Andrea Torcelli, chief technology officer
Packing a bigger punch in a smaller package and the rise of the electric motor are two big themes underlined by new products from Bonfiglioli: the 705XT gearbox and the 605WE electric drive. Operating globally with an annual turnover of €808m (€300m of which comes from construction equipment), Bonfiglioli manufactures gearboxes, electric motors and inverters for products that range from production line robots to wind turbines.
“In terms of development and innovation we are following macro trends: increased efficiency, clean energy and sustainability in general, and power density,” says Bonfiglioli’s chief technology officer Andrea Torcelli. “And, of course, all these three trends are connected to each other.”
The 705XT is a compact gearbox with an integrated axial hydraulic piston motor, the 68cc Th68. “Integration delivers two major advantages: the unit is smaller because we use part of the gear box as the case of the motor itself which means it is smaller and lighter,” says Torcelli. “And it is more cost effective, so more competitive.”
Ideal for machines such as compact track loaders, small dozers and pavers, the 705XT also boasts continuous variable displacement, which is usually only seen in large standalone units. “The displacement can be electronically controlled in an infinite number of positions which makes it suitable for a large number of applications,” says Torcelli. “We see this as a breakthrough innovation for this market.”
The 605WE was designed in conjunction with aerial platform manufacturer Haulotte, which announced its commitment to a fully electric future with the launch of the HA20 LE and the HA20 LE Pro at Intermat 2018. The 605WE is a three-stage planetary gearbox with a semi-integrated electric motor.
“Again, the issue is space,” says Torcelli. “The level of protection is also quite important in environments with lots of dust and water; the electric unit is completely sealed.”
The demand for electric motors is increasing as users begin to appreciate their economic benefits, says Torcelli. “If you look at ownership costs of the machine, electric motors are more cost efficient. Today the unit cost of the electric machine is higher but it’s getting cheaper because the battery costs are improving. It’s awareness of the cost and management issues by the OEMs that will make electric motors more widespread.”