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24 October, 2021

30-tonne rack-and-pinion is ‘world’s most powerful’

12 October, 2021

A Swedish manufacturer has developed what it claims will be the world’s most powerful rack-and-pinion drive, capable of handling loads of more than 30 tonnes. Stockholm-based Cascade Drives believes that its “pioneering” electromechanical actuator technology has many advantages over hydraulic-based systems, including better pressure stabilisation in pumping applications, reduced need for maintenance, a lower risk of contamination by hydraulic fluid leaks, and energy savings of up to 60%.

The system can produce highly pressurised liquid and gas for powerful pumping mechanisms. Cascade says it has orders for applications including water jet cutting, high-pressure processing for the food and beverage industry, and hot isostatic pressing for 3D-printed metal parts.

The 30-tonne actuator is undergoing final acceptance testing, including back-to-back set-ups where the actuators are run in tandem to create a counterforce.

“This is a significant milestone for the company, and the first time electromechanical rack-and-pinion drives have been tested with this intensity, involving extreme accelerations and decelerations delivered with high precision control and accuracy,” says Cascade’s CEO, Kristian Floresjö. “Essentially, it demonstrates the technology in real-time working conditions, so customers can evaluate performance in line with the design specifications. We are now welcoming a series of high-profile customers to our testing facility.”

Cascade Drives CEO Kristian Floresjö with one of the company’s electromechanical actuators

Floresjö adds that Cascade’s mission is “to help customers harness the ‘electric revolution’ and create a more eco-friendly and energy-efficient world. We have developed a range of unique solutions addressing linear motion and powertrains which can replace key subsystems and underpin this all-electric transition. These solutions are greatly needed because existing hydraulic equipment, which has traditionally powered industry for decades, is simply not suitable for electric use. While we can help firms to improve their green credentials, we can also crucially improve productivity, drive down operational costs and boost efficiency with high-performing equipment.”

Cascade Drives was founded in 2014 by a Swedish inventor and cardiac surgeon, Stig Lundbäck, and has since raised more than €5m in funding. It has built a portfolio of patent-protected systems for linear motion and powertrains, including technologies for a wave energy pilot project. It is targeting a €1.7bn global market, focusing on the industrial, material-handling and steer-by-wire sectors.




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