Bosch Rexroth Completes HydraForce Acquisition
On February 3, Bosch Rexroth completed its acquisition of HydraForce upon receiving approval from antitrust authorities. HydraForce will join Bosch Rexroth's Compact Hydraulics portfolio, helping to further expand the business unit's product offering and customer support.
The companies initially signed the acquisition agreement on July 15, 2022.
Although both companies offer various compact hydraulic products, HydraForce will bring its expertise in development of mechanical and electrical cartridge valves and hydraulic integrated circuits (HIC) which will help complement Bosch Rexroth's current portfolio.
According to Bosch Rexroth, the merger of the two companies' products will enable a broader range of offerings to meet varied customer needs as well as aid with the regionalization of supply chains — a growing focus for many companies to more easily meet customer demand.
"With Bosch Rexroth, we found a great partner who values and shares similar views on innovation, customer focus, application expertise, and culture. I believe the new ownership will create great opportunities for our customers, partners and employees and lead to sustained growth," said Mike Terzich, president and CEO of HydraForce.
Managers from Bosch Rexroth and HydraForce will comprise the leadership team for the Compact Hydraulics Business Unit which will be headed by Frank Hess who currently leads the unit.
"As HydraForce and Bosch Rexroth join forces, we will combine our customer focus, application expertise and entrepreneurial know-how to achieve sustained growth above market. Together, we will continue to provide excellent support and innovations for our customers, further develop our strong relationships with partners, and open great opportunities for our associates," said Hess.Combined Expertise will aid Market Growth
The acquisition of HydraForce will enable Bosch Rexroth to expand its footprint in North America by growing its sales network and gaining access to more markets. "By acquiring HydraForce, we are expanding our presence in complementary geographies and developing a more balanced footprint in Europe and North America, while also enabling growth in Asia," said Rolf Najork, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and CEO of Bosch Rexroth AG, in the company's press release announcing the acquisition.
HydraForce employs 2,100 people at six production sites located in the U.S., Brazil, Great Britain and China. Bosch Rexroth's Compact Hydraulics business includes approximately 1,800 employees at locations in China, the U.S., Germany and Italy.
The merger of these companies will expand the workforce and manufacturing capacity to help meet ongoing demand for hydraulic components, particularly in heavy-duty mobile equipment applications which is a strong market segment for both companies. This market is also expected to see continued growth in the coming years.
READ MORE: Mobile Hydraulics Market Rebound in 2021 Leads to Positive Future
In addition, HydraForce noted in its press release announcing the acquisition the companies' regional sales structures are also complementary to one another. Bringing their sales activities together will create a well-balanced entity in North/South America and Europe, as well as support further growth in Asia Pacific stated HydraForce in its press release.
HydraForce will also help improve global market access for Bosch Rexroth to indirect sales channels such as dealers and system integrators which benefits the company's long-term goals.
"With its diversified portfolio and international setup, Bosch Rexroth has a strong foundation. The acquisition of HydraForce expands our global market access through indirect sales channels: Sales partners and system integrators will become important target groups.
Bosch Rexroth Hydraulic Solutions Meet Heavy-Duty Requirements of Marine and Offshore Applicati
Marine and offshore applications are among some of the harshest, necessitating use of components which can meet the levels of performance and durability required. During the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) 2022, Bosch Rexroth highlighted several hydraulic component technologies capable of meeting these and other industry requirements.
Among the solutions exhibited were the company’s axial piston pump with electrohydraulic control and its Hägglunds Atom hydraulic motor, both of which offer features and benefits vital to marine and offshore, as well as other heavy-duty applications.
Read more about the various technologies showcased at OTC 2022 in our show report.
Electronic Control Provides Efficiency and PrecisionBosch Rexroth’s axial piston pump with electrohydraulic control features a traditional axial piston pump design in which cylinders within a barrel run on a swash plate. Electronic control is then used to change the angle of the swash plate to regulate flow from the pump to drive an actuator such as a motor or a cylinder.
Use of electronic control provides faster flow through the pump, enabling it to be extremely efficient, says Jaime Sabogal, Hägglunds - Marketing Segment manager, Oil & Gas, at Bosch Rexroth. In addition, it is very responsive and provides finite control to allow precise flow out of the pump despite its large size. Offering these capabilities helps customers in various industries including marine and offshore to be more productive which can improve their operational costs.
