandwidth, low-weight EHA technology can also be used in steering systems to further improve handling performance. Finally, Domin precise valves technology can provide ride height changes of up to 75 mm.
Reduced Environmental Impact: Domin’s range of hydraulic systems and components is optimised to be low-weight while also being more energy efficient. The lightweight design and reduced throttling losses are both made possible with additive manufacturing techniques. Domin’s smart suspension systems can replace electronic anti-roll systems, thereby reducing vehicle weight. These factors improve energy efficiency and result in fuel savings, which in turn can reduce the environmental impact of a vehicle.
Enabling Autonomous Driving: Autonomous driving is the next major milestone in the automotive industry. Domin has designed its hydraulic systems with this in mind. Domin’s digitally integrated hydraulics fit perfectly into the autonomous environment as these systems have fast response times, and their performance and capabilities can be finely controlled and adjusted.
Why Use Domin Hydraulic Systems?
Domin’s range of hydraulic systems can offer a wide range of market-leading benefits and can replace existing centralised systems with independent self-contained systems while also improving vehicle performance, safety, and fuel efficiency. Whether your project is in the initial design stage or you are replacing existing systems, Domin hydraulic systems can provide maximum benefits. To learn more about how Domin hydraulic systems can benefit your unique automotive application, contact Domin.