Every operation is looking for an edge – whether that’s decreasing load cycle times, increasing maintenance intervals or reducing fuel costs. Diesel-electric-drive machines are a potential opportunity for an operation to find that edge. As with any new technology, the key to determining whether diesel-electric drive equipment is right for your job site is to understand how it works and how its benefits are achieved.
Caterpillar has introduced two diesel-electric-drive machines in recent years, the D6 XE high-drive track type tractor and the 988K XE large wheel loader. According to Mike Friederici, industry manager for earthmoving at Finning Canada, the biggest question that prospective customers have is how the diesel-electric drive works.
The diesel-electric powertrain works similarly in both the D6 XE dozer and 988K XE wheel loader. They both have a diesel engine and liquid-cooled electrical systems with electric generators mounted directly behind the engine.
The electric drive eliminates the need for a torque converter which, according to Caterpillar, can potentially deliver a 25 percent increase in fuel efficiency on the 988K XE and the D6 XE. Friederici noted that when a machine is powered by an electric generator, once you set the throttle the rpm stays constant, reducing torque loads on the engine and wear and tear on components.
Read the full article in Heavy Equipment Guide.
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