A range of input signals can be fed to the pump, from 4-20 milliamps, which is essentially a speed of 0 to as fast as possible, explains Sabogal. This allows customers to determine the exact amount of flow necessary for their application.
More and more customers are looking for this type of control versus manual, mechanical or pneumatic. Industries are increasing their digital capabilities through electronic control and other methods to become more efficient. To achieve electronic control, Sabogal says the majority of industrial customers are connecting directly to their control system via PLC (programmable logic controller),
but there are some who have also connected to the cloud.
Uses for the axial piston pump are wide ranging. Sabogal says any industrial application requiring rotary motion would benefit from its use. For the offshore energy industry, it can be commonly found in dredging and winch applications.
More Torque in a Smaller PackageThe Hägglunds product line has existed since the 1960s with the goal of providing power dense products. Sabogal explains this means that as the product line has evolved over the years, Bosch Rexroth has worked to increase power while decreasing the products’ physical dimensions.
Although the smallest of the Hägglunds hydraulic motors, the Atom is capable of providing more revolutions per minute (rpm) as well as more power than other motors of a similar size. The Hägglunds Atom features a maximum torque of up to 13.6 kNm and a specific torque of 40 Nm/bar. It supplies full torque at speeds up to 400 rpm, providing maximum power of 394 kW.
“We have always, for the most part, had this power range in a bigger frame, but developed the Atom in order to reduce the installed footprint for the customer and subsequently cost because it is a smaller product,” says Sabogal..
Hydraulic Fluids that Keep Going and Going
“Yeah, we’ve tried some ‘green’ fluids and we have had some bad experiences.” This is a statement I have heard more than once from clients who have jumped on the biofluid bandwagon before looking closely at what they were buying.
Over the past several years, global regulations have been passed requiring companies working in or near waterways to respect wildlife. In terms of hydraulic systems, manufacturing has traditionally used mineral oil and viewed it as a commodity. Yet, with growing requirements and restrictions, these manufacturers are being forced to use biofluids that are significantly more expensive without understanding the differences in fluid types, which can mean everything when it comes to performance.
Biofluid ClassificationsBiofluids can be broken down into four major classifications: HEPG, HETG, HEPR and HEES. HEPG fluids, or polyglycols, may be water-based but are not miscible with other hydraulic fluids. They are often incompatible with some seal materials. HETG fluids are plant or animal based and highly biodegradable. However, they generally cannot tolerate temperatures above 160°F for more than a few hundred hours. HEPR fluids, or polyalphaolefins, have good hydrolytic stability and biodegradability but may lose their viscosity as they run through a hydraulic system over time, see Figure 1.
Hydraulicspneumatics Com Sites Hydraulicspneumatics com Files Uploads 2012 03 Panolin Fig 1Figure 1: This graph plots viscosity of oils, showing how in some fluids the viscosity changes over time at higher temperatures, whereas Panolin HLP Synth remains consistent.HEES fluids, or synthetic esters, have good biodegradability. However, the wide variety of HEES products can perform drastically differently, depending on what type of HEES it is and its base composition. Unfortunately, HEES fluids are often generalized into one major category despite major differences in performance and longevity within the HEES class of products.
Saturated vs. Unsaturated Synthetic EsterEsters are formed by condensing, or combining, an acid with an alcohol, a process called esterification. Just as not all fluids are created equal, neither are all synthetic fluids. All synthetic ester products can be broken into two categories—saturated and unsaturated. The saturation of a fluid is based on the chemical bonding within the fluid itself.
Oxidation, or aging of a fluid, is caused when a fluid reacts with oxygen. The result is extreme thickening and gumming of the fluid, along with deposits and shellac, which lead to major catastrophic system failures. Chemically speaking, an unsaturated ester has many open bonds that react with oxygen and cause the fluid to age more rapidly. Saturated esters, on the other hand, have significantly fewer open bonds, so they do not oxidize rapidly and will last much longer when subjected to high temperatures, Figure 1.
So how can you tell the difference? The easiest way to tell the difference is to ask the fluid manufacturer for the iodine number. This number identifies the number of open bonds available in a fluid. The higher the Iodine number, the greater the number of bonds that can interact and oxidize. Generally speaking, saturated synthetic ester products have an iodine number of less than 15.