Dana Expands Spicer PowerBoost Hydraulic-hybrid System

Dana Holding Corporation has expanded the development of its Spicer PowerBoost hydraulic-hybrid system for the off-highway market. Deployed through series or parallel hybrid configurations that fit into existing vehicle designs with minimal adaptation, the Spicer PowerBoost system supplements all types of transmission architectures. It captures kinetic energy otherwise wasted throughout the drivetrain and working hydraulics and then uses this recuperated energy to help power the vehicle, which can reduce fuel consumption by 20 to 40 percent compared with conventional drivetrain concepts, depending on vocational application and duty cycle.  

After conducting more than 1,000 hours of field testing on a 17.5-ton front-end loader using the Spicer PowerBoost system, Dana launched field tests last month of a telescopic boom handler powered by an 111-hp engine that also has been equipped with Dana’s pioneering hydraulic-hybrid technology.

Spicer PowerBoost technology can also reduce total ownership and operating costs by increasing productivity, reducing maintenance and allowing for the use of a downsized engine.  

“Since introducing the Spicer PowerBoost system at Bauma last year, we have confirmed the benefit gains through extensive field testing in real-world operating environments,” says Aziz Aghili, President of Dana Off-Highway Driveline Technologies.  “Our results to date show great promise for adapting our Spicer PowerBoost concepts to numerous construction and material-handling applications.” 

Spicer PowerBoost technology uses an advanced energy-management system to evaluate the levels of power needed in the entire vehicle, predict operating demands and determine the most efficient means of operation. Hydrostatic energy is captured in an accumulator from the powertrain during low-power operation of the engine and recuperated from braking.   

When additional power is required, such as accelerating from a full stop, lifting a load, or driving into the pile, the advanced energy-management system uses the stored energy in the accumulator to provide an additional source of power for improving performance, increasing productivity, and reducing fuel consumption. 

The Spicer PowerBoost system can also be configured to minimize engine idling by shutting off the diesel engine and accessing power captured in the accumulator for vehicle operations that consume low amounts of energy, such as inching, light working conditions and low travel speeds. Dana is also developing hydraulic start- and-stop functionality for use with electronically controlled powertrains. 

Spicer PowerBoost solutions are ideal for applications with frequent, intense bursts of acceleration, deceleration, lifting and lowering during cyclic maneuvering that support the recuperation of working and braking energy. Construction equipment, material-handling machines and on-highway vocational vehicles are the initial targets for the Spicer PowerBoost system. 

Since Spicer PowerBoost technology provides the additional power needed for energy-consuming activities such as driving into a pile or lifting a load, it enables machine manufacturers to potentially reduce the engine size for power outputs from 74 to 335 hp across a wide range of vehicle applications. This can prove especially beneficial for applications that currently require an engine at or slightly above the US EPA’s Tier 4 or Euro 5/6 emissions threshold of 75 hp, as the system allows manufacturers to select a smaller engine that does not require exhaust after treatment systems that are costly, consume added space and increase the operating temperature of the powertrain system. 

Depending on the specific setup and control strategy, Spicer PowerBoost solutions can also help to improve productivity by shortening the length of time to complete a Y cycle, reducing the number of fuel stops and extending the period for brake maintenance. 

Dana has supported the development of the Spicer PowerBoost system over the past four years at the company’s advanced technology centers in Belgium, Italy, and the United States. Engineers have spent more than 20,000 man-hours conducting extensive simulations and tests while equipping demonstration vehicles with the system to determine feasibility, develop advanced features, and quantify benefits.  Dana has applied for 16 patents stemming from development activities for Spicer PowerBoost technology. 

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