Electronics penetrate virtually every aspect of modern life and are without doubt the most important factor in machine optimisation. Whether you’re managing engine or hydraulic power control, or creating intuitive user-friendly interfaces, the latest generation control equipment plays an essential part. In this article, we take a look specifically at the role of hydraulic electric controllers. What does an electronic control consist of, and what types of hydraulic controllers are available?
We’ll take a look at the basics of the electronic control unit, and look at what options are available to you from Hydrastore and our expert hydro-electrical partners.
The background of the electronic control unit
Usually abbreviated to ECU, the electronic control unit replaced the sequential relay circuit. “ECU” also refers to “engine control unit” which is specific to fuel-injected vehicles; however “our” ECU can be used in any automotive system, not simply engines.
The electrical power unit works by measuring inputs and responds to this by controlling the outputs. The instructions are programmed by an operator, typically using software, or pre-programmed prior to installation.
The basic anatomy of an ECU
Generally, an ECU consists of:
Inputs. These are the components operated by the user, whether it’s a panel, a pedal or a joystick.
Feedback inputs. These are found in closed loop systems, and are best described as the machine’s interface. Feedback inputs can include sensors such as positional, pressure, flow, velocity and temperature.
The electronic controller itself. This processes the inputs and in turn provides outputs that operate the machine in accordance to the control software and sensor interlocks.
Outputs. The outputs are the responding voltage signals put out by the controller, which control the system. ECUs can also communicate with elements such as display screens and HMI’s.
Types of hydraulic electric controllers
Which type of controller is right for your hydraulic system? We’ll take a look at some of the typical controllers that we supply at Hydrastore.
Microcontrollers are used for a range of applications such as in process control devices. They can be used as stand-alone units in smaller machines.
High current controllers are ideal for machines with multiple high-current applications, for example linear actuators and electric motors.
CAN controller. Used with a CAN bus system, the CAN controller converts the data from the app into information that can be transmitted across the bus network
I/O controllers communicate data and help devices interact with the control unit
To find out more, take a look at our comprehensive range of controllers here at Hydrastore, and we also provide the sensors for feedback within systems.
There are many factors to take into account when choosing a controller, aside from the number of inputs and outputs, interface type and communication capabilities. How powerful do the outputs need to be? What is its maximum load? Is the environment challenging and if so, how robust does the controller have to be? Will it need to operate in extreme temperatures? Is there are maximum weight and size for your application?
As well as supplying electro hydraulic controllers, we can work with you to design and manufacture the complete system, ensuring seamless control. Take a look at the other components needed for electronic control.
Electronic control unit components
Electronic control components support the hydraulic system. Control components can include:
Electronic foot pedals for safe operator use. Look out for robust models with working lives of up to 3 million cycles
Electronic joysticks: heavy duty and easy to operate. The models we supply have ergonomic designs for user comfort
Digital and analogue drivers from leading experts such as Atos, Danfoss and Exertus.
Displays of all sizes and resolutions, including compact units that combine control and display functions
Software that allows the operator to enter and change instructions. We work with leading electro hydraulic experts Atos to provide the latest programming software for ECUs.
At Hydrastore, we’re trusted for the quality of our premium hydraulic components. We stock controllers from top engineering brands such as Danfoss, Exertus and Atos.
Danfoss has been working with electronic control systems and mobile hydraulics for over 40 years, and has become a leading global brand. Their components are found in some of the world’s toughest environments, earning them a reputation for extra-robust solutions.
Exertus is a Finnish engineering firm that’s renowned for its quality CAN bus systems. Look out for its compact yet robust controllers that are ideal for industrial use. It manufactures small units that have up to 60 configurable I/Os for complex applications.
Atos combines 60 years’ worth of hydraulic tech expertise with the latest electronic control solutions. The global Italian engineering firm is at the forefront of advanced hydro electrics.
Control means just that: you need your ECU to perform reliably and accurately or the enture hydraulic system could fail.
At Hydrastore, we partner with leading electro hydraulic specialists to ensure we only supply and design robust and reliable systems. The components we supply come from expert names like Danfoss, Exertus, and we’re the sole UK partner for Italian brand Atos.
We work with a wide range of clients and industries, including:
Industrial machinery and production
Automotive and transport
Energy and utilities
Scientific research and testing
Agricultural and environment
Marine and offshore
Waste and recycling
If you want to know more about electro hydraulic controllers, please contact us at Hydrastore. We’ll discuss your system’s requirements, engineer to engineer, and find the right product and solution for your application. Don’t see the spec you need in our catalogue? Not a problem. Contact the team at Hydrastore, and we can source the right component for you.