The Volvo Technology Award for 2012 has gone to Björn Brattberg and Sven-Åke Carlsson of Volvo Construction Equipment for their work on OptiShift, a system that makes a wheel loader up to 15 percent more energy-efficient.
To the customer, OptiShift offers an improvement of up to 15 percent in fuel economy while reducing wear and tear on the powertrain, delivering lower operating costs. Gear changing is also smoother, making the operator’s working environment more comfortable. Other advantages include faster acceleration, improved hill climbing and shorter operating cycle times. OptiShift was introduced as a standard feature on the company’s bigger models in 2011.
In technical terms, the system consists of two functions. When a wheel loader carries a load over longer transport distances, a lock-up function can reduce the engine revs. With OptiShift, the lock-up function is used during a larger part of the work cycle, which saves fuel.
When the operator wishes to change direction OptiShift senses the loader’s speed, direction and accelerator position, and brakes the machine by applying the service brakes automatically. This results in faster loading cycles, reduced load on the powertrain, smoother changes in direction and lower fuel consumption.