WMG software powers next generation intelligent JCBs
Intelligent construction machines which are more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly are set to enter the market, thanks to pioneering software developed by WMG, at the University of Warwick, and JCB.
The software was created as part of the Off-Highway Intelligent Power Management (OHIPM) project – a collaboration between JCB, WMG and Pektron, part-funded by Innovate UK - which sought to create the next generation of JCB vehicles.
Wanting to produce machines which emit fewer CO2 emissions, and to maintain their business performance in a changing market, JCB enlisted the world-class expertise of Dr James Marco from WMG’s energy team.
Dr Marco’s team analysed huge amounts of JCB data to establish which parts of the machine fleet could be most effectively optimised through intelligent power solutions, and how to benefit JCB’s diverse range of customers around the world.
The team at WMG then created the control software to operate intelligent engines with automotive powertrain technology, enabling them to sense when the machines are idle and make the decision to switch themselves off (or power down) when power is not required – leading to optimal energy efficiency and minimal pollution.
Many off-highway machines are left running whilst idle for much of their life – potentially wasting fuel and increasing operating costs.
The WMG technology was tested with prototype hardware and installed in a JCB Hydradig, allowing ‘real-life’ simulations to be conducted on actual machines.
The OHIPM project concluded in Summer 2017, and intelligent JCB machines utilising this technology could be on the market by 2019-2020.
Dr James Marco, expert in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles at WMG commented: “Being able to extend our control and systems modelling expertise into the off-highway sector and to work with both JCB and Pektron engineers has made this a really exciting and rewarding project to be a part of and one where the research has the potential to deliver real impact for all partners.”
Lee Harper, Principal Engineer at JCB, said: “This collaborative project between JCB, WMG; and Pektron has helped to identify and develop future technologies that can improve the efficiency of many off-highway machines. The novel technology has shown great promise when tested over a variety of real-world duty cycles.”
WMG’s unique combination of academic expertise and state-of-the-art facilities – with its Energy Innovation Centre and new Control Systems Laboratory – meant that it could offer experience, quality and speed to this project.
Through working together on the OHIPM, both WMG and JCB have also collaborated on another project - the Innovate UK funded AMPLiFII (Automated Module-to-pack Pilot Line for Industrial Innovation). Led by WMG, AMPLiFII aims to produce high-voltage electric vehicle batteries suited to more than one manufacturer, and at a scale for full commercial production.