There is no question that construction equipment is set to undergo radical changes in the coming decade. Hybrid engines are almost a certainty - but what about design? Volvo has let its designers imagine the wheel loader of the future - the Gryphin is the surprise result.
The Volvo stand at Bauma will feature a new technology area where the options being considered for future machines will be demonstrated and discussed. All eyes are now focusing on diesel-electric hybrid engines - and as the world's largest producer of heavy duty engines Volvo is at the forefront of next generation engine and fuel technology. 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 show will undoubtedly be Volvo CE's latest design concept - the Gryphin.
Gryphin is an extreme concept wheel loader - the wheel loaders of the 2020s. Following the success of the SfinX excavator design study in 2004, Volvo's designers have again turned their creative brains to imagining how wheel loaders will develop in the medium term future. This is nothing new; Volvo's designers in the 1950s came up with the design for the very first wheel loader!
The Gryphin looks undoubtedly futuristic - but even so it is still recognizably a Volvo. Its signature design embodies the very definition of what it means to be a Volvo. Even at standstill, the Griffin defines Safety, Efficiency and Strength - the core values of every 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 super quiet machine.
Views from the driver's seat are excellent in every direction; 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 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, centre 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 centre of gravity and making much higher speeds than is currently possible with no lost of comfort or stability. The frame can also 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. This is a very real interpretation from Volvo Construction Equipment of what you can expect to see hard at work on sites two decades from now.
March 7, 2007
For further information, please contact:
Winston Leonard - Volvo Construction Equipment North America, Inc.
One Volvo Dr. - Asheville, NC 28803