Bomag president gives update on energy transition progress
23 November 2023
Bomag said it is making progress in the development of electric light compaction equipment as well as fully electric products without hydraulic drives.
It is also going to expand the application areas and products covered by its digital Bomap App.
Ralf Junker, president of the German compaction and paving OEM, speaking recently at Bomag’s Innovation Days event, held at the company’s head office in Boppard, said it already produced electric plates and tampers, as well as a light tandem roller, but that a light single drum roller to be available “sooner or later”, along with every drum roller.
“Will [battery power] come for each and every product? Nobody knows exactly. It depends very much on how fast the battery technology is proceeding. Will it come to an end at a weight category of maybe 15, 20, 25 tonnes? Who knows? And then there will be a combustion engine driven with hydrogen or with a fuel cell.”
Junker added that full electrification of products will also come. “In most cases, equipment is not fully electric because the battery is driving an electric engine, but this engine is still driving the hydraulic system, which does not make sense because we don’t need the hydraulic system.
“If you look at the Tesla car, the battery is driving the electric engine on the wheel. And this is the long term future also in construction equipment. This is what we are working on, and this is what we will show in a very few years.”
He said alternative and synthetic fuels will also be used; “This will come, I’m quite sure. Our suppliers for combustion engines are working on it. What is missing is synthetic fuels in a high volume at a reasonable price, but it will come.”
He said the development of multiple power technologies – electric, hybrid, hydrogen combustion – was a challenge for manufacturers; “If we talk to our engine suppliers, even they do not know exactly where and when will it have an end, when will it change to something else.
“But everybody today is convinced, same as in the automotive industry, that in the long term it will be a mix. There will still be combustion engines; there will be battery drives; and most probably there will be hydrogen drives as well.
“We are in the transition phase, which means we have to design and develop both combustion engine machines and electric driven machines, which increases our complexity even more.”
On digital products, Junker said Bomag’s Bomap App – which allows operators to see compaction progress in real time and online – will be expanded to cover both paving and milling products.
“Next year we will have a full portfolio for all of our equipment, or most important equipment, to see the results of daily work on the screen and on the computer.”
He said the Bomap App will also be extended to provide more detail of the asphalting process; “I would call it a job site control system because it shows the responsible person of the job site - maybe that’s the supervisor - the results of the equipment.
“But it shows also when’s the next truck coming, what is the procedure in the mixing plant? What is the temperature of the asphalt, what is the temperature of the asphalt in the truck, and what is it on the job site? And all this data we can collect under one umbrella and make transparent for the supervisor, the operator and also later on for the authorities.”
Finally, Junker said full autonomous operation, although still some time away, would have a significant role to play in addressing skill shortages and improving the quality of work.
“I’m quite sure all of you have problems in finding qualified operators. All over the world this is a topic. If you redirect the responsibility of the quality of work to the equipment, it will be easier to find operators that do not need to be so highly qualified.
“If we can manage to get quality control through the equipment itself, to my understanding, this will be the main driver in the future for more autonomous vehicles.”
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