Frost & Sullivan recently recognized Sanderson Engine Development, LLC (SED) with the 2008 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Emerging Company of the Year. Sanderson is the desinger of the Sanderson Rocker-Arm Mechanism (SRAM) for converting reciprocating motion into rotational motion without the use of a conventional crankshaft. (Earlier post.)
Frost & Sullivan called the SRAM an emerging core technology for an entirely new generation of engine-driven pumps, compressors, generators, and any other device for which current power systems deploy multiple components (as in a crankshaft engine and a swash plate hydraulic pump) to transfer power.
The SRAM almost completely eliminates friction, offering higher efficiency over a broad speed range (an energy savings result), as compared to existing technologies. It allows the piston stroke to be varied from maximum to zero on the run. As a result, the compression ratio can be varied as needed by a combustion engine or the flow can be varied in a pump or motor. Another unique feature is that the mechanism provides for a near-perfect balance, enabling very low vibration and noise, which is essential for many applications that are used indoors or in close proximity to consumers.
The pistons can be double-ended, allowing one side to function as a combustion cylinder, while the other cylinder in line can be a hydraulic pump. The result is a very high transfer of power efficiency. The opposing cylinder can also be configured as a supercharger for the engine, providing higher power to weight and efficiency.
The fact that SRAM technology can provide linear to linear power conversion will uniquely enable a highly compact combination engine with an integral hydraulic pump that provides a lucrative market potential.—Sara Bradford, Frost & Sullivan Energy & Power Principal Consultant
SED’s SRAM can be utilized in a wide range of applications to improve fuel efficiency and provide numerous additional benefits. Within the energy industry, this technology can provide substantial benefits in hydraulic transmission of power, hydraulic hybrid power train with regenerative braking, and hybrid hydraulic engines.
SED’s technology can be utilized in hydraulic hybrid power train designs to eliminate the need for expensive electric generators/motors for electric hybrid vehicles. SRAM technology used with hydraulic hybrid power train designs can increase the fuel efficiency of many types of material handling, farm, lawn/garden, and other equipment. In short, with an integral supercharger and hydraulic pump, SRAM engines can more than double the horsepower in the same space as compared to the combination of a crankshaft engine, supercharger and hydraulic pump.
Currently, SED is proposing this configuration to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in a United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery truck, with project industrial partners including Eaton and International Navistar. (Earlier post.) The SRAM engine is expected to be one quarter the size, one half the weight, and 20% more efficient than the conventional Navistar diesel engine and Eaton hydraulic pump combination. SED is seeking government and private funding to develop its engine with integral hydraulic pump for the EPA’s delivery truck hydraulic hybrid system.
SED has successfully closed $1.1 million in license options and prototype/test orders and approximately $7 million from manufacturers in project co-funding. At this time, the company has eight prototypes designed, built and tested.
The Sanderson Engine Development Company, LLC, was formed in August, 1998 to develop and commercialize the Sanderson Rocker-Arm Mechanism (SRAM) along with associated developments that resulted from the original rocker arm engine concept. The company was founded by Robert and Albert Sanderson and is based in the rural central Massachusetts community of Upton. The seminal invention, the rocker arm mechanism, was discovered in a breakthrough insight in 1997. Subsequently the mechanism has undergone extensive testing and evaluation, and is presently in the commercialization stage.
(A hat-tip to Bob!)