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Automotive Control Comes to Mobile Equipment

Automotive Control Comes to Mobile Equipment

Golden Mousetrap 2009 WinnerOff-highway equipment can now offer automotive-like features with sophisticated electronic control, thanks to a new microcontroller (MCU) from Sauer-Danfoss Inc.

Known as the MC038-010, the new product delivers electronic control to small motors in HVAC systems and to high-intensity lighting applications, as well as to other "creature comforts" once considered to be outside the realm of mobile equipment. Sauer-Danfoss says the MCU can be employed in agricultural systems, road-building equipment and turf care machinery.

"With this microcontroller, we're trying to offer features that are automotive-like," says Dan Ricklefs, product portfolio manager for Sauer-Danfoss. "We're giving the operator what he's accustomed to, so when he climbs out of the cab of his F-150 and into the cab of his construction machinery, he'll have some of the same features."

The new microcontroller is designed to fill a very specific void in the mobile equipment market. Until now, mobile equipment MCUs typically were directed at the control of hydraulic systems, such as pumps and valves, which operate at currents ranging from a few hundred milliamps to about 3 A. With the MC038-010, however, Sauer-Danfoss aimed to extend the control into an area of higher current capabilities. By reaching as high as 10 A, the new microcontroller becomes a candidate for the control of solenoids, which operate in the 4-6 A range, as well as for small fan motors (10 A) and high-intensity lighting (10 A). As a result, the new product extends the range of electronic control into the electric portion of the machine.

"It gives machine designers the ability to integrate those two systems together, whereas they may not have had that ability before," Ricklefs says.

The MCU, part of Sauer-Danfoss' Plus+1 family, includes application software designed to enable OEMs with limited electronic resources to create the kind of sophisticated control systems normally associated with the automotive world.

"We're trying to give them the ability to differentiate their piece of equipment from their competitor's," Ricklefs says. "It's another way they can add value to their offering."

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