Kobe Steel has patented a hydraulic drive apparatus for work machines with a flow-path selector valve and control unit to optimize hydraulic fluid distribution. The system adjusts flow paths based on work actuator driving states, enhancing efficiency and safety during combined operations. GlobalData’s report on Kobe Steel gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Kobe Steel, Ore pre-treatment was a key innovation area identified from patents. Kobe Steel's grant share as of January 2024 was 29%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Hydraulic control apparatus for work machine with flow-path selector valve

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Kobe Steel Ltd

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11885105B2) discloses a hydraulic control apparatus designed for use in a work machine with multiple traveling bodies and a work attachment. The apparatus includes pumps, motors, a work actuator, a flow-path selector valve, a driving state detector, and a flow-path switching control unit. The flow-path selector valve allows for the switching of hydraulic fluid flow paths between the traveling bodies and the work actuator, depending on the operation being performed. The driving state detector monitors the driving state of the work actuator, while the flow-path switching control unit adjusts the flow paths based on the detected physical quantity, ensuring optimal performance during combined work and traveling operations.

Furthermore, the hydraulic control apparatus features additional components such as a regeneration valve, a regeneration release valve, and a regeneration control unit. These components manage the flow of hydraulic fluid during operation, ensuring efficient utilization and preventing any deviations from the allowable range of the physical quantity detected by the driving state detector. The apparatus is specifically designed to optimize the performance of the work machine during target work motions and traveling operations, with the flow-path switching control unit adjusting the communication flow path opening area based on the detected physical quantity. This innovative hydraulic control apparatus aims to enhance the overall efficiency and functionality of work machines, particularly in scenarios where simultaneous work and traveling operations are required.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.