Can + Automotion, Australasian distributors of ESX controllers made by Sensor-Technik Wiedemann GmbH, have recently helped upgrade obsolete control system with discrete components, using ESX controllers and achieved near original performance levels, in a forestry machine. This provides a new lease of life for machines which helps contractors utilise spare capacity in their fleet.
For example there are numerous six and eight wheel Scandinavian make Forwarders used by Logging contractors which used the EHC 35 control system with ICL301, ICL303 Joysticks and IPS302 signal amplifiers. Many of these machines are in good working order, but while mechanical components are serviceable, electronics are usually not. Their only manufacturer recommended option is to trade in, or upgrade to the newer control system. There is no simple replacement to upgrade discrete components when they fail.
CAN+Automotion offer a package which allows such contractors to upgrade in small logical steps. They can keep their old Joysticks ICL301, 303 if they are in good working condition and replace the IPS302 amplifier with an ESX controller. 1 x ESX controller can be used to replace 2 x IPS302 amplifiers and will drive up to 12 proportional solenoids with current regulated PWM control, while accepting Joystick input signals from the older series of ICL3/4 or ICM 4 series of Joysticks. ESX controller is a standalone product which can work without other networked modules for Input/Output extensions. So ESX can be located in the same place where IPS302 was located in the machine, taking up a much smaller space. The program that CAN Automotion have developed comes with a PC based user interface which can be used to fine tune the functional characteristics such as Minimum/ maximum current for each solenoid, ramp up and ramp down, and dither frequency for the PWM outputs.
ESX controllers will work with both 12V and 24V vehicle battery systems and the components do not change significantly as ESX is rated to work with 9-32V supply voltage.
If the Joysticks are worn out, then CAN Automotion offers SureGrip Joysticks with similar design and ergonomics like the ICL3/4 series and can be directly connected to work with ESX controllers easily with a slight change in the program. It is also possible to start with existing Joysticks and once worn out they can be upgraded to SureGrip Joysticks with 2.5V±2.0V output with 5V supply (automotive industry standard sensor output range), while keeping the same controller.
In applications similar to the above, being a programmable controller, ESX controller outputs can be tuned to work with many makes and designs of solenoid valves with and without current regulation of PWM outputs, including Danfoss PVG series namely PVG32 and PVG120 with 0.25Ub to 0.75Ub control signal.
The above mentioned upgrade has been recently installed on a six wheel Swedish make Forwarder operating in Myrtleford area, and is performing to the contractor's expectations. Joysticks were ICM435 type mini-levers. These Joysticks are powered by ESX controller which in turn controls 12 x PVE-102 proportional solenoid valves actuating a 7 section HV09-LSK series valve which is used in crane controls and steering. Steering was controlled by MJS-P2 (SureGrip) a 2 axis proportional micro Joystick with its own in-line driver. Wire harness was very similar to the existing harness, however it was replaced with a new one.