Volvo Designers Imagine the

Fri March 16, 2007 - National Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Volvo stand at Bauma will feature a new technology area where the options being considered for future machines will be demonstrated and discussed.

The technology area will describe the options under consideration and explain why putting diesel and electric power sources allows smaller engines, lower fuel consumption, lower emissions — and yet higher performance. But the star of the area likely will be Volvo CE’s latest design concept — the Gryphin.

Dubbed the “extreme concept wheel loader,” Volvo’s designers have turned their brains to imagining how wheel loaders will develop in the medium-term future.

The Gryphin looks undoubtedly futuristic, but it is still recognizably a Volvo.

Gryphin has the twin themes of “the environment” and ’the operator’ at its heart. Using an electric hybrid power source, Gryphin emits almost no emissions. Instead of heavy transmissions, drivelines and axles, Gryphin uses electrical motors inside each wheel, allowing much higher underbody ground clearance and a quiet machine.

Views from the driver’s seat are excellent in every direction, which is made possible by all-round glazing and lattice see-through pillars. The glass in the cab is intelligent: heating up in cold weather to prevent frost or condensation and becoming darker in bright sunlight to act as giant sunglasses.

Volvo said its wheel loaders have long been admired for their high breakout forces and excellent parallel lift. Gryphin brings these skills to a new level by introducing a solid, yet light, center boom. Not only does this improve lifting performance and reduce torsional stresses, the absence of traditional front boom linkages allows a much better view of the work area.

The lack of a traditional driveline and axles allows the adoption of intelligent independent suspension. This not only offers a more comfortable ride for the operator, with fewer vibrations entering the cab, but also allows for variable ride height. The frame can be lowered for high speed haul cycles, reducing the center of gravity and making much higher speeds than is currently possible with no loss of comfort or stability. The frame also can be raised; increasing ground clearance over rough ground and offering greater dump heights while maintaining stability.

Much of the technology found on the Gryphin is already under development or even being tested. The manufacturer said this is a very real interpretation of what contractors can expect to see on job sites two decades from now.

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