Hydraulic Steering Valve For Off-Highway Equipment

By Mike Brezonick30 June 2020

Eaton has launched a new steering valve that the company said is the first fail-operational steer-by-wire valve for off-highway machine applications. The SBX advanced steering valve enables machine designers to tailor steering performance to the operator’s preferences and operating conditions and it can be paired with the original equipment manufacturer’s machine control system or with an Eaton controller.

“With our SBX advanced steering valve, we’re enabling OEMs to design and differentiate their vehicles in bold new ways,” said Kenny Befus, global product manager, Steering Systems, Eaton. “The valve’s modular design and fail-operational capability empower engineers to create unique cab environments while enhancing machine productivity and safety.”

The SBX valve is designed for use in a fully electronically controlled steer-by-wire system. Fail-operational functionality is achieved by mounting the SBX valve to a secondary electrohydraulic valve or manifold. With no hydraulic connection to the cab, the valve can be remotely mounted, allowing for more flexible machine design, Eaton said. Steer-by-wire configurations allow for the removal of the steering column, which can improve operator sightlines, reduce noise in the cab, and permit rotation of the cab or seat without added steering inputs.

The SBX advanced steering valve has a maximum flow of 15.8 gpm (60 lpm) at pressures up to 3048 psi (210 bar). It is SIL 2 and PLd capable, which enables OEMs to develop machinery that complies with international standards, Eaton said.

The SBX valve can be mounted to a steering control unit in an electrohydraulic (EH) steering configuration, or to a secondary EH valve or manifold in a steer-by-wire (SbW) configuration, providing fail-operational functionality. It can also be provided as a standalone unit for use in steer-by-wire systems that do not require redundancy. This enables OEMs to provide a steer-by-wire system to one customer and an EH system to another without major changes in architecture, the company said. It also allows a simple transition from an orbitrol today to a backup valve in the future.

Designed for equipment in the construction, agriculture, material handling and forestry industries, the valve is IP69K rated and is suited for use with systems incorporating multiple steering wheels or alternative devices such as a joystick or lever or GPS-driven automatic navigation systems, Eaton said.

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